It's light, pairs perfectly with fresh berries and ice cream, and even is low-fat. It's summer's perfect dessert – angel food cake.
It's also wonderfully easy to make. So to help you sweeten up your summer table, we've given you a master recipe for this egg white-based confection, plus three recipes for different ways to serve it – a tiramisu trifle, grilled and topped with fresh berries, and layered with sorbet for a cool and refreshing torte.
Angel Food Cake
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Makes 1 tube cake (12 servings) or 2 loaf pans
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Heat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of sugar and cake flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl use an electric mixer to whisk together egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium-high until very foamy. With mixer running, slowly add remaining cup of sugar. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Sift half the flour-sugar mixture over egg whites and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold into egg mixture. Repeat with the remaining flour-sugar mixture. Transfer to an ungreased 10-inch tube pan or divide between 2 ungreased loaf pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes for a tube pan or 30 to 35 minutes for loaf pans, or until a wooden skewer inserted at the center comes out dry.
Overturn the tube pan onto the neck of a wine or similar bottle and cool. Loaf pans can be turned on their sides or overturned onto cooling racks. To remove cakes from pan, slide a paring knife around the edge.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 120 calories; 0 calories from fat (0 percent of total calories); 0 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 0 g fiber; 95 mg sodium.
Angel Food Tiramisu Trifle
This recipe calls for assembling the trifle in glasses for individual servings. It also can be assembled in one large trifle dish.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1/2 cup brewed espresso
2 tablespoons Kahlua liqueur
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
8 ounces mascarpone
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups cubed angel food cake
cup finely chopped dark chocolate
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine espresso and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Stir in Kahlua and amaretto.
In a small bowl, gently stir together mascarpone, honey and heavy cream. Be careful not to overmix.
Divide half the angel food cubes between 4 parfait glasses or flutes. Drizzle with half of the espresso syrup. Spoon half the mascarpone over the cake. Sprinkle with half the chopped chocolate. Repeat the layering with the remaining cake cubes, syrup, mascarpone and chocolate.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 550 calories; 300 calories from fat (51 percent of total calories); 33 g fat (18 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 80 mg cholesterol; 56 g carbohydrate; 8 g protein; 1 g fiber; 110 mg sodium.
Grilled Angel Food Shortcakes
Start to finish: 20 minutes
Eight 1/2-inch slices angel food cut from a loaf or round cake
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups mixed fresh berries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Whipped cream, to serve
Heat a grill to medium-high. Lightly brush both sides of each slice of angel food cake with the oil.
In a medium bowl, toss the berries with the lemon juice and sugar.
Grill angel food slices for 2 minutes per side, or until golden and toasty. To serve, top 4 of the slices with half of the berries. Top with remaining slices of angel food cake, then remaining berries. Serve with whipped cream.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 280 calories; 100 calories from fat (34 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 0 g fiber; 100 mg sodium.
Frozen AngelFood Torte
Start to finish: 2 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)
1 loaf angel food cake
1 pint raspberry sorbet
1 pint coconut sorbet
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate bits
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 pint fresh raspberries
cup coconut flakes, toasted
Spray the loaf pan that angel food cake was cooked in with cooking spray, then line it with plastic wrap. Use a serrated knife to slice angel food cake horizontally into three long layers.
Soften raspberry and coconut sorbets in the microwave, heating on high in 10-second intervals until just soft enough to spread. Do not melt.
Place bottom third of the angel food cake back in the prepared pan. Spread raspberry sorbet over cake, then top with middle slice of the cake. Spread coconut sorbet over cake and top with final layer of angel food cake. Freeze until firm.
When ready to serve, in a small saucepan over medium, heat cream until simmering. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and corn syrup until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
To serve, using the plastic wrap to lift it, remove torte from loaf pan. Peel off plastic wrap and place torte on a serving platter. Pour chocolate sauce over top of the torte and arrange raspberries and coconut on and around the torte. Cut into slices to serve.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 300 calories; 110 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 70 mg sodium.