Betty Crocker tried to kill me today
Let me count the ways.
First off, it is the-love-of my-life’ birthday; I dropped her off at work and she made a special request, knowing that I am going to make a nice dinner tonight:
“Angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream”
Lovely. I bought the strawberries yesterday. I need the Angel food cake. I stopped at the bakery and they said that’s not in season.
It must be the season for devils, I guess.
Anyway, not to disappoint my angel who wants the cake, I went to the box cake department and picked up Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake mix.
The instructions are simple: “Just add water.” That’s for me.
I came home and dumped the box mix into the mixing bowl; added 1¼ cups water and mixed on medium for 30 seconds.
It was like a chemical explosion; like making Styrofoam. That should have been a warning.
Then the instructions said, put the mix into an ungreased cake pan and put into a preheated 350 degree oven for about a half hour.
I did that and in about 15 minutes I smelled burning marshmallows. What the hell, the fire alarm might go off. I ran to the kitchen and switched on the oven fan and opened the oven to view a cake that had drastically expanded way beyond the size of the pan. It was dripping and oozing like stalagmites into the bottom of my formerly clean oven. It was sticking to the rack and running everywhere.
It is a good thing I decided to make the cake this morning. Now, I have time to 1) clean the oven, 2) clean the cake pan, 3) go to the store bakery and get something else that accompanies strawberries and whipped cream.
Come to think of it, this is not the first time in many years that I have been stumped by the Angel. Next year, I am opting to get Alton Brown’s Angel Food cake.
Betty Crocker chemists used this stuff to mummify poor old Betty, I think.
· 1 3/4 cups sugar
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1 cup cake flour, sifted
· 12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
· 1/3 cup warm water
· 1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
· 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.
Cook's Note: Since they're easier to separate use the freshest eggs you can get.”