When I first mentioned to a few baking friends that I was going to attempt to make an angel food cake from scratch at nearly 6,000 feet above sea level, the response was not terribly encouraging. I was told to expect all sorts of scary outcomes—mostly that I wouldn’t be able to produce a light, fluffy cake in high altitude. So, needless to say, I was a little scared.
But I’m happy and proud to say that I succeeded—twice!
Here’s why: I first made this cake in April of 2011. I was still working with my then three-year-old sous chef, Jaime, who was excited to help me separate 12 eggs. Trying to balance her enthusiasm and my desperate attempt to keep any little speck of yolk out of the egg whites (necessary for maximum angel food success) was a challenge. But we figured out and ended up with a beautiful cake. When I took it to work, our resident angel food cake expert, Emily, could only mutter, “Sweet Jesus.” I knew it was a winner. Unfortunately, I have yet to find the pictures I took of that first cake, and we all know you can’t blog without pictures. When I mentioned that I’d have to make it again, Emily thought her birthday would be a fine occasion to make it again. I agreed.
And so last Wednesday, at 5:00 am, I was up and separating a dozen eggs. Chris, who knows I’d only get up at this ungodly hour if the house was on fire, said, “Wow, you must really like Emily.”
“Yes,” I responded, ” I do really like Emily. She’s a peach.”
And so once again, I created the seemingly impossible: a beautiful angel food cake at altitude. And here’s the best part: do you know how you cool an angel food cake? Upside down on a wine bottle. Thankfully, I always have a few close at hand:
And those 12 egg yolks? Well, mix them up with a little superfine sugar, grapefruit juice and a cup of butter, simmer over a double boiler, and you have grapefruit curd. I didn’t quite cook it long enough for fear of ending up with grapefruit-flavored scrambled eggs, so it wasn’t quite as thick as it was supposed to be. But no one seemed to mind. I even had a few requests for the recipe.
And so, a hit—twice. That makes this one doubly satisfying.