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Angel Food Cake with Mocha Sauce

Angel food cake seems rich, although it contains not one bit of fat. The trick is serving it with the right embellishment, like a generous drizzle of deep, dark mocha sauce. Another virtue of this cake is that it keeps for several days. Cake flour is milled finer than all-purpose flour and contains less gluten. This light flour is used for delicate cakes like this one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12), at room temperature  
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted 
  • Pinch of kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract  
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice 
  •   

For the mocha sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup nonfat condensed milk 
  • 3 Tbs. light corn syrup 
  • 1/4 cup brewed espresso, or 1/4 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water 
  • 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.

In a bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until very frothy, about 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the speed to high and begin gradually adding the sugar, 1 Tbs. at a time, always beating for about 10 seconds to dissolve the addition before adding the next spoonful. Continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks, about 2 minutes more. Add the flour, salt, vanilla and lemon juice to the whipped whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in gently.

Gently scoop the batter into a 10-inch angel food cake pan with a removable bottom. Run a thin-bladed knife through the cake batter several times to eliminate any air pockets. Rap the pan firmly on a countertop 2 or 3 times.

Bake the cake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan to cool the cake upside down. If your pan does not have small legs on which to rest it, suspend it upside down by slipping its tube onto a wine bottle. Let cool completely, 1 to 2 hours.

While the cake is cooling, make the mocha sauce: In a small, heavy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, condensed milk, corn syrup and espresso until well blended. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and vanilla until the chocolate melts. Let cool to lukewarm or room temperature before using. It will thicken as it cools. You will have about 1 cup.

Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake sides, then push up on the bottom of the pan to remove the sides. Slide the knife between the cake and the base of the pan, working it around to free the cake, then work the knife vertically around the center tube. Invert a serving plate over the cake and, holding the plate in place, invert the cake and plate together. Lift off the pan bottom.

Slice the cake with a serrated knife. Drizzle about 1 Tbs. of the sauce on each dessert plate. Top with a slice of cake and serve. Serves 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).