If you are trying to eat healthier by reducing the fat in your diet, you have probably made desserts a seldom enjoyed part of your meals. Speaking as a Southerner who loves sweets, that is hard to do.

Angel food cake, with or without trimmings, to the rescue! Served with fresh fruits, this makes a great dessert that not only helps you stay on your diet but it is also guest-approved.

You can always pick up an angel food cake at the supermarket, but there is a big difference in a store-bought cake and a homemade one.

For years, I was very hesitant to try making this special cake, but once I did, I realized that even a novice baker can have good results if a few simple instructions are followed.

Years ago, when I worked as a spokesperson for Domino Sugar promoting the company’s strawberry, chocolate and lemon flavors of confectioners’ sugar, one of the favorite demonstration recipes was strawberry angel food cake. We made this cake in our cooking classes for as long as this sugar was available. Personally speaking, I was very disappointed when the company decided to discontinue these specialty sugars.

I have continued making the traditional angel food cake, but also enjoy experimenting with other versions. One of my all-time favorites is the following Angel Food Cake of Many Flavors.

ANGEL FOOD CAKE OF MANY FLAVORS

  • 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ cups egg whites (12 to 14 egg whites)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon banana liqueur, optional (or 1 teaspoon banana flavoring)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut extract (if desired)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and cake flour. Stir to mix and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, banana liqueur, vanilla and almond extracts, coconut extract if using, and salt. Be sure that there is not a speck of fat in the mixing bowl or on the beaters because fat (even a tiny amount) will prevent egg whites from beating correctly. With mixer on high speed, beat until well mixed.

Continue beating at high speed and sprinkle in granulated sugar 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat just until sugar dissolves and whites form stiff peaks. Do NOT scrape bowl during beating.

With rubber spatula, fold in confectioners’ sugar/flour mixture, about ¼ cup at a time, just until flour mixture disappears.

Pour mixture into UNGREASED angel food pan (or 10-inch tube pan) and, with spatula, cut through batter to break any large bubbles.

Bake 35 minutes or until top of cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Any cracks on surface should look dry. Invert cake pan onto a funnel and cool completely before removing cake from pan. With spatula, loosen cake from pan and remove to cake plate. Makes 12 servings.

Contact Prudence Hilburn at prudencehilburn@aol.com.