Angel Food Cake with Mixed Berries in the Cake
I recently bought an angel food cake with mixed berries in the batter from Whole Foods. It was seriously good. I've never made an angel food cake before and not being much of a baker I'd appreciate a great angel food recipe and any help on how you adjust it for the addition of the berries.
Thanks for your help!
I didn't know WF sold it mixed in the batter, but I've been making what I call "Bloody Angel Cake" for years. This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but it's darned good and just uses a standard angel food cake.
Put 1 1/2 to 2 bags of frozen berries (I like a mix of cherries, strawberries and blackberries for the color, but really whatever kind you like will work) over the stove (straight berries, not the sugar/syrup-added kind) with a couple of tablespoons of water and a tablespoon or two of sugar. (I usually add sherry or brandy as well, or will add almond or vanilla extract after cooking, but they're optional.) Cook down until juices flow and reduce until the juices thicken - its helpful to use a fork or masher to squish all the possible juice out of the berries.
Strain out the solids, and continue to reduce liquid until slightly thickened. Pour evenly over a standard angel food cake, making sure to thoroughly coat the inside if it's a bundt and all the sides - if you baked it yourself, it's easiest to put some liquid in the bottom of the bundt pan, put the cake back in, and then pour the rest of the liquid all around. Let it soak in at least a couple of hours or overnight. The cake will be pretty soft when you go to flip it out of the pan, so be forewarned.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. The leftover smushed berry solids are fantastic served on top of the cake, used in muffins or scones, or for breakfast with oatmeal, pancakes, or yogurt.
When I was a kid, my mother used to make another kind of angel food/berry cake. She'd buy a commercial angel food cake, slice off the top 1/3 with a serrated knife and scoop out a trench in the cake below. Then you crumble the cake that you've removed and mix it with crushed berries, which have been macerated with a little sugar. She didn't use booze in hers, but a touch of Framboise or something similar wouldn't hurt. Refill the trench with the cake/berry mix, put the top back on, cover the whole thing with whipped cream and decorate with whole berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Takes me back about 50 years, but I still remember how delicious it was.
Oh boy, they are fun to bake. Do you have an angel food cake pan to start with? A stand or hand mixer is also necessary, unless you're a glutton for pain and failure. A sharp serrated bread knife is necessary for slicing.
Here's a link for an angel food cake primer from a trusted source, with some alternate flavoring suggestions, tips and troubleshooting. It's the technique that's important with these cakes, well, as for all cakes, but angel food is a bit different; it's a foam cake and contains no fat, just sugar and egg whites. There are many variations on the flavor road; some are filled, others not, but just one real technique to making them.They're not that tricky, just follow the rules and you'll most likely have a good outcome the first time:
I would think to add berries, they would have to be quite dry, as in fresh, with no juice to deflate the batter, and just gently folded in at the end. That's just my thought, as I've never made one that way. Most angel food recipes with berries call for a berry compote or sauce, or are split and filled with macerated berries and whipped cream. I think the "berries baked in" variation you had as somewhat unusual.
Good luck and enjoy.