Marcia’s Chocolate Angel Food Cake

My grandmother Marcia used to make a mean chocolate angel food cake. It’s hard for me to recall a memory with her that didn’t involve it. Her cake was a light and airy with a chocolate kick. The recipe involves many steps. But don’t worry. I’ll take you through each step cake crumb by cake crumb.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Measure and sift together 3 times.

  • 3/4 cup sifted cake flour
  • 7/8 cup (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp.) sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa

Okay, I’ll admit it. My mom made the cake. I watched. And took pictures!

Step 2: Measure into larger mixing bowl.

  • 1  1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 whites)
  • 1  1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat with wire whip until foamy throughout. Gradually add 2 tbsp. at a time:

  • 3/4 cup sugar

Beat about 10 seconds after each addition. Continue beating after the last addition until meringue is firm and holds stiff in straight peaks. (This requires considerable beating.)

I feel like there’s a tasteless joke to be made about wire whips, stiff peaks and Fifty Shades of Grey. Got any ideas? On second thought, never mind.

Step 3: Place flour, sugar, cocoa mixture in sifter and sift about 3 tbsp. over the entire surface of meringue.

Fold gently with wire whip until flour, sugar, cocoa mixture disappears using 8 to 10 complete folding strokes and turning the bowl a quarter of a turn with each stroke.

Repeat this folding process until all of the flour, sugar, and cocoa is folded in. Then scrape down the sides of the bowl with rubber scraper and fold 8 to 10 strokes or until mixture is completely blended. This mixture will be very thick. Carefully with a rubber scraper, push batter into ungreased tube pan, 10 x 4 in size. Lift the last portion lightly from the bowl into the pan, being careful not to stir it.

Carefully cut through the batter going around the tube 5 or 6 times with a knife to break large air bubbles. Be sure to even up batter so it is level and touches the sides of the pan. Bake 30-35 minutes in oven (375 degrees Fahrenheit) or until top springs back when lightly touched. Deep cracks in the top are typical of this cake. Immediately turn pan upside down, placing tube part over neck of funnel or bottle. Let cake hang in pan until cold.

Remove cake, loosen from sides and tube with spatula close against the pan. Turn. Turn pan over and hit edge sharply on table to loosen. Split cake crosswise in 3 layers with saw-toothed knife. Spread Chocolate Fluff. Keep in refrigerator.

Chocolate Fluff

Mix together:

  • 2 cups cream
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • Dash of salt

Beat until stiff.


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