When I was growing up, my mom would take us strawberry picking every spring. It was an activity that I always looked forward to. One year, when visiting my mom, we took my two older kids (and only kids at the time) to pick strawberries. It was hot and muggy! My almost 2-year-old son did not enjoy this activity unless he was shoving strawberries in his mouth. On the other hand, my oldest would have stayed out there forever and picked every strawberry whether it was ripe or not.
This was a tradition I wanted to continue with our family. Even when I was newlywed, I told my husband we had to find a place to pick strawberries because it was just so fun. We were living in Utah at the time and strawberry u-pick fields just don’t exist. I did manage to find this place just south of us that had a greenhouse filled with hanging strawberry plants. You could go and “pick” your own strawberries. I say “pick” because we showed up and they gave us scissors to cut each strawberry off the hanging plants. It was definitely not what I was used to.
When we moved to California, I kind of forgot about my love of strawberry picking. I don’t know how! California is known for their fresh fruit. It wasn’t until some friends of ours told us about this place right on the coast that you can go and pick your own strawberries. I was so excited. We gathered some friends and made our way down. We didn’t carpool, which we should have done. We wound up in an area with no cell service, not knowing there were multiple u-pick farms. We showed up at one and started picking. There was no ocean to see like we had been told! Surely we were in the wrong spot. But, one of the families we invited showed up, so we decided to stay. The other friends made it to the amazing u-pick patch that overlooked the ocean. Either way, we all wound up with a ton of fresh strawberries and a lot of little tiny strawberry stained fingers and cheeks.
Any time I have fresh strawberries, I want angel food cake. Angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream is just a match made in heaven. The light fluffy texture of the cake just melts in your mouth. It’s such a great dessert for spring and summer. You really can’t go wrong, and I don’t think anyone will complain about it.
This recipe can be finicky. A few things that will help is to make sure you are using an angel food cake pan to bake it in. This pan is very similar to the one I have. If you don’t use this type of pan, it is going to be pretty difficult, if not impossible, to get your cake out.
Also, don’t over whip your eggs. We are not wanting stiff peaks here, and not too soft either. They should not be glossy, but fluffy and white. The tips should flop over when testing stiffness.
Another thing to ensure a successful cake, is to make sure you don’t get any egg yolks mixed in your egg whites. Even the slightest amount of yolk can cause your cake to sink.
Make sure immediately after the cake comes out of the oven, to flip it over on a jar of glass. Keep it balanced upside down until it is completely cooled.
Lastly, use a serrated knife to cut the cake into slices. Other knives are likely to smash the cake.
Angel Food Cake
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 12 large egg whites
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
1.Place the sugar in a high powered blender or food processor and blend on high. Sugar should resemble powdered sugar. This should take about 1 minute. Do not sub granulated sugar for powdered sugar.
2.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add water and all the egg whites. Whisk together until it starts to get foamy on top.
3.Slowly add in half of the sugar, cream of tarter, salt, and vanilla. Mix until you’ve reached medium peaks. If you have stiff peaks, you’ve gone too far.
4. On top of the egg mixture, sift the flour and remaining sugar right on top. Gently fold in the flour and sugar until it is incorporated all the way. Be gentle. You don’t want to lose all of your fluffy egg whites.
5.Gently dollop batter into your ungreased angel food cake pan. Don’t smooth it out. Give the pan a gentle spin and jiggle, but no banging the pan.
6. Bake in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.
7. As soon as it comes out, flip it upside own on a jar or glass to cool completely. Once its cooled, take a knife to go around the pan. Then flip it on to the plate or cake stand you will be serving it on
8. This cake is best served the day it is made. It tends to get a little wet in the days after.