Now I’m not sure when or with whom our family tradition originated, but I do know that for every one of my years, there is a photo of me, grinning ear to ear, in front of the Angel Food cake on the glass stand. Decades later, I made the same cake for my daughter and am still using the same stand. So when the time came to bake a cake for my Auntie’s 80th you can guess what I made: Angel Food cake with pink frosting. It’s a family tradition.
The recipe itself became popular in this country in the 30s but actually dates to about 100 years before that. It’s pretty timeless and delicious and everyone likes it. And while baking it from scratch isn’t that difficult, I have to admit to using a mix. So did my mom, who otherwise made everything from scratch and was a gourmet cook and instructor. But she was also a working single mom and when throwing a party all by herself, she picked her battles. So I do the same, though I will include a recipe from the kind of cookbook that all American housewives would have had in the 40s. If you are not simultaneously trying to kid-proof your home and decorate for the imminent arrival of multiple pint-sized holy terrors, go ahead and make it yourself! Otherwise, just use the mix, nobody's gonna complain.
Part of the charm is the frosting: my mom always made a cream-cheese based frosting and used red food coloring to turn it pink. (Except the one year she made it blue and my 6 year old daughter cried because it wasn’t pink, but that’s another story.) The frosting is so good that if there was any leftover, she would put it in Tupperware and let me spread it on graham crackers as an after-school snack.