Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Family Tradition: Angel Food Cake

Angel food cake IS birthday cake!

Waiting for frosting

Who doesn’t like cake? As a kid, it was my favorite food, a treat reserved for birthdays, and it was always the same: Angel Food cake with pink frosting, served on a raised glass cake stand. I was told it was a family tradition, and was delighted to find photographic evidence from back in the 50s when my mom was a kid: the same cake!

Mom and Angel Food Cake, 1950s

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.

Auntie with Angel Food Cake 2022

Me with snake while Mom frosts the cake, 1970s

My 10th Birthday, 1980s

My 21st Birthday - white frosting that I decorated and a different cake plate, 1990s

Thank you Karen for this pic from my 39th birthday!

Mother herself with TWO Angel Food Cakes, 2014. Looks like we were doing berries and cream rather than frosting that year

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. 

Standard American Cookbook from the 40s

Not too complicated, but what they don't mention is how long it takes to beat the eggs!

Ingredients, including Mom's now vintage candles & holders

So easy; just add water to the mix

Beat with a mixer for 90 seconds

Batter will be thick

And it's done

Invert to cool

Cut around the sides

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.

Mom's cream cheese frosting. Yum.

Frosting is sugar, citrus, coloring, cream cheese and milk (not shown)

Adding food coloring is psychedelic

Think Pink!

Frosting the cake

The cake is ready for candles! These are the same holders my Mother used.

Here's to family traditions! May you and yours have many occasions to celebrate that call for a special, and simple, cake. 

NOTE: if you need any of the kitchen tools shown, find them in my Idea List on Amazon: https://a.co/0uId9bG

No comments:

Post a Comment