Food Fit for an Angel

Happy Memorial Day! I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has defended this country – past and present. Your sacrifices truly allow those in this country to enjoy happy and safe lives, and I could not thank you enough.

I had the pleasure of spending my Memorial Day with some of my favorite people – my family! My mom, dad, sister, and I had a lovely cookout to celebrate the holiday and usher in the summer season.

Our menu consisted of hot dogs (I like mine black. yummm burnt hot dogs), hamburgers, twice baked potatoes, baked beans, and Texas caviar dip. As always, I was in charge of dessert! I decided to make the most classic, delicious, and absolutely perfect summertime dessert. Strawberry shortcake!!

Instead of tough, scone-like shortcakes, I have always been a fan of angel food cake as the base of this delicious dessert. Normally, I buy store-bought cake, top it with macerated strawberries, and dollop some cool whip on top and call it a day. However, I decided to dress up this dessert in honor of the holiday. Homemade vanilla bean angel food cake, strawberries macerated in sugar and a bit of Grand Marnier, and vanilla Chantilly cream! (“Chantilly cream” is just the fancy word for whipped cream flavored with vanilla. “Chantilly cream” just sounds prettier and your guests will be more impressed.)

If you have the time, I definitely recommend making this version of the traditional dessert. Your family and friends will love the fancy twist on the old classic. On top of that, this version is absolutely delicious and blows the alternative out of the water.

My family absolutely loved this dessert. The vanilla bean-flaked cake was so fluffy and the strawberries were the perfect sweetness. There is a reason strawberry shortcake is, and always will be, one of my absolute favorite desserts.

On a side note, did you guys know angel food cake is actually considered healthy?! I had no idea! With so many egg whites, it is loaded with protein. Additionally, it is fat-free! Topped with some strawberries, you’re basically eating a health food. So go ahead and eat a piece (or half the cake). Just say you’re trying to get your daily dose of protein. No shame.

Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake

Adapted from: http://www.theyummylife.com/blog/2011/03/153/Heavenly+Angel+Food+Cake+

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup cake flour

1 3/4 cups egg whites (around 12 or 13 large eggs)

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (for instructions – look here)

3/4 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:

1. Preheat over to 325 degrees F.

2. Separate your egg whites from the yolks. Some people use special contraptions, I simply sift them through my fingers. Put whites into a large liquid measuring cup. Allow to reach room temperature for at least an hour. The warmer the whites, the better the cake will be.

3. Sift the powdered sugar and flour into a bowl. Repeat twice, totalling 3 sifts. This seems tedious, but it is very important!

4. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat egg whites on low-medium speed until they are frothy. Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds.

5. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. You must be patient. This can take 5-10 minutes.

6. Add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture is shiny. DO NOT OVERBEAT.

7. Add 1/4 of the powdered sugar/flour mixture to the egg meringue. Using a rubber spatula, fold this in. Add another 1/4, making sure all flour is mixed in before moving on to the next addition. Repeat two more times until all of the flour is mixed in. Note: It is extremely important to gently fold in the ingredients. You do not want to deflate the egg whites.

8. Gently pour batter into an ungreased tube pan. Smooth top with a rubber spatula.

9. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch. Invert the pan on to the neck of a wine bottle or a funnel and allow to cool completely, about 2 hours. It is important to elevate the cake when it is cooling in order to allow air to circulate.

10. Run a sharp knife between the outside rim of the pan and the cake. Repeat with the tube in the middle. Tap the bottom of the pan gently and allow the cake to release itself from the pan.

Macerated Strawberries

Meaghan’s Own Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound strawberries – sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar

1/2 tablespoon Grand Marnier (optional)

Method:

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a medium bowl.

2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the berries to release some of their juices and make a nice sauce. Pour strawberries over the angel food cake.

Chantilly Cream

Meaghan’s Own Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method:

1. Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Serve over strawberries and enjoy! Refrigerate any leftovers.

Happy Memorial Day and Happy Baking!

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