"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived."
-Jean Luc Picard

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chocolate AFC with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

I went shopping on Friday at the 'white bread grocery store' or WBGS as they had some good sales going on. I call it the 'white bread grocery store' because they literally do not sell *any* whole wheat flour in this store. I have no idea why.

Anyhoo, WBGS had strawberries on sale and when I went over and peered at them, they looked really good. So good in fact, that I decided to buy some and make some strawberries with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.

Above is two pounds of strawberries ready to be washed, hulled, and sliced.

In the above container is 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and some freshly ground pepper. I know some of you are reading this and thinking Hairball has done gone and flipped her wig. Vinegar and black pepper on strawberries? [C'leen]That's like putting avocado on a cheeseburger! [/C'leen]. Trust me here, okay? Now I like it peppery so I used 13 grinds of pepper. I suggest grinding about five, stirring up everything all together and tasting it to see if it needs more pepper. You can always add more but, if you get too much then you are stuck! Once you get the strawberries to the place you like, put the lid on and stick them in the refrigerator while you make the cake.

Click to enlarge if you'd like to see the recipe. I did the Angel DeLuxe chocolate version of this cake. This is from my 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book if anyone is interested.

Here's some tips about the method of making an angel food cake. If you enlarge it you will see that they are using a wire whip in step three.

I looked in the front and found a picture of an wire whip as I was unfamiliar with it. I put black dots next to the wire whip and its description so it would be easier for you to see it. That old rotary egg beater makes me think of Mama Hairball. At one point, she had a collection of old kitchen tools displayed on one wall of her kitchen.

Now I've gathered up most of the ingredients for this recipe.

If you've read the recipe, you'll notice that I am missing the powdered sugar and shouldn't have the almond extract in the picture. I did use the powdered sugar as instructed but I goofed and add the almond extract to my egg whites. Oops!

Here's my twelve egg whites all ready for the cocoa mixture to be folded in. Lotta eggs, huh? Eggs were on sale last week for 98 cents a dozen so I decided to splurge. Between the coconut cake I made last week and this cake, I've got quite a bit of egg yolks in the freezer to use up. I've found one cake recipe that only uses the yolks that I'm going to try and I'm working on selecting some others to use up the darn things.

Now its ready to go in the tube pan. You may have seen that episode of Semi-Ho where Sandra Lee tells you on her show (but not in the written recipe) to grease your tube pan when she makes the angel food cake from the cake mix. Remember that she's drunk and has delusions of grandeur so when it comes to cooking advice it's best to just ignore her okay? The woman makes stuff like this and this with a straight face so she's obviously eight kinds of crazy, no? Now, Sandy does have her areas of expertise. She's your gal for hangover remedies, how to hang chandeliers in trees and how to make cherry flan that looks like an alien life form is gestating inside of it.

Sorry, I got sidetracked a bit there! Because you will not be greasing the pan, it is most definitely going to stick to the sides of your cake pan. Its like what my old employer used to say about linen clothing, "Its guaranteed to wrinkle so get over it." If your pan has little feet like mine does, then you can just flip it over and let it rest it on those feet. The traditional way is to invert the cake onto a glass bottle (like a wine bottle) so that the bottle fits into the hole in the tube part and leave it there until the cake has completely cooled. After the cake has cooled, you'll need a long flexible knife to free it from the sides of the pan.

I'm sorry for the quality of these next few pictures! You can't tell in this picture but, I've used my knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Here it is still attached to the bottom piece with the tube. Take your knife and run it between the cake and the pan and slip the cake off of the tube part. Notice the sides of my cake aren't perfect as they got a little cut up from me getting it out of the pan with the knife. Oh, well. This is only the second time I've ever made an angel food cake so hopefully I will get better as time goes by!

Here's some cake and strawberries for Mr. Hairball.

Here's the same out of focus cake with some whipped cream. Whipped cream is very easy to make, just some heavy cream, vanilla extract, and a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar all beaten up until soft peaks form. Only takes a minute and tastes much better than Cool Whip.

Who wants some cake? Or would you prefer some of the strawberries by themselves?