Strawberry-filled angel food cake: have your cake, and berries too!

StrawberryAngelFoodcake

I hope the spring berries have started to arrive in your store, or better yet have started to blossom in your garden.

Why? Because we’ve been baking a plethora of berry beauties to share with you all summer long, and this is just the beginning.

Online the other day, I came across a photo of 100 small rocks painted to look like strawberries. Apparently the idea is to put them in your strawberry beds before your fruit comes in – then the hungry little critters that invade your garden will try to nibble the rocks, decide they’re inedible, and leave your berries alone for the rest of the season.

I’m guessing it must work really well, because even I was hankering for fresh berries while looking at a handful of stones. Berry love is powerful once it gets a hold on you, and this Strawberry-filled Angel Food Cake is a lovely way to calm your cravings.

In my search for a light and fluffy angel food cake, I came across a few recipes that used confectioners’ sugar in addition to  granulated sugar. I thought that was a very interesting approach, for a few reasons.

First, granulated sugar can be a little harsh on the egg white foam, popping larger bubbles and ruining your hard work in whipping them.

Second, confectioners’ sugar contains a bit of cornstarch to prevent clumping. A little bit of added cornstarch can help add structure to the cake batter so that you end up with a higher, loftier cake.

So, off to the kitchen to try some tests.

Well, the first recipe I tried was confectioners’ sugar only, no granulated at all. We all found it heavier than expected, and a bit gummy. Too much cornstarch seemed the likely culprit.

The next trial was equal parts granulated and confectioners’ sugar, added while whipping the egg whites. Not bad, but not quite as lofty as I was looking for.

Finally, after a few more cakes, this version was a real winner. Granulated sugar in the egg foam, with a touch of Original Bakewell Cream for a stabilizer, plus confectioners’ sugar and flour folded in. In all honesty, I’ve never seen a higher rising angel food cake, even after the normal shrinking during cooling.

Such a high-rising cake begged for fruit filling. Fresh berries, a touch of cream and sugar, and a little whisking makes a light, mousse-like confection that freezes beautifully.

I can barely stand to wait, so let’s get started making a Strawberry-Filled Angel Food Cake.

In the bowl of your mixer, place
12 large egg whites ( you can definitely use powdered egg whites and water, according to the package directions.)
1 1/2 teaspoons Original Bakewell Cream or cream of tartar

Whip on MEDIUM speed for 2 to 3 minutes. By using medium speed you’ll create smaller bubbles, which will in turn make a more stable egg-white foam.

Slowly add 1 cup granulated sugar. The finer the grind of sugar, the better. Finer sugar will dissolve more easily, keeping your foam fluffier.

Increase the speed to high and whip for another 5 minutes, or until the foam is stiff and glossy, but not dry. Shaving cream is a good comparison.

Sift together
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Sifting will take care of any lumps of flour or sugar, and lighten up the dry ingredients.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the dry ingredients over the egg-white foam. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Fold together until only a few streaks of flour remain.

Repeat twice more with the dry ingredients, until all the flour/sugar is incorporated.

Place the batter in an ungreased 10″ angel food pan. Be sure to wipe up any spills and splatters on the pan so that your batter has a smooth surface to cling to as it rises.

Bake in a preheated 325°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes. This is a very high-rising cake, so be sure there’s no oven rack above the cake for it to cling and bake onto. Ask me how fun THAT is to clean up. NOT.

Cool the cake upside down over a bottle neck, or using the pan’s “feet,” for 2 hours. Remove the cake from the pan and place it in the freezer for 2 more hours, or up to overnight.

Baking this cake in the morning will give it plenty of time to chill, so you can fill and assemble in the early afternoon, then serve after dinner.

About an hour before you want to fill the cake, prepare the berry filling. Smash 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries in a microwave-safe bowl.

Add 1 envelope (7.2 grams, or 1 tablespoon)  unflavored gelatin mixed with 1/4 cup of sugar to the berries. Stir well, then microwave for 1 minute. This will “bloom” (dissolve) the gelatin, which will in turn thicken the berry juices.

Stir once again, and place in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes, to firm up.

Once the berries are chilled, pour 2 cups heavy cream into your mixer bowl. Chop up the thick berry paste and add to the cream. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; and 3 to 4 drops strawberry flavoring, if desired.

Whip until thick and mousse-like. I think you’d better give it a taste test, and adjust the sweetness/vanilla if desired. Go ahead, you deserve it.

To assemble, turn the cake bottom-side up. With a sharp serrated knife, carve a moat or channel in the cake. Be sure you don’t cut through the bottom of the cake.

Use your fingers or a spoon to hollow out the channel, leaving about 1″ of cake “wall.”

Dollop the filling into the moat, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon or spatula. Keep adding filling until it’s level with the top of the moat, then use the rest of the filling to “frost” the cake. You should have enough to cover the top of the cake, and may have enough to do the sides, too, depending on how much filling went into the moat.

The cake is ready to serve at this point; or you can wrap it well, and freeze it for up to 3 weeks.

We ate this cake straight from the freezer with added berries on top; we ate this cake after thawing for 30 minutes, and we ate this cake straight from the fridge. It was marvelous each and every time, so try it and see how you like it best.

My good friend Cami loves angel food cake, and has a couple hundred chickens, so egg whites are plentiful. I think I’ll whip up a few different berry fillings this season and stuff my freezer with cakes galore for our evening knitting sessions. A slice of cake just when we want it? I’d call that a slice of heaven.

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Strawberry-Filled Angel Food Cake.

Print just the recipe.

What to do with all those leftover yolks? How about fresh Pastry Cream?

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Cindy Leigh

    Where did the cinnamon ice cream recipe go??

    To the recipe section of the website ! Bet you noticed it on the blog briefly today since our posting system is giving us a devil of a time. You’ll see it back in blog form for Cinco de Mayo. Irene@KAF

    Hi dear,
    I posted a note to you on your community page. Didn’t want you to think I’d abandoned you. :). The recipe is still online, just the blog is away for now. ~ MJ

    Reply
  2. Teresa F.

    An angel food cake with a tunnel of strawberry cream! How wonderful! I can see how there could be many fruit variations for this idea. I love it!
    I can’t wait for raspberry season!! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. Argentyne

    Yup, computer still hates me being able to log in AND post a comment. Ah well.

    Is freezing necessary for just this version? If I wanted to just bake the angel food cake and not fill it, which I know is heresy, would I just let it cool and then tear off hunks and eat them? I, I mean, take it to someone else’s house, slice it nicely and eat it like a civilized person?

    The blog says we tested by eating this cake A) straight from the freezer B) thawed just 30 minutes C) straight from the fridge. Looks like chillin’ in some form is best! Where was I when all this cake was being tested? We trust you’ll enjoy your angel food cake whether it’s filled or plain. Irene@KAF

    Of course, if you want just the cake, which is divine by itself, just skip the filling and freezing and have at it when the cake is cool. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. Sunny

    This looks YUM! My strawberries demand this happy fate. That said, I don’t have an angel cake pan. Would a bundt pan work? Thank you!

    We fear this may be a bundt pan plan for angel food disaster – it’s best to stick with (no pun intended) a pan with straight sides for angel food success. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  5. k.g.mom

    This looks wonderful! Do you have any recommendations on how to make a smaller version? Could I bake in a loaf pan? I appreciate any and all help!

    I would give our Baker’s Hotline a call so we can help answer your question!-Jon 855 371 2253

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Ellen, MaryJane finds all-purpose flour provides good structure to angel food cakes. She prefers it here, and also in the Lemon Meringue Angel Food Cake she recently developed.~Jaydl@KAF

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