March 12, 2012

Cooking with Mommie

Grandson, Luke, attends a private nursery school three days a week. When Darling and I were visiting Atlanta as we traveled down from Maine last week, we were fortunate enough to accompany the Divine Miss M and The Duke to nursery school and met his teachers and classmates. My, how I wish I could turn back time and attend the three year old class too! Soft lighting, creative learning centers, the reading circle, bible study in the sanctuary..the list is endless for these little guys! That particular Friday just happened to be "Celebrating Dr. Suess's birthday with pajamas and pancakes!"

Each month, one of the mommies is assigned the project of "Cooking with Mommie!" Miss M is participting this month and created a fun, healthy and colorful snack! I applaude her for creating this little gem just in time for St. Patrick's Day! These kiddos should have a grand time assembling their green angel food cake cutouts with whipped cream, strawberries, bananas and kiwi slices! Job well done M!

This superb recipe comes from "The Best Recipe," a cookbook recently published by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. It is snowy white and tender, without being overly sweet like so many angel food cakes are. The crust is subtly reminiscent of almond macaroons in both taste and texture. Angel food cake is best served the same day it's made, but if you have leftovers, it is delicious the next day for breakfast -- lightly toast it and serve warm.

Angel Food Cake
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sifted sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups (about 12 large) egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to325 degrees. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan (9-inch diameter and 16-cup capacity), preferably with a removable bottom. If pan bottom is not removable, you must line it with parchment or waxed paper, but DO NOT GREASE or the batter won't be able to climb the sides of the pan and you will have a very flat angel food cake.

Whisk together the flour and half the sugar in a small bowl. Place the remaining sugar in another small bowl near the mixer. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at medium-low speed until just broken up and beginning to froth. Add cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until whites form very soft, billowy mounds, 2 to 3 minutes.

With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in half the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form soft peaks, another 2 to 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice and almond extract and beat for about 30 seconds at highest speed.

Resift the flour/sugar mixture and spoon it over the egg whites, about 3 tablespoons at a time, folding in gently with a large spatula. Gently scrape batter into pan, smooth top with spatula, and give the pan a couple of gentle raps on the counter to release any large air bubbles in the batter. Bake on lower-middle rack at 325 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until cake is golden brown and top springs back when pressed firmly.

If cake pan has feet, invert pan onto them. If not, invert tube of pan over neck of bottle (or two stacked wire cookie cooling racks) so air can circulate all around it. Allow cake to cool completely for 2 to 3 hours.
To unmold, run a thin serrated knife around the edges, being careful to dislodge as little of the crust as possible. Pull cake out of pan and use the same technique on the bottom, or peel off parchment or waxed paper if using. Place cake, bottom side up, on a platter. Cut slices by sawing gently with a serrated knife. Serves 10 to 12.

Luke: “Mommy, is Daddy smart?”
Me: “Yes, very smart.”
Luke: “is Daddy talented?”
Me: “Yes, Daddy is very talented.”
Luke: “Is he computered?”
Me: (Laughing) “Yes, he’s computered.”
Luke: “Is he hammered?”
Me: (Laughing hard) Frequently!

Addendum: Last comment was referring to "the tool itself"....this little guy is quite knowledgable about construction equipment and has two Black and Decker tool benches. In fact, he is even giving the three and four year old nursery school classes a lesson in tools and woodworking...amazing!


  1. Luke's quite the comedian and Ms. M, you are one talented lady! That was a beautiful snack, fit for a wee Leprechaun...

  2. Indeed he is Joycee! Don't we all take delight at our grandchildren and the funny things they say and do? Miss M will thank you also for the compliment. I think these little children are gonna love it! Have so enjoyed your recent posts and as soon as I get that new kitchen, I cannot wait to make your plum cobbler!


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