Made this yummy angel food cake for a cookout at my brother and sister-in-law's house last weekend. Yes, I did make it from scratch and NO, it's NOT difficult! You can do this easily, so long as you are patient (but vigilant) as your eggs are being beaten.
The first problem I ran into when preparing to make this was not having the right pan. Yes, you do need an angel food cake pan. My internet research tells me that you should not use a non-stick pan, and you should use a flat bottomed angel food cake pan. (Problem: I was planning to use my non-stick bunt pan with a fancy bottom.) Luckily we have some great neighbors who let me borrow a pan! Now that I know how easy it is to make angel food cake I need my own pan!
After recipe searching online, I decided to go with the recipe from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I figured when it's such a classic recipe, an old-fashioned cookbook should have it right! They have helpful pictures of of "soft peaks" and "stiff peaks" - which is important if you're not already able to recognize the difference.
If your pan does not have prongs for when it is cooling upside down, use a funnel to prevent the pan from being against your counter. Our homemade funnels are the cut off tops of 2 liter bottles - works just as good!
The only thing that I did different was to add 1/2 tsp. of almond extract, as suggested by browneyedbaker. I really like almond flavoring! Recipe is as follows...
Angel Food Cake
• 1 1/2 cups egg whites (use 10-12 large eggs)
• 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
• 1 cup sifted cake flour or sifted all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1 cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Have ungreased 10-in tube pan ready.
2. Separate egg whites into a very large mixing bowl and allow them to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sift powdered sugar and flour together three times; set aside.
3. Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (Tips will curl if spatula is inserted and lifted. See images here).
Gradually add granulated sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (Tips stand straight. See images here)
4. Sift one-fourth of the powdered sugar mixture over beaten egg whites. Fold in gently with a spatula. Repeat powdered sugar mixture by fourths. Pour into ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Gently cut through batter to remove air pockets. (Use a knife or icing spatula).
5. Bake on the lowest rack in a 350° oven for 40-45 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake; cool thoroughly in pan (about 2 hours). Loosen cake from pan by sliding a metal spatula or table knife between the cake and pan, pressing the spatula against the pan, so you don't cut the edges of the cake.
Sources: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 12th edition