Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Because we've been busy wrapping up the semester (only 2 weeks of finals remain!), many of the recipes (like this and this) that we've posted in the last month come from weekly dinners that we've been having with two friends -- an event that ensures that we get up from our work and put something together in the kitchen. Last night, they kindly returned the favor by cooking dinner for us. But being the control freaks that we are, we couldn't let them cook everything, so we brought a chocolate angel food cake for dessert.

The cake marked our second use of our beautiful new angel food cake pan, and our first attempt making something other than the standard cake. For some reason, I thought that adding chocolate would significantly change the taste of the cake, but it actually turned out tasting just like the angel food cake that I know and love -- with just the right amount of chocolate flavor. Adding cocoa didn't make the cake any less fluffy or moist, as I had feared. It tasted sweet enough, but since it's so low in fat, I totally didn't feel guilty eating it. We sliced ourselves huge pieces, and topped it with whipped cream and sugary fruit.

The recipe we used is from The Joy of Baking. There are probably easier recipes out there, but this one looked thorough and fail-proof. It turned out to be less difficult than we expected, and we definitely recommend it.

16 large egg whites
4 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350. Bring egg whites to room temperature (you can let them sit, covered, in a bowl for about 30 minutes). In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and boiling water. Stir in vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, then add cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form, then add remaining one cup of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Remove one cup of egg white mixture, and whisk it into the cocoa powder mixture to lighten it. Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold flour mixture into remaining egg whites, then fold in cocoa mixture. Don't over mix. Pour batter into 10-inch angel food cake pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until inserted knife comes out clean, and cake springs back to the touch. Once baked, invert pan and let it cool for an hour and a half. Run knife around the rim of the pan, and around the bottom of the pan to remove the cake. Serve with fruit, whipped cream, and other toppings.