Home cooking: Granny Smith's Strawberry-Filled Angel Food Cake

August 21, 2012

Danielle Hill, 14, is a sophomore at Clear Spring High School. She participated in the Ag Expo almost since birth, first in the baby parade and later in cooking, gardening and art.

"My grandmother began to teach me how to cook when I was fairly young," Danielle said in an email. "I used to watch her making food in the kitchen, and I basically just tried to shadow what she did until I got it right. Now, I make things on my own and even add my own spin on it."

One chore of Danielle's is to make dinner for her family — Mom, Dad, her sister and herself. Although, she added, preparing meals is not really a chore. It's also an opportunity.

"I absolutely love challenging myself to make something new and exciting," she said. "So a year or two ago, I took on the task of making homemade gnocchi with a prosciutto cream sauce. I make it at least twice a month, and my family loves it."

Danielle said she's open-minded in the kitchen. She doesn't have any specific ingredients that she doesn't like. And, as with Julia Child, one of her favorite chefs, Danielle's favorite ingredient is butter. "Other shortenings just don't have the same flavor," she said.  

This Strawberry-Filled Angel Food Cake recipe came to Danielle from her grandmother.

"She found this recipe many years ago, and everybody loves it," she said.

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor

Granny Smith's Strawberry-Filled Angel Food Cake

For cake:

1 3/4 cups sugar, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1 cup cake flour, sifted 

12 egg whites, room temperature

1/3 cup warm water 

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

For filling:

3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O

1 cup boiling water

1 pound frozen, sliced strawberries

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

3 drops red food coloring

Fresh strawberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift half the sugar with salt and cake flour.

Separately, in a large bowl, use a whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, extracts and cream of tartar. Whisk 2 minutes, then beat with a hand mixer.

Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed.

Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift and add enough of the flour mixture just to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula, fold in gently. Repeat the dusting and folding until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Gently spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes, then check for doneness with a wooden skewer. When skewer is inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, skewer should come out dry.

When fully baked, cool cake upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

While cakes cools, dissolve Jell-O in boiling water and add frozen block of strawberries, stirring to break up and mix berries.

Place cake with wide side down on serving plate. Carefully cut off top 1 inch from top of cake and set aside.

Cut a circular channel around inside of cake, leaving 1-inch-thick outer wall, inner wall and bottom. Take removed pieces of cake and tear into small pieces. Fold cake pieces into strawberry mixture. Pour strawberry-cake mixture into empty channel. Place the top back on the cake.

Whip the whipping cream until thick. Add sugar and food coloring. Spread whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Decorate with fresh strawberries and refrigerate one hour before serving.

— Courtesy of Danielle Hill of Clear Spring

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