Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chocolate Angel Cake

Being a home baker, I always tell myself...

... Never beat meringue in a wet mixing bowl!

Every bakers including Martha Stewart at here always know the bowl and whisk required to beat a meringue have to clean and dry!!! However, seeing this chocolate angel cake recipe with the addition of water while beating the meringue, I am asking myself... Is this right?

This chocolate angel cake originates from the book, "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas and the curious me is baking this cake for The Home Bakers (THB). THB is an baking event organised by my friend, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours. With a group of gorgeous ladies, we are baking all recipes from the book, "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas until every recipe from this book has been baked.

It has been almost a year since I have hosted my previous THB event with Italian cheese and herb pinwheels bread. Time files... It is now my turn to host this event and I have choose to bake this interesting chocolate angel cake.

Interesting angel cake? Interesting and strange in the sense that the meringue used in this cake actually requires the addition of water. Was it really strange? hmmm... Not really! After researching further, I have found an angel cake recipe by Alton Brown that also requires the addition of water. Maybe it is not so strange after all... Nevertheless, I'm curious to try...

Prior this bake, I always have the assumption that angel cakes and chiffon cakes are kind of the same. With my bake, I have clearly see the differences. Although both cakes are baked with meringue, they are different in its composition and texture. Unlike angel cakes, most typical chiffon cakes contain egg yolks, oil and also leavening agents such as baking powder. As a result, most chiffon cakes are feathery light in their texture which are generally more tender and moist than sponge cakes. Angel food cakes contain no egg yolk, fat or leavening at all. They are leavened with beaten egg whites and they have a high proportion of egg white to flour.

With no added fat, this chocolate angel cake tends to be drier and crumbly when it is freshly baked. After the cake has cooled completely and rested for a few hours in the room temperature, it develop a nice moist chewy texture and rich and sweet chocolaty taste. However, storing the cake in the fridge has sadly toughen up its texture... Ops!

I must admit that I have mixed feeling baking and eating this cake. It is fulfilling to know that the addition of water in this recipe can eventually yield a smooth and voluminous meringue but yet, I have not figure out the full rationale of doing that. Besides the fun of baking, it is fulfilling to enjoy this cake as well. I can't deny that part of my brain has been telling me that I prefer chiffon cakes more than angel cakes for their softer tender textures. However, the logical side of me says... Hey! There is no added fat in this cake!!! What more can you expect?

chocolate angel cake
Chocolate angel cake

Adding water into egg whites!!!???
Hey! It works! The meringue is surprisingly smooth and glossy!
Sift in dry ingredients
Please pardon me and my messy tube pan :p
Allow the cake to cool completely upside down before removing it from the pan
chocolate angel cake
The cake is crumbly but develop its texture after rested for several hours.
Like its chewy taste! So what more can you expect?

Being part the rule of this event, only the host of the chosen bake can include the recipe in her blog post and the host of this specific bake happens to be me.

And, so here's the recipe from the book, Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas
(with my notes and modification in blue)

Makes one 10 inch cake, serves 14
The instant coffee powder that I used
14 large egg whites
(I used 210g egg whites for half of this recipe)
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp water
2 cups sugar
(I reduced it to 125g + 25g for half of this recipe)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
(I used 35g Valrhona Dutch processed cocoa for half of this recipe)
2 tbsp instant coffee powder
(I used decaf)

Preheat the oven to 375°F or 170°C fan forced. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy, then beat in the cream of tartar, salt and water.

Beat until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in 1 1/4 cups of sugar (I have added 125g for half of this recipe) and the vanilla extract. beating until stiff. glossy peaks form.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, the remaining 3/4 cup sugar (I have added 25g for half of this recipe), the cocoa, and coffee powder together to blend. Gradually fold this mixture into the egg whites. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan with a removable bottom and smooth the top.

Bake for about 35 mins, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely upside down on a rack. To serve, remove from the pan and cut into wedges.

Note: Using a 15 cm un-greased tube pan, half of this recipe and a reduced amount of added sugar, I have baked this cake at 170°C fan forced for 30 mins and the sweetness of this cake is just right for me.

This post is linked to The Home Bakers. To see the other THB members' bakes, please go to THB website.

Always my preference, THB with a retro look - Happy Baking!

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  1. What a beautiful cake Zoe, and yes, the texture of this angel cake is just perfect.
    Have a great week :D

  2. It does look very moist, and I've always thought the name is very nice-sounding :)

  3. Your angel cake looks fab... I nvr succeeded in making one..ever...lol...

  4. Good morning Zoe,
    I have always prefer chiffon cakes over the sponge and angel cakes that has no oil at all. But surprisingly, this cake turns out quite moist and not dry at all, unlike other cakes that I've baked before. Overall, I like this cake and it has a delicious choco-coffee flavour and fragrant too. I had two big slices for breakfast this morning! :)

  5. I love the way you used decaf coffee :) *thumb up*

  6. Zoe, your angel cake is lovely! But looking at the ingredients, I think I would opt for chiffon cake. But it is good to try at least once for the taste and texture.

  7. This angle become extremely gorgeous! I would like to try the way you beat the egg white,wandering would it be any differences?hmmm

  8. Zoe, I have not bake angel cake b4, looks like I need to try it soon :D

  9. I never knew the difference before this ;) Thanks for sharing. It would have been even better if you could share a piece of the cake ;p

  10. From you picture, actually it look no difference from a normal chiffon cake. My first time tried angel cake was during Macau trip. We went to the famous Portuguese egg tart shop, beside egg tarts, we saw this type of meringue egg white cake. I guess due to they use up all egg yolks, left only egg white so they have to think a smart way to use up the leftover egg white. We bought a small piece to try out, but frankly to tell you, I don't like the taste, hehehe..

  11. 14 large egg whites?? That's alot!! But it sounds really healthy and it looks fabulous.

  12. Thank you Zoe for sharing the recipe as well as the verdict of the texture. Your illustrations are helpful. Now I know what to do with left over whites after I'd baked kueh lapis and pineapple tarts.

    Priscilla Poh

  13. In your post I don't just find great recipes, but I also learn some new things. I had no idea that angel cakes and chiffon cakes are different. I thought it's different name for the same thing..

  14. I love your "analysis " in this post and great to know that it turns chewy after hours! I love chewy chewy...and also good to learn I should not store in fridge unless I return to room temperature before consumption.... Nice, enticing cake there

  15. Hi, Zoe...you always inspire me by doing research prior your bake, thumbs up for your effort!

  16. This spongey cake is calling my name, why are you so good at this!? :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  17. Hi Zoe, my blog is back for public access. 1st time of seeing a "dark angel cake!" Does this pan easy to use? My friend gave me 1 but I haven't used yet. By the way, I baked some chocolate chiffon cake yesterday, hehe, only with egg yolks.

  18. HI Zoe,
    Your Angel Food Cake looks heavenly:) I must admit, I'm partial to Chocolate and Coffee in any sort of cake, lol...I'm not a huge fan of Angel Food Cake but, for those who are watching their cholesterol, the fact that there are no yolks makes it a dessert they can enjoy. I like mine topped with strawberries:)

    Yours looks lovely and now I too am intrigued by the use of water in the meringue. I wonder if any kind of liquid can be used such as juice or even the whey from homemade yogurt.

    Thank you so much for hosting and sharing, Zoe...

  19. Hi Zoe , your cake looks so moist and light , save me a hunk , be right over thanks for sharing ;-D

  20. Hi Zoe, i love this cake!! chocolate + coffee ----> heaven!

  21. Yep, I have heard of angel cake from Martha Stewart program.. Previously, it was aired on the TV every Tuesday at 8.30pm-9pm.. See, I can remember.. She showed angel cake first, then devil cake.. Angel cake is white, devil cake is brown, keke..14 large eggs? Wow..

  22. Love the clicks Zoe & the cake looks very delicious. I have never liked Angel cakes but always feel tempted looking at the picture.

  23. I've not baked an angel cake before, I think I'd prefer chiffon cake because I just don't know what to do with the yolks! Probably can make lots of custard!

  24. Interesting to know this new way of beating the meringue.

  25. Haven't tried angel cake before, your chocolate version is enticing me.....

  26. I have a cookbook has recipe on Angel cake required 10 large egg whites. Even if I halved the recipe ... I have to think of something for the yolks. But then ... I don't have the right pan size ... haiz!

  27. I want to drizzle on some melting chocolate.... Slurppp....

  28. Great cake! We often make regular angle food cake for snacks, since it's fairly low in calories (comparatively speaking!). Haven't done a chocolate one in ages, and we should. Terrific post -- thanks.

  29. Any time I see meringue, I know it is going to be good!