1 1/4 Cup fresh egg whites at room temperature
1 1/4 Cup cake flour
1 1/2 Cup sugar (1/2 Cup & 1 Cup)
1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
*Separate eggs until you have 1 1/4 Cup egg whites. Going over 1 1/4 Cup is fine if the last egg you separate makes a little too much. Don't be under. Set aside.
(Mary didn't separate the eggs to suit me, so I butted in and tried to show her how to do it over her shoulder. Of course I dropped my entire egg into the egg whites, but the yolk didn't break, so I was okay. While fishing out the yolk from the whites, I broke it and ruined all the whites Mary had separated to that point. That's when I sat down and started taking notes instead of helping her.)
*Sift the cake flour. Then measure out 1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. of the sifted flour.
(That's my mom's sieve. It "has character." Mom thinks it's easiest to sift onto waxed paper, then dump it back into the sieve and repeat three more times. Yes, that's an antique butter crock in the background. I think it holds sugar. My mom is the only one allowed to open it because she's afraid someone will break the lid, which is apparently rare to be undamaged.)
(This is my mom critiquing my sister's sifting technique.)
*Sift 1 Cup sugar. Set Aside.
*Put first flour/sugar mixture back into sieve.
*Beat egg whites to foamy.
(Foamy egg whites)
*Add 1-1/4 tsp. cream of tartar.
(This is where my mom told Mary she wasn't comfortable with measuring spoons and just used a regular spoon from a table setting. Then she told Mary she rounded it too much. We weren't comfortable with this measurement, but the cake turned out fine.)
*Beat to very stiff peaks. Egg whites should stand up and not curl over.
*FOLD in the 1 Cup sifted sugar in four parts very gently.
*Fold in 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. almond.
*Sift then fold in flour/sugar mixture in four parts.
(Folding is very important so you don't break down the egg whites. Mom thought Mary's technique was a little less than perfect. I heard "Don't be stirring at it!" at one point.)
*Put in angel food cake pan carefully. Don't flatten the top. Using a sharp knife cut around the cake and back and forth slowly to break any bubbles.
*Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
(Fresh from the oven)
*When the cake is done the top should feel "springy" and "spongy."
*Cool the cake upside down. (If it falls out of the pan, you didn't cook it long enough.) The cake should stay upside down until completely cooled--at least an hour.
(checking to see if it was falling out of the pan)
*Cut around the edges with a sharp knife to loosen from the pan.
(Mary's cake. Tasted great!)
And just in case you didn't understand my directions, here's a picture of my mom's recipe card. Seems like she left out some details AND one of the measurements is different than she told us today.