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Angel Food Sheet Cake with Toasted Coconut

  I feel like a bit of a jumble.

  One hand points to cookies, cupcakes, and cobblers; the other points to an education and four years in a place not well-known to me, in a land of dormitories with small kitchens and a fixed food budget.

  But I think it must be done, I think I need the time to grow up a little.  I can't be in my comfort zone, or any zone, really, forever.

  I've never been good at edging out of my zone.  I have a hard time leaving anything behind.

  And whether or not I'm ready to tip my hat goodbye to regular blog posting, good lighting, and roomy kitchens, I know that forward is the only way to go.

  I just wish I knew where it would take me.  I keep seeing a mundane life of teaching English to sixth graders while dealing with publisher rejections and making cookies on the side, when my dreams show me holding a plateful of cupcakes in front of my newly-opened shop.  Complete with a ribbon-cutting and mounds of pink frosting.

  But I'm not sure of anything, which I hear is something to embrace.  Life doesn't always hand you a blank page and say, "Have at it."

  So let's keep things simple today.

  I want you to view this cake as a blank canvas; to top with coconut, tufts of whipped cream, to throw together with cocoa powder, or simply dusted with powdered sugar, complete with an innocent cherry on top.

  For those who fear the wrath of tube pans (which is totally silly, but not unreasonably so), this cake is for you.  See it as a starter, and work towards the tube from here.  It's worth it.

  This is also for those who don't have enough leftover egg whites to make a full angel food cake, if you have six hanging out in your fridge, you're good to go.

  Your cake might topple, your cherry may fall.  And by all appearances, seem disheartening.

  Here's a secret: it still tastes just as good.  Perspective.

  P.S. I'm still on vacation, this post was scheduled out before I left.  I'll be back Sunday though, and will gladly answer any questions/comments/emails then!

Angel Food Sheet Cake with Toasted Coconut
Yield: one 8 or 9-inch cake

  • 6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened, your preference)
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)
  • Fresh fruit, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Position rack in the center of the oven.
Beat egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and salt, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form.  Sprinkle flour over egg white mixture; fold in carefully. Gently fold in flavoring(s).

Pour batter into an ungreased (Yes, ungreased.  The egg whites need to hold on to the pan.  No worries, the cake will still come out nicely when it's cooled.) 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.  Sprinkle coconut over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.   Run a knife around the edges and remove the cake from the pan to cut into squares and serve with sweetened whipped cream and fruit.  Store in an airtight container.

Sources: adapted from Eva Bakes, who found it on Cookie Baker Lynn, originally from Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook