This is what I ate for breakfast.
Birthday cake to be precise.
The dreaded day is upon us. The anniversary of my birth, THIRTY years ago.
The big 3-0.
I’ve been a little freaked out by this particular birthday. Thirty, is undeniably adult. I have a spent most of my life, and nearly all of my twenties, as a student. I have a list of degrees to my name, Associate of Arts, Bachelors of Arts, Bachelors of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. Now I am finished with that phase of my life and it’s a little unsettling. I’ve relocated twice as an adult – first all the way across the country to a tiny little town for graduate school and then halfway back across it to an actually city just a year ago for my post-doc. I’ve fallen in love and had my heart broken only to find myself, and then love again. I’ve brought two great cats into my life, as well as a sister-in-law and the most adorable niece (with another niece or nephew on the way). I have friendships that will last for a lifetime. I’ve started this blog, and become a cooking and food enthusiast.
So what I am I complaining about? I am pretty accomplished, if I say so myself. But really, thirty?
So I ate cake for breakfast.
The advantage of living alone, with no friends or family in this town, is that I get to have my cake and eat it too.
Which is why I decided to make an angel food cake. Light, fluffy, made practically from nothing.
(Plus I got to use my green stand mixer – an early birthday present from my parents – and I thought it only fair that it should be involved in my birthday cake making)
I started with a recipe from The Joy of Cooking.
Angel Food Cake
Sift 1 1/4 cups sugar.
Now, sift together 1 cup cake flour (and I actually made a special trip to the grocery store to get the cake flour), 1/4 cup of the sifted sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift this mixture three times.
Now separate your egg whites. You need about 1 1/4 cups of egg whites – for me this was 9 eggs. I like to separate my eggs by holding the yolk in my hand and letting the white slide through my fingers. It gets kind of messy, but I find it very satisfying.
I kept the egg yolks – I am sure I can find something to do with them later.
Whip the egg whites plus 1 T water and 1 T lemon juice until frothy. This is why the stand mixer was crucial. I have never attempted to make angel food cake from scratch before because whipping egg whites just seems like so much work. Even just watching the stand mixer was tiresome.
Add 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.
Continue to whip until peaks are stiff.
Fold in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
And 1/2 teaspoon orange extract (I modified this – The Joy of Cooking calls for almond extract instead, but I have been having a hankering citrus, so I went with an orange flavor).
Whip in remaining sifted sugar, 1 T at a time.
Gently, but quickly, fold in 1/4 of the flour mixture. Continue to fold in the rest of the flour mixture.
I also decided to add the zest from 1 orange, in keeping with the citrus theme.
Pour into a 9-inch tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Once baked, invert and cool for about an hour.
I splurged (it is my birthday after all) and bought outrageously expensive strawberries and raspberries. I sliced the strawberries and added a few raspberries and let them soak in some orange juice.
I would say this birthday may be the best excuse to eat cake for breakfast … and lunch … and dinner.
I was really only trying to make good use of my birthday present (because I never use my stand mixer … best birthday gift ever).
So happy birthday to me.