I have a lot of angel food cake recipes in my vintage collection, but because I didn't have time to fail, I turned to a tried and true, albeit new-ish, recipe in my personal collection, clipped from a magazine more than a decade ago. (When someone buys my personal recipe collection at a Brooklyn stoop sale in 20 years, this will be in it.)
But this isn't just any recipe -- it was developed by The Bakers Dozen, a group of passionate professional and amateur bakers founded in 1989 by Marian Cunningham and Amy Pressman in San Francisco. This recipe has all the kinks worked out, and its clear and explicit directions provide a fearless introduction to angel food cake, which relies only on the air in the whipped whites for leavening. (Not as scary as it seems, especially if you use a standing mixer.)
This wonderful recipe that consistently yields a perfect result, if you follow the recipe precisely, including sifting the dry ingredients two times. You don't need a sifter; just pass the ingredients through a strainer.
The dry ingredients are carefully folded into the whipped egg whites, using a large spatula.
Spoon or pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. Smooth the top (as I did right after snapping this photo).
After pulling the cake from the oven, turn it upside down over an empty wine bottle. Not having one, I simply put it over a bottle of Chateau Diana, a vile "wine product" that no one should ever be forced to drink but somehow made its way into my liquor cabinet. At last, I found a good use for it.
Angel food cake has no fat, but plenty of sugar. It's great served plain, or you can ramp it up a bit with a sauce. I made a sour cherry sauce, which didn't photograph well -- the cake looked like it was bleeding, so best to leave it on the side.