I usually shy away from desserts claiming to be "low fat" because I don't really see the point—except after a holiday binge. During the gluttonous festivities each year, I give myself a free pass. No, I take that back. To be totally honest, I give myself a free pass all year long, but it's only after the holidays that I end up feeling guilty. If you're a chocoholic, and feeling jiggly and bloated just like me from the nonstop nibblings, this dessert is for you: a chocolate angel food cake.
The amazing thing about angel food cake is that for a cake that's so lean, it's still satisfying. You can plop on whipped cream or ice cream and still feel in the clear. How does it work? Plentiful whipped egg whites provide structure to a cake that has just a modest amount of flour. As the cake bakes, it rises tall with a beautiful moist, light, and airy texture.
Things turn tricky, however, when you change the cake from plain to chocolate. I like my chocolate cakes super chocolaty, but angel food cakes are inherently sweet. It's almost a losing battle to get deep dark chocolate flavor and to keep the light as air texture. As I tried to balance out the sweetness using my favorite vanilla angel food cake recipe as a starting point, I ran into trouble. Adding too much cocoa, with its fine powdery texture, turns the cake dense. But you can't just swap out flour for cocoa either—you'll end up with a structure-less, squat cake. After 5 experiments with different ratios of flour to cocoa, blooming a bit of the cocoa in hot water (to generate extra flavor), and adding espresso powder to bump up bitterness, I landed in a chocolaty sweet spot that was worth two chocolate thumbs up.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.