Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

Angel Food Cake

CookbooksThe funny fellow over at Drinking Tips for Teens wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago about his cookbooks. It put me in mind of my small library. These days, most of the recipes that I use frequently, are those I’ve printed from online. They sit in a blue loose-leaf folder among the cookbooks. All of these cookbooks combined contain at most a half-dozen favourite recipes. And these are rarely used.

It has never occurred to me to transfer those recipes to cards in order to free up cupboard space. I suppose that’s because I collected most of these titles well before personal computers and internet search engines. I used to enjoy pouring over the pages of the cookbooks. I’d spend an entire afternoon bookmarking recipes the old-fashioned way.

If, on the off-chance I get really, really bored, or if I should desperately need the space, I could tear out the favourite pages and stuff them in the blue binder. Then I could bid farewell to Harrowsmith, Vol. I, II & III, buh-bye to Food that Really Schmecks, Vol I & II, and adios Moosewood.

One cookbook, however, will remain on the shelf, strictly out of sentiment. It’s the one with the green duct tape on the spine.

BHG Cookbook coverMom’s bible was the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Perhaps “guide” is the more accurate term. Most often mom cooked by the seat of her pants. Dad would often quip, “Well, too bad you won’t be able to make this [specialty du jour] again, because it sure tastes good.”

I’m quite comfortable cooking the same way. That is, I take the ingredients on hand and mix them together for a reasonable facsimile of a curry or stew or stir fry.

I haven’t reached the same level of comfort when it comes to baking, however. The correct proportion of ingredients in a cake, for example, is more important for a successful outcome. I rarely bake. Besides. You know the trouble with baking a cake, right? You have to eat it.

Special occasions call for a special cake. When that call is heard, I pull out this cookbook and turn to page 125, reproduced for you here. This recipe for Angel Cake is the one and only recipe that I use from this book.

Better Homes and Gardens Angel Cake

Better Homes and Gardens Angel Cake – page 124 and 125 complete with spatters. The editors of the book wrote this by way of intro: “Angel-cake Surprise for your fanciest party. Listen to the ‘oh’s’ and ‘ah’s’ as you cut through the whipped-cream frosting and light, tender angel cake and find a tempting whipped cream, nut, and fruit surprise filling.”  Mom never frosted the cake as shown in the image, and nor do I. I cannot imagine it! Talk about gilding the lily!



Angel Cake

1 cup sifted flour

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ cups egg whites (12)

1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup white sugar

Sift flour with ¾ cup sugar 4 times

Beat whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla till stiff enough to hold up in soft peaks but still moist, glossy. Add remaining ¾ cup sugar to whites, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition. Sift about ¼ of flour over the whites; fold in. Fold in remaining flour by fourths. Bake in ungreased 10-inch round tube pan in moderate oven (375°) 35 to 40 minutes. Invert pan, cool.

What? You really want to know the recipe for the filling? OK, but if you decide to go ahead and make this, do let me know that you survived the sugar shock!


Angel Food Cake Filling

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Keepsake Angel Food is Part Seven in the series







Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,

49 replies

  1. That looks so good! I don’t have a pan for it, but once I do, that would be fun to make.

    I find it so interesting that cookbooks tend to go largely unused–seems a bit like a CD that a person might buy and then only listen to one or two songs thereon.


  2. Oh-oh, sounds like another Greg-as-chef story is in the mix.

    I wrote one a while ago called Making Soup. Here is how that one started.

    I hate to cook.

    Back when I was single, I hated it so much, I only cooked on Mondays. I filled a pot with whatever was on hand and feasted on it all week. When that ran out, I ate bar-food.

    One week, I decided to make vegetable-beef soup.

    I poured water into a pot, sliced an onion and checked the refrigerator for a bag of frozen vegetables. Wouldn’t you know it? No vegetables. No beef either.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been slowly getting rid of all my cookbooks. I used to collect them especially from different places. I find that I tend to cook the same things much of the time and I make do with the ingredients on hand. If I need a recipe I am more likely to Google it than go through books. My mother used to make angel food cake from scratch — no icing or filling needed. It’s so much better than the mixes.


    • You are I are pretty much on the same page as far as food prep and recipe books are concerned. I LOVE the fact that you can key in the ingredients that you have on hand and the recipe sites spit out suggestions.

      The one and only time I had a failure with this cake was when I substituted Splenda for sugar. Angel food it was not. More like the flat oval of a toilet seat and just as palatable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I live with a cookbook collector. I asked her once why she kept adding to them, she’d never do all the recipes. She said she just liked to look through them from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. After I read this post, I had to go look to see how many binders I had – five. I have an entire binder just for desserts. I love baking – no, I mean I LOVE baking. In one of my dream worlds, someone makes all my meals for me and I get to just bake. Cakes are my favourite. Unfortunately Gilles prefers pie. I make pies – I make very good pies – but my heart (and waist, and hips) belongs to cake 🙂

    Years ago I abandoned all my recipe books, tore out all the pages that were meaningful to me and put them in my binder. I promptly got rid of the rest of the book. If a recipe disappoints me, it gets ripped from the binder. My kitchen is very much a sacrifice-the-weak kind of place.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Try the banana bread on page 71 (yes, I still have the cover and am only missing the last two pages of the index). Add an extra egg, nuts and cranberries. It’s hard to go wrong.


  7. Fun. I liked that, seeing the inside of the old books. Makes me want to go look at what’s on MY shelves!


  8. Well bugger me ! – a recipe from The Wilson, and it has to be for CAKE.
    Sighh …
    Not even scones. I can always sneak a scone and pretend it isn’t splattering avoirdupois around …


  9. I have a similar attachment to my Joy of Cooking cookbook. I got my first one when I married The Loser, way back in 1982 – I’ve been through four since then (I don’t know if that shows that I use it a lot or that the book binding could be better – maybe a little of both). I fell in love with that particular cookbook because it has a whole section on wild game and shows you how to skin a squirrel – not that I cook wild game or have ever had the need to skin a squirrel, but it’s nice to know I could do it if I needed to!


    • It’s kinda magical, isn’t it, our attachment to these books.

      In my post, I mention Harrowsmith Cookbooks. These were published in association with their “back-to-the-land” magazine of the same name in the 70’s and 80’s. I recall an article devoted to the finer art of preparing groundhog and, um, other roadkill. As you say, you never know when you might need that information.

      Like, for an “end of days” scenario, right?


  10. Sounds amazing, but think I will stick with an Aussie pavlova. Fewer eggs, but really light and easy to prepare. Topped with fruit and cream…. Mmmmmm 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I cook the same way, but my “book” was Betty Crocker, or errr, “guide”. I did tear out bits and pieces and cakes or “any” sweets are out for me. Husband and I are diabetics, which shot that to the devil and back.
    I have recipes – ones I made up, but they usually make enough to feed a family of ten (at least) and there are only two of us. I have a “slight” problem with that part. 🙂


  12. My Peterborough Ontario neigbbour baked the most delicious dark Christmas fruit cake. She would marinatethe ingredients in rum. Definitely not a compost cake. It was decadent. The ingredients required to make this cake are expensive and baking it takes many hours. It was her labour of love. At the Peterbourough Farmers’ Market she sold every cake. Christmas cake freezes very well too!


  13. I do not own a single cookbook. I wouldn’t use one if I did.
    But, I wholly agree with you — baking is another matter, and one that is much more science than art.
    Sugar shock indeed! I once baked a cake and cupcakes for a baby shower, polar bears of all things, and one of the guests, having woofed down two cupcakes already, had to ask me how much sugar she was consuming. When I told her, she put the third cupcake down. Silly, silly woman! 😛


  14. There must be something wrong with me, I can’t bear the thought of ripping a page out of a book – even if it’s only a hardly used recipe book! I need to loosen up a bit. 😀 The cake looks scrumptious.


  15. OH this cook book, Angel Food cake … good memories. I’ll try to control myself from posting a long, rambling comment. I’ll just say that several years ago I suddenly had an urge to find a copy of this cookbook… “Mom’s” cookbook. Thanks for sharing, Maggie!


  16. Ahhh, Maggie, a pure delight this post is. One of my very first posts in my fledgling blog was cookbook themed – if interested, it is “Cookbook Time Capsule.” And my battered old cookbook is a precious keepsake indeed.



  1. Keepsake | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  2. WEMon August 11, 2014 Mistakes, Gaffs and Goof-ups | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  3. WEThurs August 14, 2014 | Writing Essential Group
  4. How I Learned to Prepare the Thanksgiving Turkey | The Zombies Ate My Brains

Your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s