Use room-temperature eggs, which will be easy to separate and beat to their full volume. (Hang onto the yolks to make Homemade Mayonnaise or Sweet Potato-Kale Bread Pudding.) Angel food cakes are made in an ungreased tube pan, which provides maximum surface area and traction for the cake to climb. The cake is cooled upside-down so it doesn’t lose volume as it cools. Some tube pans have little feet to hold the pan up off the counter while the cake cools. If yours doesn’t, simply invert the pan on the neck of a wine bottle or other bottle that fits into the hole of the tube pan.
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
2/3 cup cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
12 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 pound strawberries, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons slivered toasted almonds
Whipped cream (optional)
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
To prepare cake, sift together 3/4 cup sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl.
Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Add salt, vanilla, and almond extract; beat until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle one-third of flour mixture over beaten egg whites; gently fold flour mixture into egg whites. Repeat with remaining flour mixture.
Scrape batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Gently swirl a knife through the batter to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Invert pan (either on its “feet” or on the neck of a wine bottle) and cool completely. Run a knife around edges to loosen cake. Gently pull cake out of pan and slice with a serrated knife.
While cake cools, prepare strawberries. Combine strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, liqueur, and juice in a medium bowl. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve with cake; sprinkle with almonds. Garnish with whipped cream and mint, if desired.