I know I have been slacking pretty hard on my blog lately.  December was a crazy month, filled with parties, family celebrations, and a would have been trip to Florida, but I got my husband’s cold on Christmas Day.  So we postponed it to February, where we will be flying instead of driving.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year…I know I did, despite my cold (I did get guitar hero as a consolation prize), and went out for a fab night on the town for New Year’s with the husband (and won’t ever be drinking like that again, I must have thought I was 22 and in college again).

My first half of 2008 was amazing, since I got married to my wonderful husband in June, and then we had an amazing honeymoon in Mexico.  I know for the majority of the country the second half of 2008 was a bit hairy, and mine did have it’s ups and downs, but I’m ready for the new year, and can’t believe it’s already 2009!  I’m only 5 months away from celebrating my first anniversary (and one month away from celebrating 7 years total of being with my husband).  How time flies!

Anyway, this black and white angel food cake has become a favorite of mine.  I never really made (or ate) angel food cake until recently, probably because my mom put raspberries on hers, and well, we know how I feel about berries.  I think I discovered this recipe after seeing Ina make it on the Food Network.  It’s a nice twist on a traditional angel food cake, it’s more like a big meringue covered in chocolate deliciousness.  And it’s pretty light for a chocolate dessert.

I made it for my husband’s family Christmas celebration that we had at our house the Saturday before Christmas (and they braved a snow storm to come up), and it went well with the meal we had.  I’ve also served it to some good family friends, one of which said “I don’t normally like angel food cake, but this was really good.”  And then she made fun of me for my perfect drizzles of the chocolate ganache.  Anyway, on to the recipe.

Black and White Angel Food Cake

2 cups sifted superfine sugar (about 1 pound) – note, I just use regular sugar, works fine
1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 cups egg whites at room temperature (10 to 12 eggs)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely grated semisweet chocolate – you can totally rough chop and it works just fine

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the flour and sift them together 4 times (this you do need to do). Set aside.

Place the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high speed until the eggs form medium-firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar by sprinkling it over the beaten egg whites. Beat on high speed for a few minutes until thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and continue to whisk until very thick, about 1 more minute.

Scrape the beaten egg whites into a large bowl. Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it very carefully into the batter with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour in 3 equal additions, sifting and folding until it’s all incorporated.

Fold in the grated chocolate.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth the top, and bake it for 35 to 45 minutes, until it springs back to the touch. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan on a cooling rack. When cool, run a thin, flexible knife around the cake to remove it from the pan.

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips (1 1/3 cups)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate chips and the heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate melts. Pour the chocolate over the top of the cooled cake to cover the top completely and allow it to drizzle down the sides. If you have chocolate glaze left over, you can serve it on the side with the cake.

You can totally make the cake ahead of time, and then frost it the day you plan to serve it.  It keeps pretty well, as long as you make sure it’s in an airtight container.