A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 16, 2009
Angel Food Cake (Angel Cake)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Angel food cake
Angel food cake is a type of cake that became popular in the U.S. following the invention of the hand-crank egg-beater in the 19th century. It may also have been called angel cake. Because of its white color and airy lightness it was said to be the “food of the angels”. It can be contrasted to chocolate devil’s food cake, another popular American cake which appeared at the same general time period, as one of the many new American cakes made possible by the invention of baking powder. Angel food cake is a type of foam cake whereas the devil’s food cake is a type of butter cake.

Angel food cake requires that the egg whites be whipped until they are stiff, and gently folded into the other ingredients. For this method of leavening to work well, it is useful to have flour that has been made of softer wheat. This — and the lack of fat — causes angel food cake to have a very light texture and taste. It has led some detractors to liken the taste of the cake, as well as its appearance, to cotton. Angel food cake should be cut with a serrated knife, as a solid blade tends to compress the cake rather than slice it. Forks, electric serrated knives, special tined cutters or a strong thread should be used instead.

Angel food cake is usually baked in a tube pan, a tall, round pan with a tube up the center that leaves a hole in the middle of the cake. A “bundt pan” can also be used, but the fluted sides can make releasing the cake more difficult. The center tube allows the cake batter to rise higher by ‘clinging’ to all sides of the pan. Unlike other cakes, the pan should be un-greased to enhance the cake. After baking, the cake pan is inverted while cooling to prevent the cake from falling in on itself. Angel food cake is sometimes frosted but more often has some sort of sauce, such as a sweet fruit sauce, drizzled over it. A simple glaze is also popular. Recently many chefs (Alton Brown in particular) have popularized the idea of adding aromatic spices such as mace and cloves.

Epicurious.com - Food Dictionary
angel food cake
A light, airy sponge-type cake made with stiffly beaten egg whites but no yolks or other fats. It’s traditionally baked in a TUBE PAN and is sometimes referred to simply as angel cake .

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: angel food cake
Function: noun
Date: 1908
: a usually white sponge cake made of flour, sugar, and whites of eggs

(Oxford English Dictionary)
angel-cake (orig. U.S.), a variety of sponge-cake
1886 Good Housek. (N.Y.) 10 July 127/2, I always use the pan sold as an ‘*angel cake pan’.
1904 N.Y. Times 13 June 8 To have angel cake would be sacrilegious.
1905 N.Y. Even. Post 4 Aug. 7 Angel cake, sponge cake, and ice-cream cake have conspired to relegate the seed cake to practical oblivion.
1909 J. MASEFIELD Tragedy of Nan II. p. 28 None but angel-cakes ‘d be fit eating for you, Miss Nan.
1956 ‘N. SHUTE’ Beyond Black Stump vii. 201 He would usually take with him an enormous peach pie or an angel cake.

angel(’s)-food (-cake), (orig. U.S.), angel-cake
1881 MRS. OWENS Cook Bk. 161 *Angel’s food. In other words, White Sponge Cake.
1920 S. LEWIS Main St. vii. 88 They distributed..stuffed olives, potato salad, and angel’s-food cake.
1951 Good Housek. Home Encycl. 335/1 Angel Cake (Angel Food Cake), an extremely light, feathery cake of the sponge type.

December 1868, Godey’s Lady’s Book, pg. 539:
Angel’s Food. A New Dish. Make a rich custard, pour it in a glass bowl, and put a layer of sliced cake on it. Stir some finely-powdered sugar into quince or apple jelly, and drop it on the cake. Pour syllabub on the cake, and then put on another layer of cake, and icing.

30 July 1879, Titusville (PA) Herald, pg. 3, col. 3:
Apropos, one of the present Boston notions is to eat angel cake, which is a delicate white sponge cake. It is advertised by pincards in restaurant windows, and in demand at private and public entertainments.

Google Books
Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book and Marketing Guide
By Maria Parloa
Boston, MA: Estes and Lauriat
1880
Pg. 317:
Angel Cake.
The whites of eleven eggs, one and a half cupfuls of granulated sugar, one cupful of pastry flour, measured after being sifted four times; one teaspoonful of cream of tartar, one of vanilla extract. Sift the flour and cream of tartar together. Beat the whites to a stiff froth. Beat the sugar into the eggs, and add the seasoning and flour, stirring quickly and lightly. Beat until ready to put the mixture in the oven. Use a pan that has little legs at the top corners, so that when the pan is turned upside down on the table, after the baking, a current of air will pass under and over it. Bake for forty minutes in a moderate oven. Do not grease the pan.

Google Books
The Eliot Cook Book
Boston Highlands: John Backup
1880
Pg. 52:
Angel Cake.—Take the whites of eleven eggs, one and one-half cups of granulated sugar, one cup of pastry flour, (measure the flour after it has been sifted four times,) one small teaspoonful of vanilla, one teaspoonful of cream of tartar. Put in the sieve the cream of tartar, and sift again. Beat the eggs to a stiff froth, beat the sugar to the eggs, add the seasoning, then the flour, stirring it quickly and lightly. Beat until you are ready to put it into the oven. Put it in a new pan and keep in a moderate oven forty minutes. Do not grease the pan.

Google Books
The Illinois Cook Book
Compiled by Mrs. W. W. Brown
From recipes contributed by the Ladies of Paris
and published for the benefit of Grace (Episcopal) Church
Claremont, NH: The Claremont Manufacturing Company
1881
Pg. 95:
ANGEL CAKE.—One and a half tumblers of granulated sugar, the whites of eleven eggs, one tumbler of flour, one teaspoon of cream tartar. Beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, into which stir the sugar, after it has been sifted five times; sift the flour, with the cream tartar in it, five times, and stir very lightly into the eggs and sugar. Flavor with vanilla and bake in a gallon milk pan, in a slow oven, forty minutes.
MRS. C. V. J.

3 October 1881, Decatur (IL)Daily Review, pg. 4, col. 4:
Angel food cake,...

Google Books
The Chicago Herald Cooking School
By Jessup Whitehead
Chicago, IL: Published by the Author at the Office of the Daily National Hotel Reporter
1883
Pg. 55:
268—Angel Food.
The fanciful name for white sponge cake—the whitest cake made.

The angel food recipe was given sub rosa at No. 252. Having made the cake mixture as there directed, take bright tin molds having large inside tubes, and nearly fill without previously greasing them. Bake about twenty-five minutes in a slack oven. Let the cakes remain in the mold until cold, then shake them out. THis cake is better when a day or two old than when freshly baked.

Make the quick icing, No. 264, and spread over the cakes.

22 March 1889, New Oxford Item (Gettysburg, PA), pg. 3, col. 5:
Angel Cake.
This popular cake was invented by a St. Louis baker, who kept the formula a secret a long time. A discharged employe finally made it known. To four ounces of sifted flour add one teaspoonful of cream of tartar; rub these through the sieve four or five times. Beat the whites of a dozen eggs until very stiff; add to them gradually three-quarters of a pound of granulated sugar, and beat thoroughly while so doing; flavor with a teaspoonful of vanilla extract; add the flour to the egg foam quickly and lightly. Line the funnel cake pan with ungreased paper, pour in the mixture and bake fifty minutes. When done loosen the edges and remove from the pan at once.—New York Sun.

18 February 1899, Washington (DC) Post, “Inventor of Angel Cake Dead,” pg. 3:
New York, Feb. 17.—Linus W. Dexter, aged eighty-six, a wealthy resident of Plainfield, N. J., died at his hime to-night from pneumonia. He was the originator of “angel cake.” A baker by trade, he laid the foundation of his fortune in the confectionary and fancy bakery business in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston.

15 August 1899, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, pg. 4, col. 5:
Editor Gets Rich Suddenly.
J. J. Streeter, the editor and publisher of The Vineland Independent, New Jersey, a poor man, has been made wealthy by the will of Mrs. Caroline F. Dexter, which was probated here today. By the terms of the will all of a large fortune, with the exception of $1,400, is left to Mr. Streeter. The $1,400 goes to three nephews. Mrs. Dexter was the widow of Lynus W. Dexter, the originator of angel cake. The fortune amounts to several hundred thousand dollars. Mr. Streeter is a state populist organizer and his paper is the official organ of the populists in New Jersey. Mr. Streeter has been overwhelmed with congratulations, and his editorial rooms have been overrun today by men and women friends.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (1) Comments • Monday, February 16, 2009 • Permalink


I am a direct decendent of Uncle Linus Dexter. I have a copy of the Dexter geneology, pulished in 1905 at Worcester, Mass and handed down to me by Laura Chapin Dexter Davidson, my grandmother and mother of my Father James Dexter Davidson. My Dad was one of four brothers who relocated to Seattle, WA from Springfield, Ma in about 1910, where my Grandfather Abiatha Davidson and his four sons started a bakery. That bakery was susequently relocated to Portland, OR by my uncle E.F. Davidson and my father. The Portland bakery (Davidson Baking Co.) operated with about 300 employees and a fleet of trucks until approx 1963.
None of the principles are still living. I have some history of that enterprise.

Posted by Warren L. Davidson  on  03/23  at  11:41 PM

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