All recipes copyright © 2004 Roy Finamore.

Five-Spice Angel Food Cake
Makes one 10-inch cake

Time was when my nephew David Finamore Rossler craved chocolate cake. He’s moved on and now requests angel food cake for his birthday. To tell the truth, he asks for this cake for everyone’s birthday.

1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
A few gratings of nutmeg
1 1/2 cups egg white (from 11-12 large eggs), at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour together with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the five-spice, and nutmeg four times to aerate.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at medium low speed until frothy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat at medium high until soft peaks form. While beating, add the remaining 1 cup sugar gradually, in a slow steady stream. Once you have all the all the sugar in, increase the to high and beat until the whites are glossy, and form stiff peaks.

Transfer the whites to a large bowl and whisk in the extract. Sift half the flour over the whites and fold in gently. Sift the rest of the flour on top, and fold in, gently but thoroughly. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan and jiggle the pan to settle the batter. Smooth the top, and slip the pan into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

Invert the pan (onto a bottle, if your pan doesn’t have legs), and cool completely. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and along the tube and pull the insert out. Carefully release the cake from the bottom of the insert and slide it off. Set the cake bottom side up on a pedestal stand if you’ve got one. Something pretty.

For the glaze, put all the ingredients into a bowl. Beat with a fork until smooth.

Spoon the glaze onto the top of the cake and spread it to the edges with a knife or a small offset spatula. If it hasn’t started to drip down the sides on its own, nudge the glaze in a few places with the knife.

Angel cakes should be cut with serrated knives, with a sawing motion. Otherwise they get smooshed.