Even though it’s been very cold here, my hens have been laying incredibly well. I think it’s most likely because we finally installed electricity in the barn and I set up a light on a timer out there.
You see, a hen naturally goes dormant in the winter with regard to her egg laying. When short winter days set in, her reproductive system sort of hibernates. I suppose this is so her body can put on fat for the winter and use most of her calories for warmth rather than egg-laying.
However, in the winter, humans can sort of short circuit this winter hen hibernation by providing supplemental light in winter. You have to have a decent shelter for the hens so they lay eggs and are able to keep warm. Also, providing plenty of food and fresh, unfrozen water can keep your hens laying well all winter. My hens have been laying about an egg per day per hen.
To use up all my eggs, I’ve turned to making an Angel Food cake each week. Angel Food Cakes use about 11 eggs per cake, so they can utilize many of the eggs that I find in the henouse. Additionally, Angel Food Cakes only use a cup of flour and 1 1/2 cups of sugar and no butter, so they are low in calories and fat. Angel Food Cakes seem like they would be complicated to make but they really are very easy. You just need to be patient and follow the steps exactly and your cake will be light and fluffy. One cool thing about Angel Food Cake is that there is no baking powder, baking soda, or yeast in the batter. Instead, the cake relies on thoroughly beaten egg whites to fluff up the cake.
Angel Food Cake Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a clean, ungreased 10 inch tube pan ready. Be sure it is absolutely clean and no trace of grease is on the pan.
- 11-12 egg whites (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Beat these ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
Slowly, beat in a little at a time, 3/4 cup of sugar. Whip the egg white mixture until soft, glossy peaks are formed. You don’t want to form stiff peaks, just soft ones that fall over when you lift the beaters from the bowl.
In a separate bowl, sift together:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
A little at a time, fold the flour mixture into the egg white-sugar mixture. Don’t beat it or stir it. Just use a rubber spatula to lightly combine the mixtures. Continue folding until no traces of the flour remains.
Spread the batter into the tube pan and bake at 350 for about 35 or 40 minutes in the center of the oven. Remove the cake from the oven when it is golden brown on top.
Turn the cake upside down onto a point-up funnel placed upon a heatproof surface. The tube of the pan should fit over the point of the funnel to create a sort of stand to keep the cake from collapsing as it cools. Let it hang for about 90 minutes. Then you can remove it from the pan.
To remove your Angel Food Cake from the pan, run a long, thin knife, like an icing spreader knife around the cake on all sides. Gently shake the cake out onto a cake plate.
Let the cake cool completely before icing it or drizzling a glaze over the cake.
Angel Food Cake is delicious plain. Or topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Or covered with a glaze.
Here is a recipe for a Lemon Glaze that is just scrumptious.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
Thoroughly combine ingredients. Let it sit for about 5 minutes before drizzling over your cooled Angel Food Cake.
I really wanted to post a picture of the Angel Food Cake that I made for my husband. However, he took it to work and the whole thing has mysteriously disappeared. So I’ll just say, They all said it was delicious!
August 29, 2016; I found a photo of a cake that I baked a few weeks ago. It was scrumptious!