Once your kids sample this cake (er, toast), they'll know how angel food got its name. With a flavor sweet enough to forgo frosting and an extralight texture, it's simply heavenly. What's more, if you bake it in a loaf pan instead of the typical angel food pan, it looks just like bread. Perfect for a meal in disguise.
1Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and flour and set aside.
2Show your child how to separate yolks from egg whites either by hand or by using an egg separator placed atop a glass. One at a time, separate 8 eggs (or enough to equal 1 cup of egg whites). If an egg white is completely free of yolk, pour it into a clean bowl designated for egg whites only and transfer the yolk to another container. If a white is mixed with yolk, don't use it, as it will not whip well. Instead, add it to the yolk bowl to scramble later, or save it for a recipe that calls for whole eggs. TIP: A plastic egg separator (inexpensive in most cooking supply or department stores) makes it easy for kids to successfully separate yolks from whites.
3In a large mixing bowl, beat the cup of pure egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until they are foamy. TIP: When making angel food, beat the sweetened egg whites until stiff peaks form. Do not underbeat.
4With the mixer at high speed, beat in the granulated sugar a little at a time, adding in the vanilla extract and salt with the last of it. Continue beating the mixture until it becomes stiff and glossy.
5Now sprinkle the sifted confectioners' sugar and flour over the egg whites a little at a time, folding it in with a rubber spatula just until the dry mixture disappears.
6Using the rubber spatula, transfer the batter to an ungreased loaf pan. Use a metal spatula or a butter knife to gently cut through the batter in the pan. This helps spread the batter evenly and collapses any air pockets below the surface.
7Bake until the top splits open and the split dries (between 25 and 35 minutes). The top should also spring back when lightly pressed.
8Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Note: to keep the middle from sinking as it cools, turn the pan upside down and balance the opposite ends on inverted coffee mugs. Finally, remove the cooled cake from the pan (you may need to loosen the sides with a plastic spatula) and cut it into slices with a bread knife (a parent's job).