Griddle Your Angel Food Cake to Give It New Wings

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik.]

When Stella bakes, leftovers abound. On days she recipe tests, our entire staff comes into the office prepared. Prepared, that is, to stuff ourselves with ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, sponge cake, and whatever else comes out of the test kitchen in unbelievable quantity. We come with Tupperware from home and squeeze leftover sweets into every pocket and tote bag, eating cake and cookies on our commute home, sharing the rest with our friends and family enjoying the rest later.

But even with all of this preparation (read: endless dedicated eating), sometimes we still have leftovers days after Stella finished testing a recipe. That’s how this very good, very simple griddled angel food cake came to be. When our pastry wizard finished baking an angel food cake as light and airy as a cloud, she was left with several extra slices that turned stale and dry as days passed. Instead of tossing them out, she melted butter in a pan, set a slice of cake down where it sizzled and browned, and waited until its slightly dry exterior became crisp, buttery, and moist once again. It was an office-wide hit.

Add some butter to your pan. Then add a little bit more.

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To call this a recipe would be an exaggeration, as it takes nothing more than butter, a hot pan, and some leftover cake. Instead, consider it inspiration for the next time you decide to make angel food cake but don't have a crowd to feed. You can rest well knowing it will take nothing more than a large pat of butter and a hot pan to breathe new life into your day-old cake. Get your stainless steel or cast iron pan nice and hot over a medium flame, melt a generous slice of butter, lay your cake slice(s) down, and wait until they've developed a thick, brown crust on both sides. Slide the cake out of the pan, and finish it with a glug of maple syrup and—if you'd like—a pinch of salt.

You’ll soon be making angel food cake just to leave it out on the counter, waiting patiently until it’s just stale enough to be griddled, syrup’d, and brought back to life.