A finished dish of the Charlotte J. Crocker Angel No-Fool cake. (Bill Hogan/ Chicago Tribune / June 16, 2011)

The recipe that, in fact, finally gave me the courage to tell his mother that I had baked her son an angel food cake from scratch for his birthday. Just as she used to do.

Her eyebrows slightly rose upon hearing that.

Then she gently laughed and shook her head: "Honey, I used a box mix."

I married him anyway.

Charlotte J. Crocker angel no-fool cake

Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Servings: 10

Note: This recipe combines the best of Betty Crocker and Charlotte J. recipes with a few choice words of my own. My tips are offered to repudiate many of the "don'ts" that continue to be published with angel food cake recipes. Ignore me at your peril.

1 cup cake flour
7/8 cup sugar plus 3/4 cup sugar
12 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Measure the cake flour and 7/8 cup sugar into a bowl (for 7/8 cup, measure a cup, then remove 2 tablespoons); sift together. Set aside.

2. Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla and almond extract into the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on medium speed with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add the 3/4 cup sugar, beating on medium-high speed until combined.

3. Reduce speed to low; slowly mix in the flour-sugar mixture just until incorporated.