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Angel Food Cake

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Light, dreamy and so much better than store-bought, this homemade Angel Food Cake will blow your mind! Made with whipped egg whites, sugar, flour, and some flavorings, this is a must-make cake recipe for summer. So delicious with whipped cream and berries. Kind of similar to a strawberry shortcake but much lighter.

slice of angel food cake with whipped cream and berries

Three Main Basics for Making Angel Food Cake

If you have ever had a store-bought angel food cake, you know it’s nothing to write home about. Flavorless, overly sweet, and typically dry, who would buy it again? Growing up, I used to HATE Angel Food Cake because my Mom only ever bought the store-bought kind and who likes that? But once I got older, started a food blog, and got to experimenting, I tried making my own from-scratch angel food cake and it rocked my world. Tender, lightly sweet, and sky-high, I was converted. Here are three main pointers for making this amazing homemade version before you start:

Using Room Temperature Eggs

For any Angel Food Cake Recipe, you will only ever use the whites. It’s a naturally fat-free recipe. This means you will need to separate 12 (yes, TWELVE!) eggs to get all those egg whites. Using room-temperature eggs actually makes it easier to separate the whites from the yolks. Room temperature egg whites also whip to easier and a bigger meringue. If you forget to pull your eggs out of the fridge, don’t fret! Simply put all your eggs into a large bowl with warm water and let them sit for 15-20 minutes. Tada! Room temperature egg whites.

What can I make with all these leftover yolks? Try these favorites: Double Chocolate Silk Cream Pie, Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

Making Superfine Sugar

While you can buy superfine sugar from the grocery store, it’s easier to make it yourself with a more readily available granulated sugar you probably already have in your pantry. Measure out the sugar into the bowl of a food processor or high powdered blender and blitz for two minutes. It may look a little clumpy because of the heat of the machine, but after you sift it, it will be ready to use.

Sift the Dry Ingredients Several Times

Since the whipped egg whites are the only thing we are using as leavening in this cake, it is extremely important to sift our dry ingredients well so they incorporate easily and quickly so as to not lose any air that we whipped into those whites. This is why sifting is so important. 

How to Make Angel Food Cake

While there is nothing hard or intimidating about the ingredients list (egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar, cake flour, salt, vanilla, and almond extracts) the magic happens with the method in which this is made. That is where you need to pay a little more time and attention, but it will most definitely pay off.

Preheat Oven and Prepare Pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. DO NOT GREASE your tube pan, but have it out and ready.

Why Do I Not Grease the Angel Food Cake Pan?

As I mentioned earlier, this cake is leavened only with egg whites. As the angel food cake bakes in the pan, the egg whites in the batter expand, grow and creep up the sides of the pan. In order to get a full rise through the baking process, they need to be able to ‘grip’ the sides of the pan. The best grip they can get is an ungreased pan.

Make the Superfine Sugar

Make superfine sugar by blitzing it in a food processor or high-powered blender for two minutes. Remove and sift into a large bowl. Divide sugar in half. Set half aside and sift the remaining half of the sugar together with cake flour and salt four times. Set aside.

Can I Use All Purpose Flour Instead of Cake Flour?

No. I would not recommend substituting all-purpose flour for cake flour in this cake recipe. Cake flour is very finely milled making it lighter and softer. It is also bleached so the flour is whiter and the grain itself is less dense. The protein content is also lower than all-purpose, meaning it will produce less gluten in the finished cake.

sifting dry ingredients together

Separate Eggs

Bring your eggs to room temperature by leaving them out for 2+ hours OR place them into a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes.

Separate egg whites from yolks. Save yolks in the refrigerator for another recipe. I like to separate one egg at a time in a separate smaller bowl, adding one white to the mixing bowl to ensure no broken yolks make it into my whites. Any trace of fat at all will prevent your whites from whipping.

Whip Egg Whites to Soft Peaks

Add whites to a clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy. Add in cream of tartar and continue beating. Sprinkle in reserved sugar bit by bit until it’s completely incorporated. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Egg whites are done when soft peaks form. Soft peaks are like stiff peaks that don’t quite hold their shape; it will be easier to incorporate the sugar/flour mixture with soft peaks.

folding dry ingredients into whipped egg whites

Fold in Sifted, Dry Ingredients

Using a rubber scraper, sift about 1/5th of the sugar/flour over the top of the whipped whites and fold in gently. Continue folding the dry ingredients into the egg whites until they are combined.

Pour gently into the tube pan and even out the top. 

Bake Cake, Then Cool Upside Down

Bake 30 minutes in the lower 1/3rd of the oven until puffed and golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Once Cake is done baking, cool upside down on a cooling rack or counter if your tube pan has attached ‘legs’. Here is the tube pan I used that has those legs.

Why Do I Cool the Cake Upside Down?

Yes, it’s weird that we would cool this cake upside down, but there is a very good reason! After we painstakingly folded in the dry ingredients and then baked this cake in an ungreased baking pan to get the highest rise possible, the last thing we would want to do is let it cool on the counter just to ‘deflate’. Similar to a soufflé, this angel food cake has the ability to rise high but also fall since its structure is mainly eggs. To prevent this from happening, we cool it upside down. And since we didn’t grease the pan, we know it won’t fall out.

Serve with Desired Toppings

Once Cake is completely cooled, run a sharp knife around the edges to remove it from the pan. You can also run a skinny knife around the center ‘tube’ and remove the cake completely from the cake pan for a gorgeous finished product. Top with powdered sugar and/or any other desired toppings. I cut mine into slices and served it with berries and whipped cream.

Other Angel Food Cake Toppings

  • Keep it Simple With Powdered Sugar
  • Homemade Whipped Cream
  • Fresh Sliced Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries
  • Lemon Curd
  • Strawberry Topping from Strawberry Shortcake
  • Slices Bananas and Kiwi (tropical!)
  • Chocolate or Caramel Sauce Drizzle
whole angel food cake with fresh berries as garnish

Storing an Angel Food Cake

This cake will last up to 48 hours at room temperature as long as it’s gently wrapped with plastic wrap. The longer it sits the more dried out will become. This is par for the course with any cake or cookie. 

Other Cake Recipes to Try

Here are some summer-y favorites my family loves that:

slice of angel food cake with whipped cream and berries

So, there you have it! A homemade, from scratch, DELICIOUS Angel Food Cake Recipe. I hope you become converted to this homemade version and come to love it as much as we did. Have a great day, friends!

Angel Food Cake

Light, dreamy and so much better than store bought, this homemade Angel Food Cake will blow your mind! Made with whipped egg whites, sugar, flour and some flavorings, this is a must make cake recipe for summer.
servings 16 servings
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar*
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 whole egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Equipment

  • 1 tube pan

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. DO NOT GREASE your tube pan, but have it out and ready.
  • Make superfine sugar by blitzing it in a food processor or high powered blender for two minutes. Remove and sift into a large bowl. Divide sugar in half. Set half aside and sift remaining half of sugar together with cake flour and salt four times. Set aside.
  • Bring your eggs to room temperature by leaving out for 2+ hours OR place into a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. Separate egg whites from yolks. Save yolks in the refrigerator for another recipe. Add whites to a clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy.
  • Add in cream of tartar and continue beating. Sprinkle in reserved sugar bit by bit until it’s completely incorporated. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Egg whites are done when soft peaks form (like stiff peaks that don’t quite hold their shape; it will be easier to incorporate the sugar/flour mixture with soft peaks.)
  • Using a rubber scraper, sift about 1/5th of the sugar/flour mixture over the top of the whipped whites and fold in gently. Continue folding the dry ingredients into the egg whites until they are combined.
  • Pour gently into tube pan and even out the top. Bake 30 minutes or until puffed and golden and toothpick comes out clean. Once Cake is done baking, cool upside down on a cooling rack or counter if your tube pan has attached ‘legs’.
  • Once Cake is completely cooled, run a sharp knife around the edges to remove from pan.Cut into slices and serve with berries and whipped cream.

Notes

*You can buy superfine sugar at the grocery store, but feel free to make your own. If you buy superfine sugar, you can skip step 2.

Nutrition

Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 56mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: angel food cake, angel food cake recipe, cake recipe

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