Angel food cake is one of those things that you either love or hate. I happen to love it! When I was a kid, our neighbor who we lovingly called Grandma, would make me an angel food cake every year for my birthday. I wanted it super simple. Just plain with some berries on the side. No flat icing or powdered sugar or whipped cream.
This light and airy cake gets its texture from a large volume of egg whites that are whipped to soft peaks. Sugar and cake flour are folded in at the end to keep the batter from losing volume. The best part of an angel food cake is the outside. The sugar crystalizes and the top (which is inverted and becomes the bottom) is sweet and crunchy. The inside is light and fluffy.
Use superfine sugar and cake flour when making this cake. When whipping the egg whites, only whip to medium peaks. Over whipping can add too much air to the whites and cause the cake to deflate while baking. Gently fold in the dry ingredients just until combined. Then, pour into an ungreased 16-cup tube pan.
Sometimes angel food cake can be difficult to tell when it’s completely baked. Use a cake tester to insert at least mid-way through the cake. If it comes out clean, it should be finished. Also, make sure the top is a nice brown. If it’s too pale, it’s probably not fully baked. Mine comes out perfectly after 32 minutes in my oven, but it can take up to 37 minutes depending on the oven.
After removing from the oven, the pan needs to be inverted while cooling. A lot of people like to place the center of the tube pan over an empty bottle filled with weights. My tube pan comes with 3 “tips” like this one, so I just place a cooling rack on my counter with plenty of air space below, and then I balance the tips in the holes of the cooling rack.
Once completely cooled, slide a sharp knife around the edges of the pan and push out the bottom. Now, slide the sharp knife between the bottom of the cake and the bottom of the pan. Finally, slide the knife around the cake near the center of the tube. The cake should now pull right out.
Toppings for Angel Food Cake
There are many ways to finish an angel food cake. I like mine plain Jane, but you could dust with powdered sugar, add your favorite berries to the top, or pour a thin layer of flat icing made with powdered sugar and milk over the top. You can also fill the center with food safe flowers.
Heavenly Angel Food CakeCourse: DessertDifficulty: Easy
Egg Whites 390g
(about 13 egg whites)
(1 1/2 cups)
Cake Flour 100g
Cream of Tartar 1 1/2 tsp
Vanilla 2 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cake flour, salt and half of the sugar.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until they turn foamy. This will take about a minute.
- Gradually beat in the remaining half of the sugar and continue whipping until medium-stiff peaks form.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the meringue and finish gently folding by hand.
- Pour the mixture into the tube pan. Smooth the surface with the spatula. Then, run a knife through the batter to help remove air pockets.
- Bake for 32-37 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Turn upside down either on a weighted glass bottle or a cooling rack. Cool completely.
- Run a sharp knife around the edges to remove the outer pan. Then, run the knife between the cake and the bottom part of the pan, and around the center tube. It should release easily.
- Use superfine sugar for this recipe.
- Angel food cake keeps at room temperature, covered, for 4-5 days.
- Cut with a sharp serrated knife.
- I use carton egg whites, but every once in awhile those don’t whip up the way fresh eggs do. If that happens, you’ll need to start over with fresh whites or a new carton of egg whites.