Angel Food Cake

This tender, light as air angel food cake is a must-try! With the perfect amount of sweetness, it’s perfect to enjoy all year long.

While this may seem like a daunting cake to tackle, it is actually quite simple! Try using this delish dish in Angel Food Cake Churro Bites, Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake, and Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Trifle.

Angel food cake with powdered sugar and berries.

Homemade Angel Food Cake

Where did Angel Food Cake get its name?

It seems like the name first appeared in print in 1884 and called Angel Cake. In 1896 the name was updated and called Angel Food Cake. It isn’t hard to determine the reason for the name. Angel Food Cake is notoriously light, fluffy and white, just like angels. 

If you truly want to taste a delicious angel food cake, homemade is definitely worth the work to enjoy this delicious dessert.

We love this moist, sweet, and so soft and pillowy treat. Fortunately, it’s super simple to make at home and perfect for spring and summer festivities!

Vanilla scented Angel Food Cake is the perfect vehicle for juicy berries, lemon curd, or luscious whipped cream! The natural juices of fresh, seasonal berries fill those wonderfully sweet cracks for the best bite.

How to make angel food cake batter.

Egg White 101

The star of this cake are the egg whites. To make sure they behave, follow these tips:

  • The egg whites will need to be at room temperature before mixing. However, the eggs separate better when cold. So separate first, then allow the white to warm up a bit.
  • Any fat oil or grease can make it so the whites will not form stiff peaks.
    • Don’t let ANY yolk sneak into the egg whites. Have a third bowl that you separate the egg over. That way if any yolk doesn’t get removed, then it’s not in the main bowl of whites. 
    • Make sure the bowls are completely free of lingering grease and oil. Using a clean metal or glass bowl helps ensure this. 

Soft Peaks, Not Stiff Peaks: In many recipes when you whip up egg whites you want to form stiff peaks. NOT this time. All you want to make are soft peaks. As the whites begin to fluff up check for stiffness. When you lift the beater out of the whites a peak will form.

A soft peak will “melt” back into the mixture. Soft peaks will continue to expand in the oven causing the cake to rise. A stiff peak will hold the peak shape and means that you have over whipped for this recipe. If baked, the cake will most likely collapse in the oven.

What to do with egg yolks:

Don’t toss the yolk. Even though they are not welcome in this recipe you can save them to use in other recipes. Pastry cream , lemon curd, and Hollandaise Sauce all call for yolks.

You can also mix them with other eggs to make nice creamy scrambled eggs or an omelet. 

Click here for more Egg storage info.

Image of angel food cake batter in pan.

How to Make Angel Food Cake

Pan: Angel food cake is easiest when made in an angel food cake pan or a tube pan. Even though they look similar, stay away from using a bundt pan.

If you do not have the proper pan you can check out this SITE on how to make your own version. Be sure that you do not grease the pan you are using, otherwise the egg whites won’t be able to climb up and cling to the side of the pan. 

PREP. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift together ½ cup of sugar and the cake flour, and set aside.

BATTER. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt until soft peaks form. Add the remaining cup of sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, while beating on high speed, until stiff peaks form. Fold in the flour and sugar mixture gently, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.

BAKE & COOL. Gently scoop the cake batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Run a knife through the batter to remove air bubbles. Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown on top. Turn the pan upside down to cool and allow to cool completely.

SERVE. When ready to serve the cake, run a knife around the edges of the pan to release the cake. Dust with powdered sugar, and top with fresh berries.

Toppings: Stay away from thick frostings. They over power the light flavor and texture of this cake. Instead use glazes or a drizzle of sauce.

Whipped Cream is another great topping or simply dust with powdered sugar. This cake also pairs well with fruits like in this delicious Strawberry Trifle.

Homemade angel food cake straight from the pan.

Removing the Cake

You want to let the cake completely cook while it is in the pan. Also, you’ll want to flip the pan so the cake cools right side up. This can get a bit tricky because you don’t want the exposed cake to be touching the counter. Many angel food cake pans have “little feet” that hold the cake up off the counter as it cools. If your pan doesn’t not have that nifty feature try:

  • Wine or coke bottle: Turn the cake pan upside down so the exposed cake is facing down. The neck of these bottles should fit nicely inside the center hole of the cake pan. 
  • Canned soup: just grab 3-4 cans of soup (or whatever type of canned goods you have). Arrange the cans so the lip around the perimeter of the upside down cake pan can rest on the cans.

Once cool, Use a butter knife or long baking spatula to run around the inner perimeter of the pan to loosen the cake from the sides. Tap the pan to help the cake slide out. 

Cut with a serrated knife. I like to use my long bread knife. 

Can angel food cake be made in a bundt pan? Angel food cake adheres to the pan and once cools must be cut away from the sides in order to remove it. A bundt cake pan is too intricate for the cake to be removed without pieces ripping away due to the pattern of a bundt cake pan.

Angel food cake recipe slice on plate topped with fresh berries.

Recipe Tips + FAQ

You can use angel food cake batter to make cupcakes. Check out how to do that on THIS POST!

When is angel food cake done? Once the edges of the cake start to turn a light golden brown you can check for doneness. First, lightly press the surface of the cake. If it springs back right away it’s done. Second, you can insert a toothpick into the cake.

I suggest testing 2-3 areas because the toothpick can hit an airy part of the cake causing the toothpick to come out clean even though the cake isn’t done. Finally, you can use a food thermometer to check for an internal temperature of 206°F.

How to prevent angel food cake from falling?

  • Sift your flour very well so that the dry ingredients are mixed and sufficiently aerated. You can even slowly sift and fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites to be extra cautious.   
  • The egg whites need to whip properly so they can withstand the weight of the dry ingredients. Room temperature egg whites whip better than cold ones.
  • FOLD the dry ingredients into the egg whites, do not whip, mix or stir. 
  • You must use the ingredients listed and the correct amounts otherwise the structure of the cake will not come out correctly. 
  • Don’t grease the pan otherwise the cake won’t have enough traction to climb the sides. 
  • Don’t open the oven until you’re ready to check for doneness. The temperature change when opening too early can cause the cake to fall.
  • You must place the cake upside down to completely cool before trying to remove it from the pan otherwise the warm sections in the center, that haven’t set yet, can collapse. 
  • Use a bread knife or a serrated knife to saw the cake into slices. Other knives won’t cut through properly and will just squish the cake.

How to store? To store angel food cake, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a Ziploc bag and store at room temp for a few days or in the fridge for up to a week.

How to freeze? To freeze, wrap tightly with foil or place in a freezer-safe bag and keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Homemade Angel food cake recipe topped with powder sugar and fresh berries.

Recipes with Angel Food Cake:

Angel Food Cake Recipe

5 from 8 votes
This tender, light as air angel food cake is a must-try! With the perfect amount of sweetness, it's perfect to enjoy all year long.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 147 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 9 large egg whites about 1 ¼ cups, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar divided
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar and fresh berries for serving

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Sift together ½ cup of sugar and the cake flour, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt until soft peaks form. Add the remaining cup of sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, while beating on high speed, until stiff peaks form. Fold in the flour and sugar mixture gently, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
  • Gently scoop the cake batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Run a knife through the batter to remove air bubbles. Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown on top. Turn the pan upside down to cool and allow to cool completely.
  • When ready to serve the cake, run a knife around the edges of the pan to release the cake. Dust with powdered sugar, and top with fresh berries.

Video

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    This cake turned out incredibly light and airy! It was just perfect with some fresh blackberries and whipped cream!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this angel Food cake recipe. Totally worth the effort to make from scratch Versus buying a cake mix. Thank you gor the amazing recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for all the tips on how to get this to come out perfectly. Also for ideas on what to do with all the yolks so they don’t go to waste.

  4. I just have a question? In the ” how to make” instructions and the Angel Food Cake Recipe instructions you state mix till stiff peaks, but in the mixture NOTES section you mention NOT STIFF peaks only soft peaks that melt back into the batter. That soft peaks allow the cake to continue to rise but if you mix till stiff peaks cake could fall. So I should mix to soft peak point . I’m making it right now so I hope that’s what I should do. I’m thinking it’s a stiff peak typo because most other recipes that require beating egg whites want you to get to the stiff peak stage.

    1. In step 2, you will beat until soft peaks form, then you will add remaining sugar, until stiff peaks form. Hope that helps 🙂