Angel Food Cake

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This easy angel food cake is a must-try. It’s tender and light as air, with the perfect amount of sweetness and perfect to enjoy all year long.

While this may seem like a daunting cake to tackle, it is actually quite simple! And it is oh so worth the effort. Really. You will definitely taste the difference! 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

Store-bought angel food cake can be more like sweet styrofoam. If you truly want to taste a delicious angel food cake, homemade is definitely worth the work! It is moist, sweet, and oh so soft and pillowy. 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.This cake makes a tasty, light treat to WOW at BBQ’s or summer soirees. Probably one of the best recipes for cake, this easy angel food cake is a must-try.

No baking powder/soda? That’s right!  The egg whites are actually the only leavening ingredient used. Use fresh, never frozen egg whites or “egg white cartons”. Be sure there are no yolk particles anywhere or the whites won’t whip up right. 

How to make angel food cake process pic

Egg Whites

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. 

What do 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 omelet. 

  • Fridge: Store egg yolks in an airtight container along with enough water to cover the yolks. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days. Remove the yolk from the water with a slotted spoon before using in a recipe. 
  • Freezer: You can’t just toss a yolk in the freezer. In a small bowl add 4 egg yolks. Mix with 1/8 tsp salt if you’ll be using it in a savory dish. If you’ll be making a sweet dish use 1 ½ tsp white sugar OR 1 ½ tsp corn syrup. Once mixed transfer to a freezer safe container. Label as sweet or savory. Freeze for 6 months to a year. Thaw in the fridge and use as soon as they are thawed. Substitute 1 tbsp yolk mixture with 1 whole egg in a recipe. Do not use in non bake/cook recipes. 
  • Click here for more Egg storage info 

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 1/2 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.

Recipe Notes:

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.

Ungreased Pan. It’s important to use an un-greased pan to bake the cake, so the cake can climb the sides of the pan as it bakes. It also needs to be turned upside down as it cools or it will flatten and deflate. Use your resources to suspend the pan in the air. Some pans have feet that hold the pan up off the counter. You can use the top of a glass coke bottle or wine bottle 

Homemade angel food cake

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 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. 

Angel food cake recipe slice on plate

Topping Ideas + Storing

 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.

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.

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

Recipes with Angel Food Cake:

Angel Food Cake Recipe

5 from 7 votes

This easy angel food cake is a must-try. It's tender and light as air, with the perfect amount of sweetness and perfect to enjoy all year long.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift together 1/2 cup of sugar and the cake flour, and set aside.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Author

Alicia Skousen

Hi! I’m Alicia and I blog at The Baker Upstairs. I am in love with all things food! I love to bake bread, cupcakes, cookies… you name it! When I’m not baking, I am running after my two adorable little girls, working as an RN, knitting, reading, and trying to squeeze in time with my husband every day.

More by Alicia

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Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.