Best Angel Food Cake

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You can make the Best Angel Food Cake ever with just six ingredients! This cake is light, airy and SO much better than any store-bought version! Follow my recipe and tips to get the ultimate Angel Food Cake!

Angel Food Cake Collage

The Best Angel Food Cake Recipe

This cake is one of the lightest cakes you’ll ever eat. And since it doesn’t use any butter, sour cream or several other typical cake ingredients, this cake is low in fat too! I actually love using it in trifles as a way to lighten them up. One of the yummiest kinds of cake!

Angel Food Cake can seem a little intimidating, but it’s actually super simple and quick to make. And if you’ve never actually made it, you are seriously missing out! Store-bought versions will certainly do the job, but if you truly want to taste a delicious Angel Food Cake, you must try this homemade version! So light, so airy and SO much delicious flavor!

Angel Food Cake Ingredients

With just a few ingredients in an angel food cake, you want to be sure you use the correct ones and follow steps correct. Let’s chat about the ingredients first.

Granulated Sugar – Just regular granulated white sugar is all you need for this recipe. Part of it is sifted together with the flour to make sure it’s light and will incorporate into the batter well. The other part is added into the egg whites during whipping, whip helps with their stability.

Flour – This is one place that I’m going to deviate from the norm a little with this cake. While most would tell you that you should use cake flour and only cake flour, I tested this cake several times with all purpose flour and cake flour and it works out perfectly either way. The difference is in taste and texture. Cake flour has a very distinct flavor to it that always comes through when it’s used in cakes. It also lends a tighter crumb. All purpose flour doesn’t have a flavor (in my opinion) and gives a looser crumb. Either flour will work, it just depends on your preference. To be honest, my taste testers and I preferred the all purpose flour. That said, I wouldn’t turn either away. Both are SO good!

Salt – For flavor. Always.

Angel Food Cake with a couple slices cut outslice of cake

Egg whites – This cake doesn’t use any leavening agents to help it rise. All the rise comes from the air whipped into the egg whites, so it’s a super important step. You want to make sure to use fresh egg whites that are 100% free of any egg yolk. Any yolk that is left in the whites can affect their ability to whip correctly. It’s best to separate the whites into a separate bowl before adding them in with the rest of the whites. That way you don’t waste all of the whites if some of the yolk makes its way into one egg white. You may also want to wipe down your bowl and utensils with lemon juice to make sure they are free of any grease, which can also affect the whipping of the egg whites.

You’ll also want the egg whites to be at room temperature for whipping, so that they whip well. Separating whites and yolks is easiest when eggs are cold, so I recommend separating them when cold, then letting the whites come to room temperature.

Cream of tartar – This is an acid and helps stabilize the egg whites when they are whipped. Since most of the volume and structure of the cake comes from these egg whites, you’re not going to want to take the risk of substituting this ingredient.

Vanilla extract – For flavor, of course.

How to Make The Best Angel Food Cake

To make an angel food cake, you’ll want to have an ungreased tube pan to bake it in. Yes, you read that right – ungreased. The cake needs to stick to the sides of the pan as it rises, so greasing it will hurt the rise of your cake.

The first thing you’ll want to do is sift half of your sugar with the flour and salt and repeat that five times. Not a hard process, but it takes a few minutes. Doing this ensures that our flour and salt are light, light, light and that they’ll incorporate easily into our whipped egg whites later. You are just going to fold them into the whites, not beat them, so we don’t want lumps to form.

Next, you’ll add your egg whites to a mixer bowl and whip them on low speed until they start to get frothy. Add the vanilla extract and cream of tarter, then increase the speed to medium and keep whipping. As you’re whipping, add about one tablespoon of sugar at a time, waiting 5-10 seconds between each addition so that it incorporates well. Adding the sugar slowly (and after the whites get frothy) ensures you get the best volume and smoothest texture with your egg whites.

Full Angel Food Cake overhead photocake with a bite out

Increase the whipping speed to medium high after all the sugar has been added and whip until you get stiff peaks. Remember – all the leaving comes from the whipped egg whites, so we want to add plenty of air and volume. Just be sure to not over whip the egg whites. If they are over whipped, they won’t really even form a peak anymore, they’ll just clump together. Over whipped egg whites can give you a dense cake, so keep an eye on them once they start getting to soft peaks.

After the egg whites are whipped, you’ll add the flour and sugar mixture in four parts. Add one part at a time and gently fold it into the egg whites.

Add the batter to the tube pan and run a knife through the batter to break up any air bubbles. I like to run it around the outside wall and inside wall of the pan as well. Air bubbles that sit against the sides of the pan can give you little air pockets on the outside once baked.

Time to bake it!

Upside down cooling

This may seem strange and you totally might think your cake is going to fall flat on the counter, but as long as you didn’t grease your pan, it’ll stay put. Immediately after taking the cake out of the oven, turn it upside down to cool. This step helps the cake not deflate while it cools.

Your tube pan should have little feet to turn it over onto, but if not, you can use cans or something for it to sit on.

Once it’s cooled, run a knife around the outer and inner walls of the pan to loosen it and turn it out onto a serving plate. Your Angel Food Cake is ready to go! This cake is light, airy, spongey and amazingly tasty!

Angel Food Cake on a cake standclose up of Angel Food Cake slice

How to Serve Your Cake

Angel Food Cake is amazing just on it’s own, but you could also serve it with some fresh fruit or toppings. You can also use it in trifles. Here are a few recipes to try:

Lemon Curd
Whipped Cream
Strawberry Whipped Cream
Chocolate Ganache
Triple Berry Trifle
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifles
Easy Salted Caramel Sauce
Homemade Caramel Sauce
Berry Angel Food Cake Roll

And if you’d like to make it in a 9×13 pan, check out this version.

SHOP THE RECIPE

 

Best Angel Food Cake

You can make the Best Angel Food Cake ever with just six ingredients! This cake is light, airy and SO much better than any store-bought version! Follow my recipe and tips to get the ultimate Angel Food Cake!

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 70 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

3/4 cup – 1 cup (98g-130g) cake flour OR all purpose flour*
1 3/4 cups (362g) sugar, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites, room temperature (about 1012 large egg whites)*
1 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and have an ungreased tube pan.
2. Combine half of the sugar, flour and salt and sift them together 5 times. Set aside.
3. Whip egg whites with a mixer on low speed until they get frothy, then add the cream of tartar and vanilla extract.
4. Increase speed to medium and continue whipping, adding remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Wait 5-10 seconds between each addition to give time for the sugar to incorporate.
5. Increase to medium-high speed and whip until it reaches stiff peaks.
6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg whites 1/4 cup at a time. Sift the flour mixture again as you add it to the egg whites. Repeat until all the flour mixture has been added.
7. Pour the batter into the ungreased pan and smooth evenly, then run a knife through the batter to break up any air bubbles. I like to run it around the outside wall and inside wall of the pan as well. Air bubbles that sit against the sides of the pan can give it little air pockets on the edges once baked.
8. Bake until lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 28-30 minutes.
9. Immediately after removing from the oven, turn the cake upside down to cool. Your tube pan should have little feet to rest on white it cools. Allow it to cool for about an 1 hour.
10. Once cooled, turn it right side up and run a knife or spatula along the outside and inside walls of the pan to loosen it. Invert the cake onto a serving plate.
11. Slice the cake with a serrated knife and use a careful sawing motion so that you don’t smash the cake. Serve as is or with fresh fruit, whipped cream or other toppings. Cake is best when stored at room temperature in an air tight container for 3-4 days.

Notes

While most would tell you that you should use cake flour and only cake flour for angel food cake, I tested this cake several times with all purpose flour and cake flour and it works out perfectly either way. The difference is in taste and texture. Cake flour has a very distinct flavor to it that always comes through when it’s used in cakes. It also lends a tighter crumb. All purpose flour doesn’t have a flavor (in my opinion) and gives a looser crumb. Either flour will work, it just depends on your preference. As for the amount of flour, if you’re serving the cake simply as a cake, I would use 3/4 cup of flour. It’s especially light that way. But if you’re going to use the angel food cake in something like a trifle and need it to be a little more substantial, then go with 1 cup.

The egg whites need to be cracked into and whipped in a completely grease free bowl. Do not use plastic bowls, which tend to hold onto grease. You might even want to wipe down your bowl and utensils with lemon juice before you get started. You also don’t want any egg yolks in your whites. I suggest separating the whites in a separate bowl, then adding them to the rest so that if any yolk accidentally makes into one white, you don’t ruin all of them.

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