Angel Food Cake

This light & fluffy Angel Food Cake is like a slice of heaven on a plate! It’s delicious all on its own, but absolutely divine topped with sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries or lemon curd!

Angel Food Cake is a classic recipe that is so much more wonderful when it is homemade than just picking up one from the grocery store bakery. The airy sponge crumb is stunningly white and surprisingly easy to pull off for any home baker! For more of our favorite cake recipes, be sure to try this Red Velvet Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and Carrot Cake.

A slice of angel food cake with whipped cream and blackberries.

Angel Food Cake Recipe

This timeless cake is something of an anomaly among its richer, buttercream covered counterparts. There’s no butter, oil, or even egg yolks in the batter and yet it still manages to remain moist and fluffy thanks to plenty of egg whites that are whipped into soft peaks to provide essential lift before adding flour to the batter. You don’t even grease the pan before adding the batter, which is actually detrimental to the height of your angel food cake, which needs a clean pan so it can cling to the sides and climb while it bakes.

Slices of angel food cake with whipped cream and fruit make a wonderful spring or summer dessert. Or slice it up into chunks to throw into a trifle dish with whipped cream, pudding, and fruit for another fun presentation.

Homemade angel food cake is easier to make than you might think! I’ll share all my tips for achieving a billowy, cloud-like angel food cake on your first try!

An angel food cake on a plate with blackberries.

Angel Food Cake Ingredients:

The ingredient list for this cake is surprisingly short. For the best results, make sure all of the ingredients have come to room temperature before making the cake.

  • Flour: Use cake flour for the best results. It will make for a much lighter taste and fluffier texture than regular all-purpose flour.
  • Granulated sugar: This is an essential part of this cake. It gets divided and added at two separate times. First when it is sifted with the flour and again when beating it into the egg whites.
  • Salt: Just a bit will help bring out the flavor.
  • Egg whites: There is no mistake that there are no leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder in this recipe because the egg whites provide all the lift required for the cake to climb to lofty heights.
  • Cream of tartar: This ingredient is important for helping to stabilize the egg whites while they are being beaten. The cake will collapse without it, and I haven’t found a substitute that I like nearly as well.
  • Vanilla and almond extracts: These two work together to provide a simple, sweet flavor that is just right without being overpowering.

Slices of angel food cake on dessert plates with blackberries and forks next to the rest of the cake on a pink plate.

How to Make Angel Food Cake from Scratch:

  1. Separate egg whites from yolks: It’s easiest to separate egg whites from egg yolks when they are cold, but then you will want to make sure they have a chance to come to room temperature for the best volume as you beat them. You can use the yolks to make homemade ice cream, lemon curd, pudding, or other custard-based recipes.
  2. Sift the flour, part of the sugar, and the salt together: Because you are going to be folding the dry ingredients into beaten egg whites, you really need to sift the flour, part of the sugar, and salt together first both to get even distribution and also to lighten them so they mix in more easily.
  3. Beat the egg whites: Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and start whisking with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. After about 1 minute on medium speed, the egg whites will start looking frothy.
  4. Gradually add remaining sugar: Turn the mixer up to medium-high and slowly add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep mixing until all the sugar has been added and nice white soft peaks have started to form. It usually takes around 3-5 minutes of beating to reach soft peaks, which will hold a shape but flop over when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract right at the end.
  5. Fold in 1/3 of the sifted flour mixture a time: Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter from the bottom of the bowl and lift it over the flour mixture on top, repeating this motion while turning the bowl a quarter turn to fold the dry ingredients in. Once you are left with just a few streaks of flour, go ahead and add the next batch. Usually 10-15 strokes is enough to incorporate the flour into the egg whites.
  6. Spread into a clean, ungreased tube pan: If you sprayed your pan with baking spray out of habit, take the time to wash it out before adding the angel food cake batter. It really does need a clean pan so the batter can cling to the sides while it bakes.

Lets Bake a Cake!

  1. Bake at 375 degrees F: Remember not to peek by opening the oven door to see the cake’s progress!
  2. Leave the cake in the pan, turned upside down, to cool completely: The structure of this cake doesn’t set completely until it is completely cool. Turn the cake pan upside down over a wire rack and let it cool for 1-2 hours before running a sharp knife around the inside rim of the pan, then tap the cake pan on the counter a few times to help release the angel food cake.
  3. Slice & serve: A serrated knife works best for cutting through angel food cake.

Folding sifted flour and sugar into egg whites that have been whipped into soft peaks.

Why Do You Turn Angel Food Cake Upside Down?

If you let your angel food cake cool in the pan without turning the pan upside down first, the weight of the cake is likely to result in it collapsing in on itself. By turning the cake pan upside down and cooling the angel food cake over a wire rack, air can circulate underneath the cake to cool it while the cake itself clings to the inside of the pan. The unique structure of this recipe will cause it to set completely as it cools upside down. Then a quick turn of a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it and a few taps will let the cake drop right out and maintain its form.

A tube pan turned upside down over a wire rack.

Can I Make Angel Food Cake In A Bundt Pan?

No, a bundt pan will not work for angel food cake because you will have an almost impossible time getting the cake to come out in one pieces. Angel food cake requires smooth sides that only a tube pan can provide. Tube pans are great to have, but you can hack a tube pan if you aren’t ready to make the investment.

An angel food cake on a pink plate with blackberries on top and forks next to it.

More Favorite Cake Recipes

  • Classic Hummingbird Cake
  • One Bowl Chocolate Cake
  • Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  • Marble Bundt Cake

    Angel Food Cake

    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Cooling Time 2 hours
    Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
    Author Amy Nash
    Servings 12 servings

    Description

    This light & fluffy Angel Food Cake is like a slice of heaven on a plate! It's delicious all on its own, but absolutely divine topped with sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries or lemon curd!


    Course Dessert
    Cuisine American
    Keyword angel food cake

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons cake flour
    • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 12 large egg whites
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

    2. Sift the flour, salt, and 2/3 cup of sugar twice. Set aside.

    3. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed for 1 minute until foamy in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add remaining 1 cup of sugar, a tablespoon at a time, over the course of 1 minute. Continue to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, usually another 3-5 minutes. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract during the last few seconds of beating.

    4. Fold in the sifted flour and sugar mixture, about 1/3 at a time, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl and 10-15 strokes each time. Turn the bowl frequently while mixing until just a few streaks of flour remain. Use 10-20 extra folding strokes after the last addition to make sure everything is evenly combined and no streaks of flour remain, but take care not to deflate the egg whites too much with vigorous stirring.

    5. Spread the angel food cake batter into an ungreased 9- or 10-inch tube pan. Run a knife through the batter to remove air bubbles.

    6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch or 30 to 35 minutes for 10-inch cake, until cake springs back when lightly pressed on top.

    7. Cool in the pan by turning the hot cake pan upside down over a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then loosen from the sides and center tube by running a sharp knife around the edges. You may need to tap the pan on the counter a few times for the cake to release.

    8. Slice with a serrated knife and serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit.


    Nutrition Facts

    Serves: 12

    Calories165kcal (8%)Carbohydrates36g (12%)Protein5g (10%)Fat1g (2%)Saturated Fat1g (5%)Sodium104mg (4%)Potassium116mg (3%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar28g (31%)Calcium4mgIron1mg (6%)

    All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

    Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Amy Nash

Amy is a former lawyer, now stay at home mom, who is the creator of House of Nash Eats where she shares modern comfort cooking and family friendly recipes. She and her husband have two daughters and live in the California Bay Area. Amy enjoys hiking, travel, catching up on her favorite t.v. shows, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts.

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