This angel food cake is the lightest, fluffiest, and cloud-like cake you’ll ever taste. Angel food cake is fat-free and has very little flour so it’s also one of the healthiest cake options. I love having this cake in the summer and topping it with fresh strawberry topping and homemade whipped cream, this is sure to be a new favorite recipe.
You know how most angel food cakes you buy from the store taste kinda rubbery? This is NOT that cake. It’s insanely soft, fluffy, and melts in your mouth. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before.
Angel food cake gets its light and fluffy texture thanks to whipped egg whites and gently folding in the flour. The original Angel food cake recipe originated in the United States and first became popular in the late 19th century. It gained its unique reputation along with its name due to its light and fluffy texture.
ANGEL FOOD CAKE INGREDIENTS
This angel food cake recipe only takes 6 ingredients. There is no oil or fat in this recipe, so it’s considered one of the “healthiest” cakes you can eat!
You may notice that there is no baking powder or rising agents in this recipe. The only thing that creates lift in angel food cake is the egg whites, so be sure to whip them up to be super light and fluffy. All the air is going to give the cake its light and fluffy texture.
There is also no oil, butter or fat in this recipe, making it a little bit dry and spongy. So don’t be shocked when you taste this cake on its own and it tastes like air lol. It’s basically a vessel for strawberry topping, chocolate ganache, or a big scoop of ice cream and fresh berries.
The main ingredient in this angel food cake recipe is egg whites whipped with some sugar to make a soft meringue. A small amount of flour is then folded into the egg whites to make the cake. You can use fresh egg whites carefully separated from the egg yolk or you can use pasteurized egg whites from a box.
If you are using fresh egg whites, remember to not let a speck of egg yolk into your egg whites. Any lingering yolks could stop your meringue from whipping up.
How to separate an egg:
- Set up 3 bowls- 1 for the yolks, 2 to crack the whites into, and 3 for all the egg whites. The reason we have the 2nd and 3rd bowls is if you mess up and accidentally get some yolk in the 2nd bowl, it won’t ruin all of your already separated eggs.
- Crack the egg on a flat surface and gently break it apart with two hands, hold it over the 2nd bowl and slowly move the yolk back and forth between the two eggshells. Be careful to not break the yolk. Once all the white is in the 2nd bowl, add the yolk to the 1st bowl and pour the whites into the 3rd bowl. Repeat until all your eggs are separated.
ANGEL FOOD CAKE STEP-BY-STEP
BEFORE YOU START – For best results, use a food scale to weigh your ingredients. Converting this recipe to cups could lead to recipe failure and wasted ingredients. Read my blog post on how to use a scale for more information.
Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 375º F/190º C and move the oven rack down to the second-lowest height. Make sure you have an angel food cake pan (tube pan) clean and ready to go. DO NOT GREASE IT! I repeat, DO NOT grease your angel food cake pan. We actually want the cake to stick to the sides.
Step 2 – Sift together the flour, sugar, and cornstarch together. Throw away any hard lumps leftover. Sift the flour mixture a second time. You want to sift this twice because we want the flour mixture to be as light and airy as possible.
The cornstarch in this recipe helps to keep the cake super light and fluffy and not too dense or “eggy.”
Step 3 – (Make sure you use a metal bowl for this step, and that the bowl is super clean. Any grease will prevent your egg whites from whipping up. You can even wipe it out with a little bit of white vinegar to be extra cautious.)
Add the egg whites (see above for how to separate), vanilla, salt, and cream of tartar into a metal stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium until your egg whites start to look foamy.
Pro-tip – I prefer to use fresh egg whites for meringue, but you can also use pasteurized egg whites. If you use pasteurized, you MUST also use the cream of tartar to stabilize them.
Step 4 – Once your egg whites look white and foamy, sprinkle in the sugar while mixing on medium speed. Mix on medium-high to soft, firm peaks.
I’m using my Bosch Universal Plus mixer for this recipe, you can use a KitchenAid mixer with a metal bowl or a hand mixer.
Step 5 – When your egg whites are at soft peaks, you will see some lines developing in the surface of the mixture. The meringue should be at soft peaks and keep their shape in the bowl. If you’re using a Bosch mixing bowl, transfer the meringue to a large glass bowl to make folding easier.
Step 6 – Using a small colander, sift about 1/3 cup of the flour mixture on top of the meringue. Carefully fold together using a spatula. When the flour is mostly folded in, sift another 1/3 cup of the flour on top. Sift evenly on top of the surface of the meringue, try to avoid making a big pile of flour in the middle. Repeat until the flour mixture is all folded in.
To fold- sweep the spatula underneath the meringue and gently drag up through the center to fold on top. Be careful to never smash the mixture or mix vigorously, be patient! Watch the video below in the recipe card for a visual.
Step 6 – Pour half the batter into an angel food cake pan. Spread it evenly around the tube pan. Add the rest of the batter and smooth it so it’s flat. Try not to get excess batter on the tube or the sides. This will burn and not be yummy.
Remember DO NOT GREASE your pan! You want the batter to stick to the edges of the pan, this is what keeps angel food cake from falling in on itself.
Step 7 – Run a knife through your batter in circles to remove air bubbles and smooth out the batter.
Step 8 – Bake at 375º F/190º C for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springs back when you touch it. Avoid opening the oven for at least 35 minutes to prevent the cake from falling.
Step 9 – Immediately flip the pan upside down onto a cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely upside down (for about 2 hours), or until the pan is 100% cool to the touch. It’s important to let angel food cake cool upside down so that the cake doesn’t collapse in on itself. I actually let my cake cool upside down overnight at room temperature and it was great!
Step 10 – Once cooled, run a thin, sharp knife around the outside of the cake and the inner tube to release it from the pan.
Step 11 – Place a serving plate on top and flip everything upside down. The cake should release and drop onto the plate. If your pan has a removable bottom, run a knife around the top of the cake to separate the cake from the pan.
Step 12 – Sprinkle a few tablespoons of powdered sugar on top to keep the cake nice and moist.
Step 13 – Top your angel food cake with fresh whipped cream and strawberry topping (recipe below). I like to wait to add the strawberry topping until the cake is served so the syrup doesn’t make the cake messy looking.
The strawberry topping is just fresh strawberries, sugar, and a bit of lemon. It doesn’t require any cooking and is so easy to make. Tastes amazing with homemade whipped cream!
This angel food cake recipe will last for a few days at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for a week. (Make sure to cover it with plastic wrap or keep it in a cake container so it doesn’t dry out.)
Pro-tip – Use a serrated knife when slicing this cake for even pieces.
WHAT IS AN ANGEL FOOD CAKE PAN?
An angel food cake pan (aka a tube pan) is specially designed for this cake. The large tube in the center helps bring some of the heat up through the middle of the cake, baking it faster and more evenly.
My pan has a tube that’s longer than the sides of the pan, so when I cool it upside down, it rests on the tube and not my cake.
If you can get a pan that has “feet” on the sides, that would work even better.
CAN I USE ANOTHER TYPE OF PAN?
Bundt Cake Pans – These will not work for angel food cake because the intricate design will not allow the cake to release. Since we’re not using any pan release, we have to cut the cake away from the sides and that’s not possible with a bundt cake pan.
Loaf Pans – A 9″ x 5″ loaf pan can work, just make sure to not grease this either. When it comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down and rest the handles on jars, cans or cups on top of a cooling rack. Let it cool until the pan is completely cool (about 2 hours).
Cake Pans – You can bake this angel food cake recipe in a standard cake pan. Just remember do not grease the pan. You can put a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan to help it release but don’t put any on the sides. Only fill the pans halfway to allow for rising.
WHY DID MY CAKE SHRINK?
After your angel food cake is done baking, it needs to cool completely upside down to set the structure of the cake. If you turn it over then the cake will collapse in on itself as it cools.
Also, make sure that you do not over-whip your egg whites. They should be at nice soft peaks. Over-whipping your eggs can cause your cake to shrink.
DO I NEED TO ADD CREAM OF TARTAR?
If you’re using pasteurized egg whites, yes. If you’re using fresh egg whites… probably. Cream of tartar is basically citrus that adds stabilization to the egg whites and helps prevent your meringue from collapsing. So if you’re using fresh eggs and really don’t want to use it, you can leave it out. But it’s going to help your meringue stay nice as strong, so I like to use it.
Want more recipes? Check these out!
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Angel Food Cake With Strawberries And Whipped Cream
Angel Food Cake Recipe
- 12 ounces egg whites (fresh or pastuerized)
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces sugar first quantity
- 6 ounces sugar second quantity
- 4 ounces cake flour
- 1 ounce cornstarch
- 2 cups fresh strawberries trimmed and quartered
- 2 ounces sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1 ounce powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin I use KNOX brand
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tablespoon cold Water
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Whisk Attachment
Angel Food Cake Recipe
- IMPORTANT: Ensure that there are zero traces of egg yolk in the egg whites and make sure your bowl, whisk and all tools are completely grease-free and clean or the egg whites may not whip up properly.
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Its important that the oven is fully pre-heated before you put the cake in the oven which can take 30 minutes.
- Sift together the first quantity of sugar, flour, and cornstarch and set aside
- Place your egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment attached. Whip on medium for 30 seconds until they start to get foamy.
- Reduce the speed to low and add in your cream of tartar, salt and vanilla
- Continue mixing on low and begin sprinkling in the second quantity of sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the mixture soft but firm peaks. They should look glossy and moist and the peaks should gently fold over when you scoop them.
- Begin sifting the flour mixture into the egg mixture about 1/3 cup at a time. Gently fold the flour into the egg white mixture with a spatula. Refer to the video to see how to fold properly. The idea is to avoid knocking any air out of the meringue while folding to keep the batter very fluffy.
- Repeat this folding process until all of the flour mixturehas been folded into the egg white mixture.
- Pour half your angel food cake batter into an ungreased tube pan (angel food cake pan). Smooth the top with a spoon so the batter is level. Add the rest of the batter and smooth with a spoon. Adding the batter in two parts avoids getting air pockets.
- Bake your angel food cake in the oven on the center rack for 40-45 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown and the cake springs back when you touch it.
- Take the cake out of the oven and turn it upside down. Some tube pans have little feet that hold the pan upside down or the center tube might just be a little taller than the sides so there is a gap. If your pan doesn't have these options you can cool the pan upside down on a wine bottle to keep it elevated.
- Let your angel food cake cool COMPLETELY upside down to prevent the cake from sinking in the pan. Once the pan is completely cool, you can slide a butter knife between the cake and the pan to detach cake. If your pan has a removealbe bottom you can push it out now or just give the cake a couple of gentle shakes to get the cake to come out.
- I like to dust the top of my angel food cake with some powdered sugar and add some stabilized whipped cream and fresh strawberries but its totally optional!
- This cake will last for days in the fridge without drying out.
- Combine the strawberries, sugar, zest, and lemon juice together in a bowl and set aside while the angel food cake is cooling. The sugar will dissolve over time and create a delicious syrup!
- Add the gelatin to the cold water and let it absorb for 5 minutes.
- Melt the gelatin for 10 seconds in the microwave until the gelatin granules dissolve and the mixture is clear.
- Place your cold whipping cream into the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment attached.
- Begin mixing on medium speed until you start to see lines forming in the surface of the whipped cream. Add in your powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add the tsp of heavy cream to the gelatin. If your gelatin is too thick, re-heat for 5 seconds. It should be liquid.
- While mixing on low, drizzle the gelatin into the whipping cream and mix until you reach firm but soft peaks. Do not over-mix.
Decorating The Angel Food Cake
- Top your cooled angel food cake with whipped cream with a spoon
- Add your strawberries after you cut the cake and put it on the plate to avoid the syrup creating a big mess.
- BEFORE YOU START – For best results, use a food scale to weigh your ingredients. Converting this recipe to cups could lead to failure. Read my blog post on how to use a scale for more information.
- I'm using my Bosch Universal Plus mixer for this recipe, you can use a KitchenAid mixer with a metal bowl or a hand mixer.
- There is no baking powder or rising ingredient in this recipe. The only thing that creates lift is the egg whites, so be sure to whip them up to be super light and fluffy. All the air is going to give the cake its lift!
- Make sure you use a metal bowl to make the meringue, and that the bowl is super clean. Any grease will prevent your egg whites from whipping up. You can even wipe it out with a little bit of white vinegar to be extra cautious.
- Remember to not let a speck of egg yolk into your egg whites. Any lingering yolks could stop your meringue from whipping up.
- You can use pasteurized egg whites instead of fresh. If you use pasteurized, you MUST also use cream of tartar to help stabilize.
- The cornstarch in this recipe helps to keep the cake super light and fluffy and not too dense or "eggy."
- When folding your meringue and flour together, sweep underneath the meringue with a spatula and gently drag up through the center to fold on top. Be careful to never smash or mix vigorously, be patient!
- DO NOT GREASE YOUR PAN! Angel food cake cools upside down, so it actually needs to stick to the sides of the pan. This ensures that the cake doesn’t collapse in on itself while cooling.
- A tube pan is best to use for angel food cake. The large tube in the center helps bring some of the heat up through the middle of the cake, baking it faster and more evenly. You cannot use a bundt cake pan, but you can use a 9”x5” if needed.