Is it possible to have a sweet delight that feels like a dream with a thin, fluffy sponge melting on your tongue more quickly than someone can blink? You bet it is! More importantly, it won’t wreck havoc in your diet, and its name is Angel Food Cake.
- 1 What is Angel Food Cake?
- 2 What is Angel Food Cake made of?
- 3 Possible Variations
- 4 How to Make Angel Food Cake?
- 5 Expert Tips for Angel Cake
- 6 FAQs about Angel Food Cake
- 7 More Dessert Recipes for you
- 8 Angel Food Cake Recipe
What is Angel Food Cake?
If the word ‘angel’ makes you think of fluffy white wings and clouds, then yes, my friend, your imagination is doing a brilliant job! This buddy belongs to the category of sponge cakes consisting of egg albumen, no yolk.
The cake originated in the United States and appeared in The Confectioners’ Journal in April 1883. The very next year, the recipe was included in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, marking its first time to be published as an issue:
Angel Cake – One cup of flour, measured after one sifting, and then mixed with one teaspoonful of cream of tartar and sifted four times. Beat the whites of eleven eggs, with a wire beater or perforated spoon, until stiff and flaky. Add one cup and a half of fine granulated sugar, and beat again; add one teaspoon of vanilla or almond, then mix in flour quickly and lightly. Line the bottom and funnel of a cake pan with paper not greased, pour in the mixture, and bake for about forty minutes. When done, loosen the cake around the edge, and turn out at once. Some persons have been more successful with this cake by mixing the sugar with the flour and cream of tartar and adding all at once to the beaten egg.
It attracted cooking lovers by its uniqueness compared to other cakes, which mostly require whole eggs and vegetable oils. Angel Food Cake has little to no fat and thus gains more and more recognition nowadays when dieting is a lifestyle. Grab any low-fat cookbook, and you will likely find this treat at least once.
You will find the ingredient list below shorter than any other cake recipe, but the instructions are the opposite.
What is Angel Food Cake made of?
- Egg white. It’s the main leavening agent for our recipe. When you whip the egg whites, you will trap air bubbles in the liquid albumen, which will expand under the effect of heat while the protein particles remain bound to them, forming a foam structure. Therefore, the foaming properties of the whites are essential – over-foamed, it will lack elasticity and fail to stretch; under-foamed, the volume and texture of the cake will be dissatisfying.
- Cream of tartar. It stabilizes the structure mentioned above by lowering the pH to the isoelectric point of the foaming properties. The electrostatic repulsion between the molecules will be reduced and help to keep them together, increasing the viscosity and creating protein films. As long as you don’t let the air permeate these films, the structure will remain stable.
- Sugar. We will whisk some of the sugar with egg whites to enhance the stability and sift the rest with flour to form a light batter.
- Flour. While many food bloggers would suggest only cake flour for a fine texture, I can assure you the common all-purpose flour results in a great outcome too. What makes me lean more towards all-purpose flour is the taste, for it is too vague to affect the scent of vanilla.
- Vanilla extract. It’s the main source of fragrance and flavor in our recipe.
- A long time ago, people used lemon juice to maintain the stiffness of the beaten egg whites.
- Since the flavor is borderline basic, you might as well add vanilla or citrus extracts to the mixture.
- Are you a chocolate lover? Replace a bit of the flour with cocoa powder for a chocolate angel food cake.
- Try cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg for a spice cake.
- The decoration varies as well. We can top each slice with a whipped cream flower, a scoop of ice cream, chocolate drizzles, or – most brilliantly – a dollop of custard made from the unused yolks.
How to Make Angel Food Cake?
1. Preheat the oven to the baking temperature.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract. Slowly add 30g sugar in the process.
3. Toss the sifted flour with the rest of the sugar and gently mix them with the fluffy cream obtained previously.
4. Mold the batter and bake the angel food cake at 180oC in 35 minutes.
5. Remove the cake from the oven and divide it into equal slices, decorate them with your favorite flavors, and enjoy!
Expert Tips for Angel Cake
- Make sure none of the yolks breaks and mingles with the whites. Egg yolks reduce the whipping ability, even a small amount of it can give you an unwanted result.
- DON’T grease the baking pan. Anything with non-stick properties is a potential inhibitor against the adherence of the dough to the pan.
- Many recipes advise the users to sift flour and sugar four times at least before folding. It sounds a bit extra, but the cloud-like texture is guaranteed.
- Keep the mixer at medium speed. Low speed won’t whip the whites enough to contain more air while high speed will give you a dense cake.
- There is a specialty cutter for Angel Food cakes, which helps you slice through the spongy texture without squishing it.
FAQs about Angel Food Cake
Why should I preheat the oven?
This question is a real FAQ unless you are a serious baker. Most doughs and batters need a temperature push at the beginning for the rise or the browning, and ovens need some time to settle at the right heat. Insufficient heat might give you an undercooked dish, how dissatisfying would it be?
Can I make this cake with a tube pan?
It’s imperative for me, yes. The tube pans have the specs required for a perfect angel cake, even the little feet that are convenient for cooling.
Is an angel food cake gluten-free?
Yes, the egg whites are the only leavening agent in the recipe, no baking powder or baking soda is needed. For additional information, angel cakes are oil-free and dairy-free as well.
Does pre-separated egg whites work?
Forget about those store-bought cartons of egg whites right away if you want the best angel cake! They won’t whip up well, and you won’t get the signature texture in your final product.
How to tell when the angel cake is done?
If you trust your eyes, turn off the oven when the cake becomes golden brown. Another test method is pressing the surface lightly and seeing if it springs back to the original state. When there is an indent, prolong the baking step a little.
Can I store angel food cakes?
We can prepare the cake one day ahead and cover tightly for storing at room temperature. Technically, a frozen cake can last up to 3 months, but I’m not keen on keeping my food that way.
More Dessert Recipes for you
For a detailed instruction to make an angel food cake, please watch till the end of the video below!Print
Angel Food Cake Recipe
Since I don’t like dry angel cakes at all, I used to believe there always must be a generous amount of sauce for every slice, but this recipe is perfect!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Category: How to bake
- Method: Baking
- 4 egg whites
- 3g cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 100g sugar (granulated)
- 70g flour (all-purpose, unbleached)
- Whipped cream & chocolate sauce for decoration
Step 1: Preparation
- Preheat the oven to 160oC (or 350oF) and move onto the next steps while it’s heating up.
- Crack the eggshell and split it in half, transferring the yolk back and forth between the shell halves until you have the white separated.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a mixer to whisk egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla extract. The mixture will sponge quickly, and you will toss in 30g sugar as soon as it starts foaming. We need the medium peaks that stand but droop slightly.
- Sift the flour and the remaining sugar several times before adding them to the cloudy cream bits by bits. Mix them up gently so you won’t ruin the texture.
Step 2: Molding & Baking
- Line your baking pan with wax paper and pour the batter into the mold, grazing the surface for a smooth top.
- Bake the cake for 35 minutes at 180oC and let it cool for at least 1 hour before carefully removing it from the pot.
- Use a special cutter or a very sharp knife to saw through the foamy structure.
- In this angel food cake recipe, I want to design a simple and elegant appearance, therefore I top each serving with a cream spiral and finish it up with chocolate drizzle.
- Cold eggs are easier to separate. You can let the white drip into a small container and make sure there is no yolk in it before dumping it into your mixing bowl.
- Ensure the utensils and tools you use are clean and oil-free. Oil can easily squishy the desired structure.
- Don’t add the flour mixture all at once, or you will deflate the sponge and end up with a dense cake.
- When you leave the pan to cool down, put it upside down to prevent the gravity from dragging the foamy frame.
- If the exterior browns too much and too quickly, don’t freak out! Let’s place an oven rack and a foil sheet above the cake without letting them touch it (or it will stick and burn!).
- The nutrition data (nutrients and calories in a serving) below is for the cake only, the toppings not included.
- Serving Size: Slices
- Calories: 120kcal
- Sugar: 17g
- Sodium: 23mg
- Fat: 0.2g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 26.1g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 3.6g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
After trying the recipe, you will see it’s not difficult as it seems at first, the tricky steps are for a unique dessert that can’t be mistaken for any other cake. Angel Food Cake is healthy, beautiful, delicious, and I can’t find any reason for it to not have a place in your cookbook! If you want more irresistible treats like this delivered to your personal mailbox, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel and turn on the notifications!