Angel food cake has previously been filed away in my brain under “too intimidating”, along with croissants and bagels. I never even thought about attempting it. Which is crazy, because I have baked a lot of super tricky things and most of the time everything turns out wonderfully. Still, angel food seemed elusive.
Until recently, when I found myself with a ridiculous amount of egg whites in my fridge. We’re talking, two dozen at least. Thanks to pudding and ice creams, they’ve been building up. And knowing enough about angel food cake to know that they require a ridiculous amount of egg whites, I gave in and let it happen.
And I fell in love.
It was really quite simple actually, just some sifting, whipping, and folding. If you’ve worked with meringue before, you can totally do this.
I may have squealed a bit when I pulled the cake from the oven and it looked just as it should. A few hours later when I had that first bite my suspicions were confirmed— success! Light, subtly sweet, and spongy.
I served it simply, with strawberries I had picked up from the farmer’s market that morning. They were ripe and juicy, the perfect topping for a light cake. You could also add whipped cream, a simple glaze, or serve it with a scoop of ice cream.
I think it’s time I try the rest of those “intimidating” recipes, who knows what else I’ve been missing out on. Homemade angel food cake, welcome to my life. You’re going to fit in just fine.
Cooling Angel Food Cake Upside Down
Angel food cake has much less flour than a regular cake. Its rise is created by the egg whites and until it cools, its structure is not set. Allowing it to cool upside down ensures it doesn’t collapse. Many angel food cake pans come with feet around the edges for this very purpose. However, inverting the center ring onto the neck of a bottle will also work.
A classic cake made from whipped egg whites. Light and spongy, it's perfect topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit or served with ice cream.
- 1 cup cake flour (113 grams)
- 1 2/3 cup (333 grams) sugar
- 1 3/4 cup egg whites, from about 13 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Strawberries for serving, optional
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Sift the flour 3 times, then add 2/3 cup of the sugar and sift 1 more time.
- Beat the eggs until frothy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and beat till they just begin to form soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar 2 tablespoons at a time and beat until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the vanilla.
- Sift the flour mixture over the whipped egg whites in 4 additions, folding in each addition by hand until just incorporated.
- Spoon into an ungreased 10 x 4 inch tube pan. Rap on a hard surface a few times to release any bubbles. Bake until spongy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours.
- If the pan has feet, invert it onto a flat surface. Otherwise, invert over the neck of a bottle. Let cool 2 hours. Use a thin knife to cut around the edges and release the cake.
Note: The cake can be made one day ahead. Store in the pan uncovered at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook.