When Chelsea said her favorite cake was Angel Food Cake because of its spongy texture, I cringed. Sponginess is exactly why this cake falls at the bottom of my favorite cake list. But mostly I cringed because I hadn’t baked a homemade Angel Food Cake in over thirty years. And I tend to get a tad too worked up about birthday cakes in general, fretting over which recipe is the best and obsessing over which type and ratio of ingredients will result in the absolute perfect cake.
Should I use 12 egg whites or 18? Cake or all-purpose flour? Vanilla or almond extract? Or both? Finally, I decided on a blend of three really good recipes.
Chelsea proclaimed the cake “perfect” and “the best texture ever.” I couldn’t have been happier. The cake was easier to make than I expected, too.
Here’s the cake plus a photo of Chelsea with David – they are the wonderful parents of Elijah, who is still too young to enjoy Angel Food Cake!
Ingredient Tip: Cake flour usually comes in a box and is located in the baking/spice aisle. Swans Down and Softasilk are the two most popular brands. Substitute regular all-purpose flour for cake flour in any recipe. Simply use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for 1 cup cake flour.
Nutrition Tip: Angel Food Cake is fat free. Enjoy with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, plums, apricots or any fresh fruit for a nutrient-rich boost.
Equipment Tip: You’ll need a good flour sifter and 10-inch tube pan, preferably with a removable bottom for easier cake removal.
Angel Food Cake
1¼ cups sifted cake flour (sift first, then measure)
1 ½ cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ cups egg whites, room temperature (about 12 large egg whites)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
Place oven rack is in the lowest part of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Sift flour and ¾ cup sugar together four times; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and extracts. Whisk on medium speed until egg whites hold soft peaks. Add the remaining ¾ cup plus 5 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted, about 3 minutes. Sift a fourth of the flour mixture evenly over the egg mixture, then fold in gently with rubber spatula until almost incorporated (do not stir or mix). Repeat flour folding three more times until all flour is incorporated.
Gently pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. With a thin spatula or knife, cut through lightly batter to eliminate any large air pockets. Smooth top gently.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or only until cake is golden brown and a long wooden skewer inserted halfway between the inner and outer walls of the pan comes out dry.
Cool the cake upside down for about 2 to 3 hours on a bottle, such as an oil, soda or wine bottle. Once cake is completely cooled, loosen it from sides of pan with a long butter knife or spatula carefully. Invert on serving plate. Slice cake with serrated knife lightly. Store cake in airtight container.