If homemade Angel Food Cake has always seemed too intimidating to DIY, this easy cake recipe will convince you otherwise. Learn how to bake the lightest Angel Food Cake from scratch with my foolproof method.

Angel food cake with fresh berries on top.
Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Angel Food Cake Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Cake flour: Cake flour is very finely milled, bleached flour with a lower protein content (about 8%) than all-purpose flour. Making baked goods with cake flour gives them a soft, tender texture and an excellent crumb. If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a cake flour substitute: Begin with 1 level cup of all-purpose flour. Then remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and add 2 tablespoons of either cornstarch or arrowroot powder to the flour. Sift together until well blended. (Note: using arrowroot powder may make the cake bake quicker, so keep an eye on the oven.)
  • Egg whites: You can use frozen egg whites that you’ve saved up from other recipes, or crack them up (save the yolks for Tiramisu, Flourless Chocolate Cake, or Hollandaise Sauce). So the whites whip up nice and fluffy, the “room temperature” note is important. Leave the eggs out on the counter for about an hour before proceeding with the recipe, or place them in a bowl of warm water to speed the process up a bit.
  • Almond extract: I adore the rich, nutty flavor this adds, but another extract such as strawberry, coconut, or lemon would also be lovely.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Set aside an un-greased tube pan (9 ½ inch or 10 inch, 12 cup capacity) with a removable bottom. In a food processor or blender, pulse the sugar until powdery and fine. Remove 1 cup and set aside, leaving the rest in the food processor. Add the flour and salt to the food processor and pulse until mixture is aerated and light, about 5 to 10 pulses.  
Sugar and flour being blitzed in a food processor.
  1. In a standing mixer fit with the whisk attachment or with an electric mixer by hand, on low-speed beat egg whites and cream of tartar until broken up and beginning to froth, about 1 minute.
Egg whites whisked until soft in a mixing bowl.
  1. Increase the speed to medium. Slowly add the reserved 1 cup of sugar and beat until whites are glossy and forming very soft peaks, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and almond extract and beat just until incorporated.
Egg whites and sugar beaten until glossy peaks form.
  1. Carefully fold in sifted flour and sugar mixture into the egg whites using a large spatula. Gently scrape batter into pan, smooth the top, and give pan a couple of gentle shakes on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
  1. Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly, about 40 minutes. Remove the Angel Food Cake from the oven. If cake pan has feet, invert pan onto them. If not, invert pan over the neck of a bottle so that air can circulate all around it. Allow to cool completely, about 2 to 3 hours.
Angel food cake cooling on a bottle.
  1. To un-mold, run a knife or thin spatula around edges, being careful not to dislodge the golden crust. Pull the cake out of pan and cut the same way around removable bottom under the cake to release. Cool the cake completely, bottom side up. When completely cold, cut slices by sawing gently with a serrated knife or pulling with a taut thread through the cake.
Angel food cake with fresh berries on top.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: One recipe makes one 9-inch cake, enough to feed 12 people.
  • Make ahead: Bake the cake up to one day ahead. Un-mold bottom side up and wrap in plastic wrap to keep it moist.
  • Freezer: Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks (it may compress somewhat).
  • Plan for drips: Place a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet on the rack under the rack where you plan to bake the cake. This will catch any drips from a misaligned angel food cake pan and help keep your oven clean.
  • Don’t grease your cake pan: It sounds counterintuitive, but Angel Food Cake batter needs a bit of grip so it can climb up the pan and get all cloud-like; it won’t rise as well otherwise.
  • Visually check for doneness: Instead of checking for doneness by using a toothpick or skewer as you might with other cakes or brownie recipes, look for a toasty brown, crackled top that springs back when pressed firmly.
Slices of angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Favorite toppings for angel food cake

Angel food cake with fresh berries on top.

Angel Food Cake

If homemade Angel Food Cake has always seemed too intimidating to DIY, this easy cake recipe will convince you otherwise. Learn how to bake the lightest Angel Food Cake from scratch with my foolproof method.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 170

Ingredients 

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour (see note 1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large egg whites at room temperature (12 ounces, see note 2)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (see note 3)
  • Fresh berries whipped cream, for serving

Instructions 

  • Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Set aside an un-greased tube pan (9 ½ inch or 10 inch, 12 cup capacity) with a removable bottom.
  • In a food processor or blender, pulse the sugar until powdery and fine. Remove 1 cup and set aside, leaving the rest in the food processor. Add the flour and salt to the food processor and pulse until mixture is aerated and light, about 5 to 10 pulses.  
  • In a standing mixer fit with the whisk attachment, or with an electric mixer by hand, on low-speed beat egg whites and cream of tartar until broken up and beginning to froth, about 1 minute.
  • Increase speed to medium. Slowly add the reserved 1 cup of sugar and beat until whites are glossy and forming very soft peaks, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add vanilla, lemon juice, and almond extract and beat just until incorporated.
  • Carefully fold in sifted flour and sugar mixture into the egg whites using a large spatula. Gently scrape batter into pan, smooth the top, and give pan a couple of gentle shakes on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
  • Bake until cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven. If cake pan has feet, invert pan onto them. If not, invert pan over the neck of a bottle so that air can circulate all around it. Allow to cool completely, about 2 to 3 hours.
  • To un-mold, run a knife or thin spatula around edges, being careful not to dislodge the golden crust. Pull cake out of pan and cut the same way around removable bottom under the cake to release. 
  • Cool cake completely, bottom side up. When completely cold, cut slices by sawing gently with a serrated knife or pulling with a taut thread through the cake.
  • Serve cake the same day or refrigerate in an airtight container overnight if serving the next day. (Cake may be frozen for up to 2 weeks, but will compress slightly.)

Notes

  1. Cake flour: Cake flour is very finely milled, bleached flour with a lower protein content (about 8%) than all-purpose flour. Making baked goods with cake flour gives them a soft, tender texture and an excellent crumb. If you don’t have cake flour, you can make a cake flour substitute: Begin with 1 level cup of all-purpose flour. Then remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and add 2 tablespoons of either cornstarch or arrowroot powder to the flour. Sift together until well blended. (Note: using arrowroot powder may make the cake bake quicker, so keep an eye on the oven.)
  2. Egg whites: You can use frozen egg whites that you’ve saved up from other recipes, or crack them up (save the yolks for Tiramisu, Flourless Chocolate Cake, or Hollandaise Sauce). So the whites whip up nice and fluffy, the “room temperature” note is important. Leave the eggs out on the counter for about an hour before proceeding with the recipe, or place them in a bowl of warm water to speed the process up a bit.
  3. Almond extract: I adore the rich, nutty flavor this adds, but another extract such as strawberry, coconut, or lemon would also be lovely.
  4. Yield: One recipe makes one 9-inch cake, enough to feed 12 people.
  5. Make ahead: Bake the cake up to one day ahead. Un-mold bottom side up and wrap in plastic wrap to keep it moist.
  6. Freezer: Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks (it may compress somewhat).
  7. Plan for drips: Place a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet on the rack under the rack where you plan to bake the cake. This will catch any drips from a misaligned angel food cake pan and help keep your oven clean.
  8. Don’t grease your cake pan: It sounds counterintuitive, but Angel Food Cake batter needs a bit of grip so it can climb up the pan and get all cloud-like; it won’t rise as well otherwise.
  9. Visually check for doneness: Instead of checking for doneness by using a toothpick or skewer as you might with other cakes or brownie recipes, look for a toasty brown, crackled top that springs back when pressed firmly.

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 5gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 104mgPotassium: 127mgFiber: 1gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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