Angel Food Cake

For as much of a chocoholic as I am today, angel food cake was one of my all-time favorite desserts when I was growing up. As far as I can remember, no one in my family made them from scratch, but they were a Sunday staple at my grandma’s house during the summer. I always enjoyed a big slice of angel food cake, lots of sliced fresh strawberries and a big dollop of Cool Whip to cap off my Sunday dinner. Angel food cake is one of those store-bought favorites that I have been wanting to conquer from scratch. Truth be told, it’s not very difficult at all, and is so, so delicious.

The hardest part of the entire process for me was being patient while the egg whites were beating up into soft peaks. I felt like it took forever! But patience definitely paid off. (I was also a little heavy-handed when it came to slicing it as you can see from the photo above – I smooshed it a bit. Use a very light tough with a sawing back and forth motion using a serrated knife.)

This is such a lovely cake – light and spongy, with just a hint of almond flavor, just like the angel food cakes that I remember from when I was a kid. And of course I had to eat it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream! If you haven’t tackled angel food cake from scratch yet, I highly recommend it. Not too difficult, and very rewarding.

One year ago: Monster Cookies
Two years ago: No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
Three years ago: Wedding Shower Cake

Angel Food Cake

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes


1 cup sifted plain cake flour
1½ cups sifted granulated sugar
12 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon almond extract


1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan (9-inch, 16-cup capacity). If the pan bottom is not removable, line it with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the flour and ¾ cup of the sugar in a small bowl. Place the remaining ¾ cup sugar in another small bowl next to the mixer.

3. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer at low speed until just broken up and beginning to froth. Add the cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until the whites form very soft, billowy mounds. With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in the remaining ¾ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form soft peaks. Add the vanilla, lemon juice and almond extract and beat until just blended.

4. Sift the flour-sugar mixture over the whites, about 3 tablespoons at a time, and gently fold in, using a large rubber spatula.

5. Gently scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top with the spatula, and give the pan a couple of raps on the counter to release any air bubbles.

6. Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly, 50 to 60 minutes.

7. If the cake pan has prongs around the rim for elevating the cake, invert the pan onto them. If the pan does not have prongs, invert the pan onto the neck of a bottle or funnel. Let the cake cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.

8. To unmold, run a knife around the edges of the pan, being careful not to separate the golden crust from the cake. Slide the cake out of the pan and cut the same way around the removable bottom to release, or peel off the parchment paper, if using. Place the cake, bottom-side up, on a platter. Cut slices by sawing gently with a large, serrated knife. Serve the cake the day it is made.

(Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)


46 Responses to “Angel Food Cake”

  1. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking on June 29, 2011 at 12:33 am

    There is something so simple about this cake, but it is so delicious. Simple is good.
    And girl, you’ve been busy!!! How many posts you doing a day, 2 or 3? I can’t keep up!
    You’re awesome Michelle, and I so look forward to reading your posts every day!


  2. Jen of My Tiny Oven on June 29, 2011 at 12:35 am

    This is my absolute favorite! I had one every year for birthday as a kid!! I haven’t had one in ages! I need to make one now.


  3. Katrina on June 29, 2011 at 1:15 am

    This light cake is one of my favorites! I love it. Thanks so much for the recipe!


  4. Marlene on June 29, 2011 at 3:21 am

    My mother used to frost angle food cakes with frosting made with Hershey’s chocolate syrup, whipping cream, and ???–never got the recipe. Anyway, she’d buy English Toffee, scrape off the “coating”, and sprinkle on top to add crunch. It was so good, and I’ve been trying to find the recipe. I think it was common in the 1960’s. Have you or any of your readers seen this recipe? Do you have anything similar? Thanks, Michelle! Enjoy your blog.


  5. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on June 29, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Angel food cake is my dad’s favorite. We used to make it for his birthday every year. There is something about a fresh homemade angel food cake that is so delicious!


  6. Heather (Heather's Dish) on June 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

    angel food cake is one of those summer staples that we always had in our house. so light and fluffy and delicious!


  7. Penny Wolf on June 29, 2011 at 7:57 am

    If you like using gadgets an electric knife is beautiful for cutting Angel food cakes.
    Homemade are the best and plenty of egg yolks for ice cream and/or pasta.


  8. The Café Sucré Farine on June 29, 2011 at 8:00 am

    So simple and yet so delicious! One of my favorite cakes is angel food with a strawberry icing/glaze!


  9. Blog is the New Black on June 29, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Looks amazing! I’ve been trying to find a great angel food cake recipe. This may be it!


  10. Ann on June 29, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Great post! You’re absolutely right – Angel Food Cake is rarely made by scratch any more. My mother (who sadly died when I was a child) was NOT a cook. She made everything from a box….except Angel Food Cake. About once a year, she’d break out this amazingly old pan and make it…I wish I had that pan, but she ditched it years ago.


  11. Khushboo @ Two Megapixel Food on June 29, 2011 at 9:23 am

    12 egg whites! Wow. I have never tried to bake an angel food cake but I really want to and since I can trust your recipes with my eyes closed, this has to be good.


  12. Hannah@ Bake Five on June 29, 2011 at 9:24 am

    The only tube pan i have is a kugelhopf pan. Can it be used the same?


  13. Shannon on June 29, 2011 at 11:41 am

    My dad and I love baking…we made a delicious chocolate angel food cake (unbelievably good!) with a raspberry glaze and fresh whipped cream. A-ma-zing. It would take care of the chocoholic in you too!


  14. Jerry on June 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I love this angel food cake because of its light and fluffy texture and because its so easy to make. I used to buy angel cake in the bakery but I find there is nothing better then to make it myself because I get to have control over how sweet the angel cake turns out. I prefer my cakes to be on a slightly less sweeter side (But thats just me). Awesome post and thank you for sharing this recipe!


  15. natalie (the sweets life) on June 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    angel food cake reminds me of 8th grade basketball, when one mom would always bring us the funfetti angel food cake for after games! i’ve made cupcakes from scratch but need to get a tube pan so i can make a whole cake!!


  16. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on June 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I haven’t had much angel food cake in my life. My Dad believed if it wasn’t chocolate it wasn’t dessert, so my mom never made this. I have tried a couple store bought ones at parties before, but have never had a homemade one. This looks amazing – I want to get a pan, so I can make one!


  17. Karen on June 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    This is my father’s favorite cake and it is just in time for his birthday! Thank you for posting! Looks amazing!!


  18. Amanda on June 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Gorgeous angel food cake, Michelle!


  19. Maria on June 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    One of my favorite desserts!


  20. Cookin' Canuck on June 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    There is nothing better for a light dessert than angel food cake with strawberries. Love this, Michelle!


  21. Charmaine on June 29, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    My Mother always made from scratch for my requested birthday cake. Every year that is what I always requested for my Birthday. Loved then then and still do.She would even ask me what color I wanted. Remember a blue one she used food coloring in and iced it with her great homemade icing. Thanks for the recipe and the memories.


  22. Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen on June 29, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I’ve always loved angel food cake; I never think to make it though – love!


  23. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on June 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Angel Food cake is something I have always wanted to try as well. Glad to know it’s not hard.


  24. Paula on June 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Oh it is so lovely! I love angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Honestly I can eat angel food cake all by itself too!


  25. ovenhaven on June 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    How gorgeous! I’ve never tried baking an angel food cake before, but now you’ve made me want to run out and grab a tube pan!


  26. Maggie @MaggieCooks on June 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I always wanted to try this angel food cake! I might give it a shot! Thank you for sharing your recipes! 🙂


  27. Lou on June 30, 2011 at 3:20 am

    would the cream of tartar be essential for making this cake? thanks for sharing this recipe! 🙂


    • Michelle on June 30th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Lou, It is, it is what helps the egg whites set up.


  28. AMANDA on June 30, 2011 at 7:03 am

    i abosultely love that you update your site everyday…that keeps me coming back..i was wondering if u had a recipe for grapenut custard pudding? Thanks so much


    • Michelle on June 30th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      Hmmm I’ve never heard of grapenut custard pudding! Sorry I’m not much help!


    • megan on January 28th, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      I used to have grapenut pudding all the time , my sister makes it , I’ll check for a recipe


  29. Kristin at Per L'Amore Di Cibo on June 30, 2011 at 10:09 am

    This is definitely on my top 100 to make list! Thank you, it looks delicious!


  30. purabi naha on June 30, 2011 at 11:03 am

    This Angel Food Cake recipe looks delicious! Have had this cake so many times, but never had an opportunity (and the recipe) to bake one myself. The texture of the cake looks perfect!


  31. Katie @ NYCitified on June 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Angel food cake always just tastes like summer to me. My friend’s Mom used to make it all the time and I have great memories of enjoying a nice summer breeze along with my slice of cake. Love it. Want it. Have to make it now.


  32. Lindsey@Lindselicious on July 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I love angel food cake! But I have no room for another baking pan. I wish you could make this in a bundt cake pan… LOL has anyone tried?


    • Jennifer @ Raisin Questions on July 12th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

      Yes I have tried in a bundt pan! I had trouble with my egg whites peaking, so my cake did not fully bake. I got the cake out of the bundt pan in one piece, but I’m not sure if this because it was more moist due to being under baked. You can see what I mean here — Michelle, I was laughing when I read your post, because when I recently blogged about my Angel Food Cake experience, it was all about how DIFFICULT it was! I didn’t have the right pan, or cream of tartar, or enough eggs, or a sifter, or an electric mixer… I couldn’t get the egg whites to peak and I was pretty freaked about not being able to get it out of the pan! But I think after reflecting on your post, Angel Food Cake really must be easy for experienced bakers — you just need the right tools, and maybe a little confidence. I’m still gaining that experience, but hopefully one day I will believe that Angel Food Cake is easy!


  33. Sunny on July 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Angel Food cake is one of those dishes I’d also like to make from scratch. Your recipe looks simple and delicious. I should try this for the Fourth of July! Wouldn’t it be pretty with blueberries and strawberries? Yum!


  34. Apron Appeal on July 3, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I just made the “cook’s country” version of this cake tonight…also my first. The hardest part for me was…well the whole thing made me very nervous. i didn’t have cake flour so i did a LOT of processing and sifting. The cake is now cooling on a root bear bottle.


  35. Tracy on July 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Gorgeous cake! I can’t wait to try it…it’ll be perfect with some fresh strawberries or blueberries, mmm.


  36. Lori @ Girl Meets Oven on July 7, 2011 at 12:29 am

    The trick with angel food cake is to bake it in a tube pan. I used a bundt pan the first time I tried it. Big mistake. It stuck to the pan horribly. I turned it into a trifle since it came out of the pan in pieces 🙂


  37. Tina @ MOMS CRAZY COOKING on October 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    We are looking for Angel Food Cake recipes for National Angel Food Day. If you would please stop by and link-up this recipe and/or if you have any other Angel Food Cake recipes! We would greatly appreciate it!


  38. Luanna Grace on July 31, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I happened to have a dozen egg whites in the freezer (leftover from making a couple batches of ice cream). This cake is now in my oven.


  39. Jennifer s on September 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    What a great way to use up the egg whites in my freezer! And fun to make too!


  40. Heidelind on July 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    I made this to use for the Red, White and Blue Berry Trifle. I almost went with store-bought but I’m really glad I didn’t. My son got the leftover pieces and devoured them:) I hadn’t had Angel Food cake in at least 5 years. I forgot how good it is.


  41. Bill on August 29, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Alright, angel food cake had been my favorite as a child. growing up nothing was better than coming home from the grocery store with a cake and strawberries to top it with. I don’t remember the last time I had any angel food cake but it is most like in excess of 10 years.

    I took this recipe and split it out into cupcakes and topped it with the strawberry meringue buttercream icing from another recipe on here. I wasn’t the most impressed with the icing but the cake is bloody amazing. I’m trying to not eat it all, tonight.

    thank you again for another great recipe.


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