Light and fluffy angel food cake is the perfect summer dessert especially when topped with sweet strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream!Jump to Recipe
Angel food cake is absolutely, hands down, my favorite cake in the whole world. It’s the cake that I always ask for as my birthday cake. It’s light and fluffy and perfect eaten smothered in whipped cream and strawberries or just plain standing over the sink to catch the crumbs.
Growing up, because we had chickens, we actually ate angel food cake fairly frequently. My mother always said that fresh eggs made the best angel food cake.
These days I have to buy my eggs, but even store-bought eggs make some pretty nice angel food cake
3 Methods to Separate Your Eggs
This recipe calls for a dozen egg whites. That is a lot of eggs to separate. There are a bunch of different ways to separate your eggs. My particular favorite is using the handy little tool you see in the above photo. It came with a set of measuring cups I received as a gift and is probably the most useful little uni-tasker that I own. (If you’re looking for a more, uh, interesting egg separator check out this one or this one)(affiliate links).
However, I did not grow up with such a fancy gadget. I learned to separate eggs by cracking the egg in half and gently shuffling it back in forth into the different halves of the egg shell until the yolk separated from the white. Benefits of this method are that it’s free and you don’t have to spend 20 minutes rooting around in your drawer for your egg separator. Drawbacks are that it’s pretty easy to get one half of the shell that is bigger than the other and then everything gets tricky. Also, much easier to get bits of egg shell in your egg.
Some daring people choose this method of separating their eggs, but I personally don’t love that much egg on my hands. However, it is very quick and effective.
Use 3 Bowls To Separate Your Eggs
For this angel food cake recipe (and really any angel food cake recipe), there can be no traces of yolk in your whites. For a long time, I found this to be a struggle when I was separating my eggs. But then I realized that I was being an idiot by keeping my bowl of whites under each precarious yolk. I then learned that each time I plopped an egg white out, put it in another bowl so that on the last egg the yolk does not accidentally slip out and ruin a dozen egg whites.
What is Cream of Tarter?
This recipe calls for the help of an ingredient called cream of tarter. Cream of tarter’s actual name is tartaric acid. It is a white, powdery substance left in wine barrels during the wine making process. Why do we care about white powder leftover from wine making? Because it creates more stable air pockets in our egg whites which helps pump of the volume of our meringue which results in a taller, fluffier angel food cake.
What are stiff peaks?
The directions call for us to beat our egg whites until stiff peaks form, but what the heck does that even mean?
It simply means that you beat the meringue until it stands up on it’s own and doesn’t flop over or drop back into the bowl. We want stiff peaks in order to provide structure and height to the cake since we aren’t relying on chemical leaveners to do that for us.
Why do we flip it over as soon it comes out of the oven?
For most traditional cakes, we usually put the cake on the cooling rack for 15 minutes or so before flipping it out of the pan otherwise we have a big broken mess on our hands. So why do we flip this cake immediately? Because of it’s delicate structure, the cake will crush itself when it’s still warm. Flipping it over helps set everything as it cools.
Angel Food Cake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar divided
- 12 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
- 1 1/ 2 tablespoons vanilla
- Before starting, place your bowl (stainless or coppeand your beaters in the freezer. Also, remove eggs from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. To be honest, I have know idea why you should do this, but my mother swears these are key elements to the success of the angel food cake.
- Separate your eggs. There can be no traces of yolk in your whites. I find this to be a struggle sometimes. But then I realized that I was an idiot keeping my bowl of whites under each precarious yolk. I then learned that each time I plopped an egg white out, put it in another bowl so that on the last egg the yolk does not accidentally slip out and ruin a dozen egg whites.
- Once the eggs are separated add the cream of tarter and beat until foamy. Once the eggs start foaming, then add 3/4 of a cup of the granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. A stiff peak is one that does not flop over when it is formed. Take care not to overbeat the eggs. This is especially possible when using a stand mixture.
- Sift together the remaining 3/4 and 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cake flour. Once the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks, fold the vanilla and the flour mixture into the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Be sure to use a rubber spatula. My mother only owns one rubber spatula and it is specifically for folding flour into the egg whites for angel food cake.
- Once the flour mixture is folded into the egg whites, spread mixture into an ungreased angel food cake pan (or tube pan if you will). Make sure the batter is even. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
- Flip pan with cake in it immediately onto a clean plate. Allow to cool upside down. When the cake is completely cool, run a knife around the edges of the outside and inside of the pan. Flip back onto the plate and allow cake to fall out.
- Once the cake has fallen out of the pan, be sure to scrape the pan and eat it. It is sooo tasty! Serve cake plain or with sweetened strawberries and Cool Whip.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (affiliate link)