Preparation time: 30-45 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes
Cooling time: 2 hours
Serves: 8-10 servings
Light and fluffy, not overly sugary, and the perfect accompaniment for summer fruits and berries, angel food cake is a delightful summer dessert recipe. This cake is a lighter option to finish off a meal served in the dog days of summer.
Many people believe that angel food cake is complicated to make. They may wrongly think this because rather than using the chemical magic of baking soda and baking powder to rise, an angel food cake uses whipped egg whites to incorporate lots of air into the batter. Using beaten egg whites isn’t hard, but it does take a little time. The first few times that you make this cake, allow for plenty of time so that you can get the steps right. Baking this cake isn’t difficult, but you do need to pay attention to the details.
Before you get started, you will have to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. You can buy a nifty gadget at a discount store to make this a little easier, although professional chefs generally just use the egg shell to separate them. Don’t allow a single drop of egg yolk to contaminate your egg whites. Any little bit of fat may interfere with the ability of your egg whites to trap bubbles.
After you’ve separated the egg whites, whip them with an electric mixer on high speed. You can use a hand mixer, (although using a whisk attachment on it will work best) but a stand mixer is ideal for whipping egg whites. You can let the mixer run while you’re sifting the flour. Beat the egg whites to a soft peak stage. This means that when you lift the beaters out of the mixture, they create a little peak that curls downward. Don’t overbeat the egg whites.
Also, using cream of tartar and lemon juice as you beat the egg whites will help them be more stable and less likely to collapse when you add the additional ingredients. And when you do add the rest of the ingredients, be sure that you gently fold them into the egg white fluff using a rubber spatula. Be gentle to keep as much volume as possible in the egg whites.
This cake is baked in a tube pan. A tube pan, with a flat bottom and straight sides, is not the same as a Bundt pan. A Bundt pan won’t work for this recipe, because the cake will stick in all of the crevices of the Bundt pan. Also, make sure that your pan is scrupulously clean because any grease at all will keep the cake from staying fluffy.
When the cake is finished baking, you will need to turn it upside down to cool. Some angel food cake pans have little feet on the pan to help you do this. If your pan doesn’t have the feet, you can place a kitchen funnel on your counter and put the hole of the pan over the spout of the funnel to keep it elevated as you allow it to cool upside down. If you don’t cool the cake upside down, you run the risk of the cake collapsing on itself as it cools off.
Angel Food Cake Recipe
- 11-12 eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Have a clean ten-inch tube pan ready.
Don’t grease this pan or spray it with cooking spray. Any kind of greasy film will keep the cake from rising properly.
Step 2: Separate your eggs, setting aside the yolks, and placing the egg whites in a measuring cup.
You will need about 1 ½ cups of egg white.
Step 3: Use a flour sifter to sift together the flour, ¾ of a cup of sugar, and the salt.
Sift them together about three times to ensure that the flour will be light and fluffy.
Step 4: Place the egg whites in the large mixer bowl of your stand mixer.
Add the water, lemon juice, vanilla, and cream of tartar.
Step 5: Turn on the mixer to medium-high speed and beat it until the egg whites are about 5 times as large as they were when you started.
Step 6: Take the remaining ¾ cup of sugar and begin to add it to the mixer bowl full of whipped egg whites one tablespoon at a time.
After you add the spoonful of sugar, let the mixer run for about 30 seconds before adding the next one. This will help keep the egg whites from collapsing while you fully dissolve the sugar.
Step 7: Once you’ve incorporated all of the sugar, remove the mixer bowl from the mixer.
Take the flour mixture and sprinkle about ¼ cup of it over the top of the egg white mixture. Using a rubber spatula, slowly and gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites. Do not stir vigorously or beat these ingredients together. Repeat this action until you’ve incorporated all of the flour mixtures.
Step 8: Scrape the cake batter gently into the tube pan, evenly distributing and smoothing the top.
Bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester tests the cake as done. Remove the cake from the pan and turn it upside down to cool. If you don’t have a pan with feet, you can use a kitchen funnel.
Step 9: After about an hour and a half, turn the cake right side up and run a butter knife around the outer edge of the cake.
Gently shake the cake out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Allow it to cool for another hour before serving.
April Freeman enjoys creating all kinds of recipes for her friends and family from her country kitchen in Middle Tennessee. She and her family raise beef cattle, chickens, and all sorts of fruits and veggies on their farm, and she specializes in featuring farm-fresh foods in the recipes that she creates and serves. April says that her slogan is “Are you hungry?” and she feels that one way of showing love and connecting with others is to serve delicious favorite foods to others. Her favorite thing to cook is pies of all kinds.