Classic Angel Food Cake

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5 from 3 votes
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Tall, light, fluffy, and just the perfect amount of sweet, this classic angel food cake recipe is a slice of heaven. Made with only 7 simple ingredients and no cake flour or cornstarch, you’ll never go back to the boxed mix or store-bought angel food cake again.

Sometimes, you want a dessert that doesn’t weigh you down. That’s where this fluffy angel food cake comes in. The height, delicate texture, and delicious flavor make for the perfect light dessert after a heavy meal.

Made with just a handful of basic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry, it’s easy to whip up anytime — no special occasion needed!

Slice of Angel Food Cake on white plate with fresh berries.

While this recipe for angel food cake may look intimidating, it’s really not. Once you get the hang of whipping the eggs to soft peaks and folding in the rest of the ingredients, it’s really easy. Plus, it tastes so much more flavorful than the kind you get at the store!

If you love cake as much as I do, this Banana Bundt Cake with a homemade brown butter glaze is a winner at potlucks and picnics. And my Lemon Raspberry Cake is a deliciously fruity option for spring and summer — the perfect Easter or Mother’s Day dessert!

Top-down photo of top angel food cake dusted with confectioners sugar.

For now, let’s get started on this light and airy angel cake.

Ingredients  

This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Ingredients for Angel Food Cake.
  • Sugar — You’ll process granulated sugar in the food processor to make it super fine. Without processing, it’s too coarse and heavy for this delicate cake. However, powdered sugar is much too fine and will melt. Processing the granulated sugar yields the perfect texture.
  • All-Purpose Flour — I use all-purpose flour because that’s what I usually have on hand. However, you can substitute cake flour if you prefer. Just remember to add an extra 2 tablespoons of cake flour (so 1 cup + 2 tablespoons total).
  • Salt — Salt is a must in many baking recipes. It balances out the sweetness and brings out all the other flavors.
  • Egg Whites — You’ll need 12 egg whites that are room temperature. Egg whites are the primary leavening agent for this recipe. Because you’ll have lots of leftover egg yolks, use them to make a custard, a lemon curd, or some homemade ice cream to go along with this cake.
  • Cream of Tartar — Just a little cream of tartar helps to make air bubbles when you whip the egg whites and helps stabilize the mixture.
  • Vanilla Extract — It adds a sweet vanilla flavor.
  • Almond Extract — Use it for additional flavor complexity or leave it out if you don’t like almond extract.

Equipment You’ll Need for the Best Angel Food Cake

How to Make Homemade Angel Food Cake without Cake Flour

This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below. 

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 325°F. Find your tube pan, and set it aside. Do NOT grease the pan.

Step 2: Place the granulated sugar in your food processor. Turn the food processor on, and let it run for 2 minutes until the sugar is superfine.

Granulated sugar in food processor.

Step 3: Take half of the processed sugar along with all of the flour and salt, and sift it twice into a large bowl. Set this dry mixture aside. (Alternatively, instead of sifting, you can process them in the food processor to aerate the ingredients.)

Two image collage of sugar and flour being sifted into a bowl.

Step 4: Place your egg whites and cream of tartar in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Set the mixer to medium speed and very slowly pour the other half of the sugar in while the mixer is running. Once the sugar is added, place the mixer on medium-high speed to whip it until soft peaks form. This should take 2 to 4 minutes, but keep an eye on it so you don’t overmix. Remember, you’re looking for soft peaks, not stiff peaks. The whipped egg whites will not hold a stiff shape and will fall back into the mixture after a few seconds.

Egg whites forming soft peaks on wire whisk mixer attachment.

Step 5: Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

Step 6: Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. In four batches, sift the flour mixture over the egg whites, folding it in. Be very gentle so you don’t deflate the egg whites. Sifting and mixing in small batches allows the egg whites to retain their volume.

Two image collage of ingredients being sifted and folded into whipped egg whites.

Step 7: Once all the flour is mixed in, add the batter to the ungreased tube pan. Gently shake the pan back and forth to even out the batter until it’s almost smooth on top. It won’t be perfectly smooth but should look fairly even.

Angel food cake batter in tube pan.

Step 8: Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Freshly baked homemade angel food cake in tube pan on round wire cooling rack.

Step 9: Take the pan out of the oven and immediately flip it upside down on a cooling rack. Let it cool for 3 hours upside down like this.

Angel food cake pan upside-down on cooling rack.

Step 10: After 3 hours, turn the pan right side up, and run a thin knife along the edge of the pan. Invert the pan again, tapping it a few times until the cake releases from the pan. Let it cool completely. Use a sharp serrated knife to slice and serve. A serrated knife is best because you can cut the cake without pressing down on it.

Powdered sugar being sifted on top of cooled cake.

What Goes With Angel Food Cake?

Need some inspiration for yummy angel food cake toppings? Here are some of my favorites:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Lemon curd
  • Fresh berries and whipped cream (blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries)
  • Nutella warmed to create a thin sauce
  • Fruit syrups
  • Chocolate glaze
  • Caramel sauce
Slice of angel food cake being lifted from rest of cake with a silver cake server.

How to Store Angel Food Cake

Room Temperature: You can store this homemade angel food cake covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Freezing Instructions: To freeze angel food cake, first cut the cake into slices. Then wrap with plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe bag. Remove the number of individual servings you need, and thaw at room temperature.

Classic Angel Food Cake Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use a blender to process the sugar if you don’t have a food processor.
  • Do not allow any egg yolk into the egg whites mixture. Break each egg into an egg separator or be extra careful when separating the yolk from the whites.
  • Use a sharp serrated knife for slicing. The serrated edges grab onto the cake better so you don’t have to press down on the light, airy cake while cutting it.
  • Wondering how to tell when angel food cake is done? Just insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If it comes out with wet cake batter, add a few more minutes to the cooking time and then check again.
Slice of light and fluffy angel food cake with a forkful removed.

Additions and Variations

Try different extracts. Instead of vanilla and almond extracts, try lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry, coconut, or maple.

Add in some spice. If you’re making this in the fall, try adding some pumpkin pie spice to add warmth and flavor to this recipe.

Make angel food cupcakes. This would be such a cute idea for a birthday party. You’ll need to reduce the cooking time to about 25 to 30 minutes for cupcakes. Top with whipped cream and fresh berries!

Angel Food Cake Recipe FAQ

What are the main ingredients in angel food cake?

The main ingredients in a traditional angel food cake are flour, sugar, and egg whites. You’ll also need salt, cream of tartar, and extracts for extra flavor are optional.

What makes angel food cake so light?

The egg whites are the secret ingredient to the angel food cake’s super light and airy texture.

Why don’t you grease the pan for angel food cake?

You want the cake batter to cling to the sides of the pan while it rises. If you grease the pan, the batter can’t climb up the sides and rise properly.

Why do you cool angel food cake upside down?

The cake can collapse if not turned upside down. Inverting it assures that it maintains its structure and its light and airy texture.

What are the best toppings for angel food cake?

Whipped cream, fresh fruit, chocolate ganache, caramel sauce, berry compote, or powdered sugar all make great toppings for an angel food cake.

What is the best angel food cake pan?

The best pan for fluffy angel food cake is a tube pan (also called an angel food pan) — NOT a Bundt pan. The design of the tube pan allows for easy inversion of the cake to prevent it from collapsing. Many also have a removable bottom to make getting the cake out of the pan even easier.

Why is it called angel food cake?

It gets its name from its light and airy texture… so light that angels can eat it without being weighed down.

More Delicious Cake Recipes

  • Pineapple Angel Food Cake — an easy 2-ingredient dump cake made with crushed pineapple.
  • Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake — yummy cake with chocolate ganache and toasted coconut flakes (the ganache would be great on this angel food cake recipe, too)
  • Lemon Layer Cake — a beautifully bright cake with lemon marshmallow frosting that’s perfect for spring and summer
  • Wacky Chocolate Cake – a vintage cake recipe made without eggs, milk, or butter!
  • Peach Bundt Cake — made with fresh peaches and a delish cream cheese icing
  • Oreo Poke Cake — a favorite for any get-together that kids and adults alike absolutely love

Want to see them all? Visit my collection of over 70 cake and cupcake recipes.

Recipe
Angel food cake slice served with fresh berries.
Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Angel Food Cake

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Tall, light, fluffy, and just the perfect amount of sweet, this classic angel food cake recipe is a slice of heaven. Made with only 7 simple ingredients, no cake flour or cornstarch is needed!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F. 
  • Place the sugar in a food processor. Turn the food processor on and let it run for 2 minutes.
  • Take half of the sugar along with the flour and salt, sift it twice into a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Place the mixer on medium speed and very slowly pour the remaining sugar in while the mixer is running. Once all of the sugar is added, place the mixer on medium-high speed and whip until soft peaks form, about 2-4 minutes. 
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and almond extract, if using.
  • Take the bowl off of the mixer and in four batches, sift the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it in. Be very gentle so you don’t deflate the egg white.
  • Once all the flour is mixed in, add the batter to a 10-inch ungreased tube pan. Gently shake the pan back and forth so the batter evens out and is almost smooth on top.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Take the pan out of the oven and immediately flip it upside down on top of a cooling rack. Let it cool for 3 hours like this.
  • Run a thin knife along the edge of the pan and invert the pan again, Give it a few taps until the cake releases from the pan. Let cool completely. Use a sharp serrated knife to slice and serve.

Notes

  • Use room temperature egg whites, and make sure there's no trace of a yolk.
  • It's important to use an ungreased tube pan so the batter can climb the sides during baking and not deflate on itself.
  • I like to serve my angel food cake dusted with powdered sugar and with fresh berries. Whipped cream, caramel sauce, fruit syrup, chocolate syrup, and lemon curd all make delicious angel food cake toppings as well.
  • Store at room temperature for 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 29g | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
Angel food cake slice served with fresh berries.

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7 Ingredient Angel Food Cake.

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