Best homemade angel food cake recipe! Skip the mix, and make a light and fluffy angel food cake from scratch with this recipe.
Originally published 9/30/12. Last updated 3/25/19.
There are few cake mixes that can rival a homemade cake. The big exception to that statement is the angel food cake.
Some of those mixes make good cakes.
So, why bother to make a homemade angel food cake?
Well, I have three reasons for you.
First, the mixes are fairly pricey as far as mixes go.
Second, they can be hard to find (at least they are around here).
Third, and most importantly, no matter how good the mix is, homemade cakes are better.
How to make angel food cake from scratch
Begin by processing the sugar in a blender or food processor to create super fine sugar.
Sift half of the sugar together with the salt and cake flour.
Set aside the other half of the sugar.
Add the egg whites with extracts, water, and cream of tartar together in a mixing bowl.
Add the reserved sugar while beating the egg whites on medium speed until egg white reach medium peaks.
You'll know when the egg whites are at medium peaks because they will be thick and glossy. They will also droop over just at the tip when pulled up.
Sift a dusting of flour over the egg whites, and then continue to fold the flour in until incorporated. It's important to fold in rather than stir the flour in to keep the voluume in the egg whites.
Carefully spoon the batter into the tube pan. You don't want to just drop it in because that will take some of the volume out of the batter.
Bake, and then cool the baked cake in the pan upside down for at least an hour.
Do I have to use cake flour?
It makes a big difference in the texture of this cake.
If you can't find cake flour, this DIY cake flour recipe will show you how to make a good substitute.
What makes angel food cake so light and airy?
There are two things that make angel food cake so light and airy - whipped egg whites and cake flour.
Much of the structure of this cake comes from the stabilized egg whites.
Those whipped egg whites are also really light and fluffy.
The cake flour also helps to give the cake its softer texture.
Cake flour is a soft white flour that is lower in protein.
What is the flavor of angel food cake?
Angel food cake has a mild, sweet vanilla flavor.
I add a touch of almond extract to round out the flavor, but that's an optional addition.
What is the difference between a sponge cake and angel food cake?
The biggest difference between a sponge cake and angel food cake is that sponge cakes contain egg yolks.
Sponge cakes are richer because they contain egg yolks, but both cakes have a similar light and airy texture.
More homemade cake recipes!
If you’ve tried this angel food cake recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who've made my recipes!
Angel Food Cake
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cake flour (sifted)
- 12 egg whites from large eggs (room temperature)
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine.
- Sift half of the sugar with the salt and the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the egg whites, water, extracts, and cream of tartar. Mix together for about 1 minute on low.
- Slowly sift the reserved sugar in, beating continuously at medium speed.
- Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently.
- Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
- Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).
- Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.
Angel food cake recipe video
Adapted from foodnetwork.com