Angel Food Cake is a must have cake recipe! When you make it at home it’s so much better. It’s light and fluffy as a cloud, it has the perfect vanilla bean flavor, and it’s the perfect base to your favorite sauces and toppings.
The Perfect Angel Food Cake Recipe!
Here is a tried and trusted recipe I have been using for years that I absolutely love. The past few years, I’ve used this Angel Food Cake recipe to make cupcakes flavored different ways, and just recently I decided it was finally time to invest in a good angel food cake pan and make a full cake.
I’m really not a fan of the incredibly dry angel food cakes from the grocery store and this recipe is easily a thousand times better. Believe it or not, it’s an angel food cake that is not dry!
Before, I’d have to have my store-bought angel food cakes drowning in some kind of sauce, but this one doesn’t even need anything — although a sweet, rich, vanilla bean whipped cream never hurt anyone either.
I kept going into the kitchen the two days this lasted, slicing off sliver after sliver, and any time anyone else would catch me they had to have one too. This homemade angel food cake really is totally irresistible, which isn’t really a typical way to describe an angel food cake — but this one is totally worthy of your recipe book.
Angel Food Cake Ingredients
For this homemade angel food cake, you’ll need:
- Granulated sugar
- Cake flour
- Egg whites
- Warm water
- Vanilla beans
- Vanilla extract
- Cream of tartar
- Sweetened whipped cream and strawberries, for serving
How to Make Angel Food Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pulse sugar in food processor and until super fine.
- In a mixing bowl, sift together half of the sugar, the cake flour and the salt.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together egg whites, water, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and cream of tartar.
- Switch to a hand mixer and whip mixture on medium speed while slowly adding remaining sugar to mixture, until medium peaks form.
- Sift in a thin layer of flour mixture and gently fold, repeat until all flour has been mixed in.
- Spoon the batter evenly into an ungreased angel food cake pan.
- Bake until set.
- Remove cake from oven and cool upside down on a wire rack.
Do I Have to Use Vanilla Bean?
Vanilla beans can be so expensive, so you can just up the vanilla extract to 1 1/2 tsp if desired. It’s also delicious with 1/2 tsp almond extract.
Can I Use Pre-Separated Egg Whites for This Cake?
No, the store-bought egg whites that come in a carton can’t be used for this cake recipe. The egg whites in a carton won’t whip up properly and the texture of your angel food cake will be off.
What Should I Do with The Leftover Egg Yolks?
This recipe calls for 12 egg whites, which will leave you with lots of leftover egg yolks. Definitely don’t throw them in the garbage!
I have a lot of recipes on my blog that use egg yolks — you can check out the full egg yolk recipe archive here. Off the top of my head, I know my Salted Caramel Pots de Creme use 6 egg yolks, but you could also go the easy route and just make scrambled eggs with them!
Tips for the Best Angel Food Cake
- I recommend using a heavy, dark coated angel food cake pan for this recipe as it will give the cake the nice golden brown crust and will retain heat and help the cake cook evenly. I bought and used this pan for this angel food cake recipe.
- Pulse the flour and sugar for a fine texture.
- Make sure there’s not a drop of egg yolk in the whites. I like to crack each one separately into a bowl case a yolk breaks.
- Don’t grease the cake pan.
- Turn the pan immediately after removing from oven so cake doesn’t deflate.
More Homemade Cake Recipes You’ll Love:
- Red Velvet Cake
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Spice Cake
- Carrot Cake
- Pumpkin Cake
- Banana Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Sheet Cake
Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake
A must have cake recipe! Homemade angel food cake is much better than store-bought or mixes. It's light and fluffy as a cloud, it has the perfect vanilla bean flavor, and it's the perfect base to your favorite sauces and toppings.
- 1 3/4 cups (360g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup (126g) cake flour, sifted
- 12 (430g) large egg whites, at room temperature*
- 1/3 cup (80ml) warm water
- Seeds of 1 - 2 vanilla beans (or another 1 tsp vanilla)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- Sweetened whipped cream , for serving
- Sliced or macerated strawberries , for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse sugar until super fine, about 2 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, sift together half of the sugar, the cake flour and the salt.
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together egg whites, water, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and cream of tartar until well combined, about 2 minutes (the vanilla beans may not separate but that's fine, once sugar is added they should separate).
Switch to a hand mixer and whip mixture on medium speed while slowly adding remaining sugar to mixture, until medium peaks form**.
Sift just enough of the flour mixture in to evenly dust the top of the egg white mixture and using a spatula gently fold flour layer into egg white mixture and continue this process until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated (be sure to work gently with batter so it doesn't deflate and add small amounts of flour mixture at a time).
Gently spoon the batter evenly into an ungreased angel food cake pan (do NOT grease the pan, the cake won't rise properly if you do. If you are looking for a good angel food cake pan I have this one here).
After 35 minutes begin to check for doneness by inserting a wooden chopstick or skewer halfway down through the cake, it should come out clean*** (mine took 40 minutes).
Remove cake from oven and cool upside down on a wire rack (do not leave it upright, it will start to deflate like mine did a little while I was taking pictures. If the pan has feet no need to use the wire rack).
Cool at least 1 hour before removing from pan (I ran a sharp knife around the edge to loosen). Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream and strawberries (or fruit sauce, chocolate sauce or topping of choice).
- *Whites and yolks will separate better with fresher eggs. I separated the whites from the yolks while still cold (because warmer eggs are harder to separate) then let them rest in a bowl, covered to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). Work with one egg at a time separating and dropping into a small bowl first to make sure that egg didn't get any bit of yolk in it - then dump it into the main bowl. This just helps ensure you won't ruin it from one drop of yolk. If one of the yolks does break on one of them then reserve it for a different use.
- *Be sure to use clean bowls and mixing equipment as an oily bowl could ruin the batter. Also don't use the whites in the carton for this recipe. And if you live in a climate with high humidity you may want to cut back on the water a 1 - 2 tablespoons just to ensure you'll be able to whip up the whites properly.
- **If you aren't sure quite what "medium peaks" refers to this picture will you give an idea. You want peaks that stand but droop. Be patient with them they do take quite some time to whip up.
- ***If you find the top is browning too much you can place one of the oven racks above the cake, without letting it touch the top, and lay a sheet of foil over the rack just above the cake, not directly on the cake or it will stick.
- Nutrition is for cake only, no toppings included.
- Recipe source: adapted from Alton Brown via Food Network