Angel Food Cake

A true gift from the heavens deserves its own post, especially since it can be twisted in so many diabolic ways.  hehehe. In this post I am going to focus on angel food cake and will also highlight the differences between angel food cake, devil’s food cake, red velvet cake and chiffon cake.

angel food cake
Read on young padawan and when you make the inevitable journey to the sky, hopefully by that time angel’s food won’t be a surprise to you — ambrosia is another story.

Normally, I put videos at the end of the post, but because Alton’s episode analyzing the ins and outs of angel food cake is so absolutely fantastic, I recommend that you watch it before reading the rest of this post.

Hmmm, so there are a few important tips to remember when making this cake. Below, I’ve outlined what I ended up doing in the recipe.

1 3/4 c sugar Put in food processor for 2 minutes (or more) until sugar crystals are very fine. Why not use powdered / confectioner’s sugar? They contain starch…don’t know if that will seriously affect the cake if you had this on hand. Finer crystals become 1 1/2 cups of sugar
half of the sugar into bowl with
1/4 tsp salt (fine)
1 c cake flour
Alton recommends sifting this, I just make sure to sift it into the foam instead of sifting twice
oven preheat to 350° F
12 egg whites (absolutely no yolk) room temperature
1 tsp orange extract
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbs warm water
Combined all the ingredients in steel bowl (can use copper, but NOT plastic or glass). I used less water than recommended because my eggs were fresh and had enough liquid.
electric mixer
Whisk the liquid mixture until light froth builds up, then switch to the electric mixer. When a weak foam is building up, sift in the other half of the sugar that you had set aside. Wait for medium peaks (to check: lift mixer out of bowl, hold sideways and see if peaks stick out sideways as well…if they fall in a stream you don’t have a foam, if they sag due to gravity you have soft peaks and abt 2-3 minutes of light mixing to go), if they are short and stick out you have medium peaks, if they are long and stick out you have hard/firm peaks
the flour/salt/sugar Sift in enough dry stuff to coat top of mixture and then fold (4-5 folds, rotating the bowl). Should take about 3-4 sifts to incorporate all of the dry stuff in. DO NOT overmix; you will break the foam
ungreased angel food cake pan Dollop the mixture evenly around the pan. After it is all in, jiggle it a few times to spread out the mixture and pop into preheated oven for 35 minutes (I put a tray underneath just in case the mixture overflowed). Check with skewer (should come out clean, but a little moist)
plate Invert the pan onto an upside down plate to allow the cake to cool (about 1 to 1.5 hrs)
- Turn back over when cooled and cut both perimeters with thin knife. Invert onto serving plate and let side come off, then slowly and carefully cut the bottom (which is on top) away from cake and you are done!
- Top with my orange whipped cream

comparisons to other cakes

chiffon cake

Uses vegetable oil instead of butter in traditional cake recipes, so shelf life is longer and cake is moister. For this reason it is used in most shelf-products (Hostess, etc.). The wiki is pretty good.

devil’s food cake

This is a cake in between a traditional chocolate cake and angel food cake. It is much airier than standard chocolate cakes and uses cocoa as opposed to melted chocolate. The wiki entry does justice to the cake.

red velvet cake

If you see the devil’s food cake wiki entry, you will see that the original red tint came from non-alkalized (non “Dutch Processed”) cocoa powder reacting with baking soda. These days since alkalized cocoa powder is more prevalent, people add red food coloring to achieve the redness.

references and other media


  1. the wiki
  2. alton’s recipe
  3. google images


some ingredients
separating eggs
separating eggs
adding cream of tartar
starting the foam
not a foam yet
soft peaks
sifting the dry stuff in
dolloping it in
putting the rest in
inverted and cooling
sides cut away and standing tall
just cut the bottom off
and the top is revealed
frosted it
cutting it
cutting it
no leftovers


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