Angel food cakes seem so much like summer, light and heavenly and never too filling. With a little whipped cream, they showcase the fruits of summer so well—from strawberries to fresh peaches.
Angel food cakes are really easy to make if you follow a few principles. Today, we’ll show you how and share a recipe that is nearly foolproof. Once you understand these basic principles, you can make delectable angel food and chiffon cakes from chocolate mocha to orange chiffon.
How to Make an Angel Food Cake
Angel food cakes are quick and easy to make. Consider an angel food cake the next time that guests are about to arrive. With their tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, they are always a favorite, always impressive, and save time for the other things you need to do. And you’ll feel good about serving these to your family and friends—angel food cakes are always low fat, nearly fat free.
For perfect angel food cakes, keep the following principles and practices in mind:
1) Get the right pan. You will need a tube pan with a removable bottom. (Most recipes call for a ten-inch tube pan.) To make an angel food cake, you never grease the pan so it would be very difficult to remove the cake without the removable bottom of the tube pan.
2) Beat the egg whites right. The main ingredient in angel food cakes is the egg whites. They are beaten to a foam to provide the leavening; usually there is no baking powder called for in the recipe.
a) Make sure that no grease or fat touches the egg whites. Just a tiny bit of fat interferes with the foam formation. Make sure that the pan, the beaters, the bowl, and any other utensils are clean, dry, and grease free.
b) Separate the whites from the yolks while the eggs are cold. The eggs are thicker and easier to separate while cold.
c) Separate the eggs one at a time into a cup. If you get a bit of yolk in the white, set it aside. That white will fail to perform and if you mix it with the other whites, the whole batch will fail. Continue with a clean cup. After each egg white is successfully separated, pour it into the bowl that will be used for beating.
d) Whip the whites until glossy peaks form. Start at medium speed with your hand-held mixer. As the foam begins to develop, increase the speed. Fold in ingredients as called for in the recipe. Do not over whip. If the egg whites are beaten too long, they will become dry and gritty and will ruin the cake.
3) Add the sugar after the whites have begun to hold their shape. If you add the sugar too soon, the whites will be soft and sticky. Add the sugar in a slow stream, not all at once.
4) Fold the other ingredients gently into the egg whites. Use a spatula and gently reach to the bottom of the bowl and lift the egg whites through the mixture in an up and down, folding motion. Do not over mix. The other ingredients need to be uniformly dispersed but over mixing will drive the entrained air from the mixture and cause the cake to lose volume.
5) Bake immediately. If the batter sits in the pan, it will lose air and volume.
6) After baking, turn the cake upside down to cool. Gravity will help the cake maintain its volume. Most tube pans have little legs that will hold the cake above the counter. If your pan doesn’t, invert the pan over a narrow necked bottle to hold the cake up.
There you have it. It looks like a lot to keep in mind but the process is really quite quick and simple.
For more angel food cake recipes, click here.
Cinnamon Ripple Angel Food Cake Recipe
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 to 14 large eggs)
1 cup plus one tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar divided
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (after step 1).
1. Separate the eggs before heating the oven (see tips), adding the whites to a liquid measuring cup until you have 1 1/2 cups. It will take about 12 large eggs.
2. Sift the flour before measuring. If you do not have a sifter, use a whisk to fluff the flour before measuring. Add about half the sugar to the flour and sift again.
3. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl, adding the salt and the cream of tartar to the whites as soon as they become foamy. Continue beating. As soft peaks begin to form, add the remaining sugar and extracts. Beat until peaks form.
4. Using a spatula, gently fold the flour and sugar mixture into the egg white foam with “over and up” motions. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl or the flour mixture will sink. Mix only until the flour is moistened. Working the batter longer tends to drive the air bubbles from the foam and reduces the cake’s volume.
5. Scrape the batter into a ten-inch tube pan in three or four layers. Sprinkle the cinnamon through a fine sieve onto the batter between layers. Bake immediately. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is done.
6. When the cake is removed from the oven, immediately invert the tube pan on the counter. Many tube pans have legs for this purpose. If the tube pan does not have legs, invert the pan over a narrow-necked bottle inserted into the tube.