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Angel Food Cake


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My father's 70th birthday is this Friday. We are celebrating on Saturday. I've been asked to bring and angel food cake. I've never made one before, and I've heard rumors that it is difficult, you have to have everything "just so" or it will have the wrong texture.

I would be most grateful for recipes that have worked for you, and for tips that might help me not screw up my first angel food cake.

I would like for it to be slightly more exotic than plain angel food cake, but I'm not sure how. Could a lemon-ginger angel food cake be made?

In any case, I've got three angel food cake pans, two round and one square. I *think* I have all of the equipment necessary.

I will possible have to travel with the cake a few hours, I'm not sure if that will affect anything. If worse comes to worse I'll just get up at the break of dawn, drive and (shudder) use my mother's kitchen.

Any advice and help will be much appreciated!

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Well don't worry, angel food cake is a breeze to make and you can flavor it too.

You can split hairs over the best methods/techniques on making these. Theres a book called The Bakers Dozen where a group of people (many well known chefs included) did some extensive studing on making the perfect angel food cake. They organized a study where everyone used the same recipe, but because everyone had slightly different techniques the results were wildly different from one persons cake to the next. They then narrowed down the exact techniques that they agreed made the best cake. This is published in their book, your library might have it....it's an interesting quick read if your interested.

The wierd thing is, I've baked using that recipe and technique and found I like another recipe better. So I think the bottom line is you might not get one universal recipe and technique agreed upon here by e-gulleters either. But don't be nervous, these are actually very simple cakes. They travel well-no need to worry about that!

I need to get my recipe out of my file.....so I'll come back later and offer you my favorite angel food cake recipe.

Hopefully others will offer up their favorites too...and the basic info on technique to get you started.

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Angel food cake is not all that hard -- and is one of my favorite cakes that I often make when I am left with leftover egg whites. I like unadorned - just a hunk-o-cake in my hand makes me happy.

The difficulty comes in not having properly whipped eggwhites and assuring your cake pan and mixing bowls are absolutely clean and free from grease. Fat is death to an Angel Food cake.

I don't have a specific recipe on hand, but just a few notes on techniques.

From a Joan Ross website:

In order to maintain the greatest volume, first beat the whites at low or medium low speed until the mass is foamy. This helps with the build up of cell structure and air mass. Usually an acid such as cream of tarter is added next. The speed is gradually increased to medium or medium high speed, beating until the whites achieve soft peaks. Now add the sugar slowly and gradually in a thin stream at this soft moist stage and continue to beat gradually increasing the speed to high until the STIFF BUT MOIST STAGE results. Ignore any instructions to beat until stiff and DRY. Attaining the stiff and moist stage is a crucial factor. If the dry stage is reached, the mass is overbeaten and the cake will collapse upon baking. Egg whites should appear moist, glossy and shiny . Stiff moist peaks will gently droop over. Beaten egg whites still need room to expand during baking. Overbeaten whites appear dry, lumpy and sometimes granular. Attaining the appropriate stage for stiff and moist is certainly one of the most difficult factors for the baker to achieve. Also, if whites are underbeaten the cake will collapse. So when you think you achieved the stiff and moist egg white stage do this TEST: The mass will not slosh in the bowl and you can invert the bowl without the whites falling out!!! Really, the beaten whites will not fall out.

There is absolutely no reason why you can't make the cake a day ahead of time and travel with it. If you intend to decorate it, do so after you arrive. It is a very stable cake that could easily be just wrapped in plastic wrap for transport.

If you want a Lemon Ginger cake, I might consider adding freshly grated lemon rind to the batter (perhaps the slightest amount of extract for stronger lemon flavor) and then glaze it with a ginger-based glaze. In prefering my Angel Food cakes unadorned, when they are topped, I prefer a light glaze versus a heavy frosting.

Report back and let us know if there are any questions!

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I've only made the chocolate angel food cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum's "Cake Bible", but I've made it many times since it's very good. The chocolate cuts the sweetness of what might otherwise be an overly sweet cake (it takes a lot of sugar to tenderize the egg whites and retain moisture).

My only advice is to be sure to cool the cake upside down in the pan. Whichever recipe you use will probably say the same thing, but it bears repeating. If you don't, the cake will deflate and you'll have a dense and chewy pancake.

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Is it possible to make a decent sugar-free angel food cake? We're still dealing with the wife not getting enough protein after gastric-bypass surgery. Her taste right now is running to sweets. Last week she wanted spicy food. Next week it'll probably be pickles.

And no, she's not. :hmmm:

I figure the egg whites used will provide at least some protein, at least more than sugar-free jello would. I think we could use a small amount of a fruit puree, but white, confectiner's, brown, and other processed sugars are out.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Is it possible to make a decent sugar-free angel food cake? We're still dealing with the wife not getting enough protein after gastric-bypass surgery. Her taste right now is running to sweets. Last week she wanted spicy food. Next week it'll probably be pickles.

And no, she's not. :hmmm:

I figure the egg whites used will provide at least some protein, at least more than sugar-free jello would. I think we could use a small amount of a fruit puree, but white, confectiner's, brown, and other processed sugars are out.

Here's a link to one... Fat Free Angel Food Cake.

I don't think that a fruit puree would work - there is a chemistry that occurs in the mixing in of the sugar with the egg whites. A fruit puree (I believe) would produce something more along the lines of a souffle.

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Here's a link to one... Fat Free Angel Food Cake.

I don't think that a fruit puree would work - there is a chemistry that occurs in the mixing in of the sugar with the egg whites. A fruit puree (I believe) would produce something more along the lines of a souffle.

Cool. Now all I need is to find AMALTY® MR-50 Crystalline Maltitol1...

My Piggly Wiggly does not carry it. Suggestions?

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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why not try splenda in place of the sugar. i thought it was 1:1 exchange, no? not sure how it would work with the chemistry.

Actually - here's a couple interesting ones...



Edited by tryska (log)
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I would have to second the vote for the cake recipe out of "The Baker's Dozen Cookbook". Its Called Flo's Angel Food Cake. I have used it many times and find it easy to make and even easier to eat. I usually will frost it with stabilized whipped cream ( which could be flavored) and add sliced strawberries around the base on the top. Flo Braker (one of the Baker's dozen) has a new baking book out and the recipe may be in it also.

Fred Rowe

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Flo Braker (one of the Baker's dozen) has a new baking book out and the recipe may be in it also.

If you are referring to "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking", it's a long out of print classic that's just been re-released. As I have said before: Flo Braker is a baking Goddess.

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Regarding the suggestion of adding lemon zest to the batter....wouldn't the oil in the zest destroy the structure? How about folding in some poppy seeds to the cake and serve it with lemon curd?

Candy Wong

"With a name like Candy, I think I'm destined to make dessert."

Want to know more? Read all about me in my blog.

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Regarding the suggestion of adding lemon zest to the batter....wouldn't the oil in the zest destroy the structure?

As long as you add the zest in after the eggs are stiff, I think it should be okay. Oil only really matters when beating the egg whites.

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You can fold almost anything into the finished batter, I make a mini chocolate chip version. Lemon zest will be fine and you can also add lemon extract in place of the vanilla or in addition to it. I'm not a fan of ginger personally, but I'd think a 1/2 tsp (or less) of gr.ginger would work nicely with lemon.

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I'm in charge of making the weekly batches of angelfood cake at my shop, so I feel that I've pretty much perfected my technique. Here are a few tips that I feel are very important:

1.) Using room temperature egg whites will help you achieve a fuller volume cake, thus creating a very light and fluffy end result--so be sure to keep your whites out for several hours before making it.

2.) Start adding your first batch of sugar (most recipes I've found add sugar to the whites while whipping, along with sifted cake flour during the fold-in step) after you've whipped your whites to soft peak---if you add it too soon it will create a meringue, which I've found does not produce the best results. So once you have soft peaks forming, slowly add your sugar in a steady stream.

3.) Whip your whites and sugar till they are STIFF. I have whipped them a tad under stiff and by the end of my folding in of the flour, it was a goopy mess, so be sure to whip the hell out of them.

4.) Sift your flour/sugar several times. This will aerate your mixure and make it easier to fold in.

5.) Folding too much or too hard is death for angelfood. Using a VERY gentle motion, fold in circles from the inside and bottom of the bowl outwardly and over. Hard to explain without demonstrating, but just be sure not to overmix OR undermix, but be as gentle as you can be so you don't deflate your egg whites.

Those are my tips! I have a recipe for plain that I am sure would suffice for a lemon-ginger. Just add ginger powder or even grated ginger?? and lemon zest in with your flour/sugar.

This makes 2 cakes so feel free to halve the recipe:

3 1/2 cups room temp egg whites

1 Tbsp. cream of tartar

1 1/2 cups extrafine sugar

2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cups extrafine sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 1/2 tsp. salt

Sift the cake flour and 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 times. Beat egg whites til foamy. Add cream of tartar. Whip whites to soft peak, then add first 1 1/2 cups sugar slowly. Continue whipping until whites are extremely voluminous and stiff. Add extracts and salt. Fold in flour/sugar mixture along with your zests (if you're making lemon ginger and omit the vanilla/almond). Carefully spoon mixture into bundt pan and bake at 325 (i have no idea how long--we use convection ovens and miniature cakes) until top is golden brown and the cracks are dry. Invert pan immediately until cooled and pop out. Enjoy!


Mmmmmmm chocolate.

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Great advice from Elizabeth..........if you don't mind I'd like to add to 3.-just make sure you don't over whip either, if you go overly stiff that won't work either. If the eggs are over whipped they'll break up into little clumps when you fold in verses being a total mass and they'll also not have a shine to them.

One thing I do differently is I use a whisk to fold in (in most applications for most products). I find the whisk doesn't deflate airated mixtures and it's folds in quicker. Granted you can't be heavy handed with it, but over all I think it's more gentle then a spatula.

Heres the recipe I use for angel food cakes. It's from The Professional Pastry Chef written by Bo Friberg. If you compare this to the one Elizabeth offered you'll see that there are differences.........ah but it's up to you to try them and see what you like.

Sift and mix together:

4 oz cake flour, sifted

6 oz. granulated sugar


12 whites

1 tsp. tartar

pinch of salt

Gradually add while the whites are whipping:

6 oz. granulated sugar

Add at the end of whipping:

2 tsp vanilla

(or use 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. almond extract)

Stop whipping and fold in flour sugar mixture from above.

Bake 325F in a 10" tube pan. I bake until a tooth pick comes out clean when tested. Cool in pan, upside cown.

Mr. Fribergs recipe also adds: grated zest of one lemon and 2 tsp. lemon juice, which I don't use.

One more thing.........chosing whether you use almond extract or not........typically angel food cakes you've tasted have it in it. You might not conciencely noticed it but they generally have this almond flavor. Since you want a lemon and ginger cake you should use lemon extract instead of almond and not both. It's your choice if you want to add both vanilla and lemon extracts or just 2 tsp. lemon extract plus some zest.

I hope you come back here and tell us how your cake turned out...........????

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Oh yes, I'll take pictures of the steps along the way, post the recipe and instructions that I followed, either as a guide to what worked, or as a guide what not to do......

I think I'll traipse over to the lemon curd thread and see about using up the 12-14 yolks I'll have around. Hmm. Lemon curd with a hint of ginger?

Ever since I found fresh apple-lemon-ginger juice at my favorite grocer, I've been a sucker for the lemon-ginger combo. I'll try not to do overkill.

I can't thank you all enough for your help. I'm going to do my shopping either today or tomorrow, and the baking on Friday night.

I've never had home baked angel food cake, so maybe I'll actually like the fluffy stuff this time :raz: :wub:

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Ok, installment one: Prep.

I just finished, its in the oven, and I'm terrified. I looks glorious, puffy, cloudy. what if I screw uo the cool down and have a pancake instead?

I guess there's always Central Market.

I've run out of sugar, so I'll probably just do the curd when I get there. Its almost midnight and the cake has another 30 min to bake.

So.. Here's the recipe:

14 egg whites- room temp.

1 3/4 C sugar

1.5 C cake flour

3+- teaspoons lemon zest

2 TBS Lemon Juice

3 tsp ground ginger

2 chunks crystalized ginger

1 tsp Cream of Tartar

1/4 tsp salt

I wiped all bowls, spatulas and pans with vinegar to endure no greasy/fat residue.

I sifted half the sugar with all the flour and ginger, 3 times.

I combined the zest, the rest of the sugar, and the crystalized ginger in a food processor and ground for 2 minutes.

I beat the hell out of those whites for about 45 minutes to get them to the stiff peak stage. I SO need a stand mixer. I added the tartar right around the soft peak stage and about 10 min after, I started adding the sugar-zest mixture little a little at a time. Then I encorporated the juice and beat for an eternity. Once stiff peak was achieved, I dusted the top of the whites with the flour mixture and folded in with a rubber spatula. I repeated untill all flour was encorporated.

Then I gently poured into the 10 inch cake pan, and put into a 350 degree preheated oven. After about 10 min I turned it down to 325.. Its now 35 minutes into it, and she's lookin' fine. I'll add the pictures, then the final result later.

Here are the 14 egg whites, just waiting for attention. Obviously they have been bad eggs and need to be beaten.


The sugar-zest stuff


Soft peaks


Almost stiff peaks, about 30 min into the whipping session


Stiff, finally stiff!


Adding flour mixture


Into the oven!


Once again, thank you ALL for your help. Its up to me now not to screw it up!

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Thanks for posting what you did!!!!! Looks great!

I'm more then a little suprised it took that long to whip with-out a stand mixer.........I had no idea. Girl, you need to put that high up on your x-mas or birthday wish list, a stand mixer makes everything soooooo easy.

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Installment two: Finished product.

SHE DID IT! BY GEORGE, SHE DID IT. Ok, we did it, thanks a million, guys. :wub: I think that this cake will be worthy of Dad's 70th B-day.

Hopefully I'll have time to make that lemon curd.

The flavor, from what I can tell from the crumbs and scrapings, is pretty much exactly what I was going for. Subtle, yet both flavors discernable. Maybe more lemon next time? I'll add one more post after I get to eat some.

This is how my cake spent the night:


Final product:


From the top:


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While the cake was well recieved, it was the lemon curd that folks raved over. It was soooo much easier than I thought. Actually both cake and curd were, I don't know why I was in such a tizzy!

I'm in love with the curd. :wub:

Here it is:


Edited by nessa (log)
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Its not baking, per se, that scares me. Its new techniques, I guess?

I'm not a huge fan of flying blind in murky territory. Thats why it is SO stellar that there is a resource like egullet for me to come to, ask questions, do research and gird my loins. Moral support is nice too :wub:

Edited to add:

I can honestly say, however, that I'm not very likely to make many more angel food cakes. I think I prefer a moister, denser cake. But, I'm ever so glad that I can add this to my repertoire and can make it with confidence the next time the need arises.

The lemon curd, however, will be making a frequent appearance.

Edited by nessa (log)
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  • 11 months later...

If this topic has already been addressed, I apologize. I've been searching the forum without luck.

I am the happy owner of a new angel food cake pan. I love angel food cake & am anxious to try it out. Not being a professional, I find the recipes somewhat daunting.

So are the mixes any good? Is "from scratch" noticeably better?

Should I start separating a dozen eggs or can I take the slackers way out?

Eagerly awaiting your advice,

Pat w.


I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash


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having tried it both ways...box and from scratch....i can say i like it much better when made from scratch...even n my prediabetic days... but living with diabetes now...making from scratch becomes much more important as ive foudn angel food cake is one of the easiest cake recipes to convert to a diabetic version with splenda.... which i need to add for others out there who may also be diabetic and searchig for something diabetic friendly... converting the sugar to splenda in the recipe does not alter how the cake tastes..

but as to your question..you can take ti eaither way but i think you will get more satsifaction making it from scratch...its not real hard to do so long as you follow the method for what to do...if you dont feel confident enough...by all means. take the "slackers way out" as you mentioned...but nothing beats bake from scratch,,,that is personal opinion

a recipe is merely a suggestion

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