Angel Food Cake

Angel food cake is the lightest and fluffiest cake you’ll ever have. It’s made with just three main ingredients – egg whites, sugar and cake flour. It’s basically a cloud cake that you can serve on it’s own with a side of cream and/or fruit or use it in layer cakes or trifles, etc. 

Why you’ll love angel food cake

  • Angel food cake is the lightest and most airy type of sponge.
  • It uses just three main ingredients – egg whites, sugar and cake flour – and basically two main steps. 
  • Can be served on its own – with powdered sugar, fruit, chantilly cream, etc. – or used in a layer cake or a trifle. 

If you want to use the egg yolks too, make sure to download my daffodil cake recipe below. It’s basically an angel food cake that uses both the egg whites and yolks to make separate batters and swirl them together. That recipe can be used in place of angel food cake in other recipes like trifles, etc. 

I used angel food to make my chantilly cake and if you’re into light and fluffy types of cakes I have several for you! I think you’ll love my Chantilly Cake, Lemon Curd Cake, Cranberry Orange Cake and my beloved Tiramisu Cake!

What is angel food cake 

Angel food cake is one of the most basic types of sponge cakes. It’s made with just egg whites, sugar and cake flour (lemon juice, salt, vanilla are optional but recommended).

The egg whites are whipped with the sugar to give to give the cake volume and help it rise. Since there’s no fat in the whole recipe, the whipped egg whites aren’t weighed down by anything resulting in the lightest possible texture.

The cake is very pale, super light textured and super spongy. It pairs exceptionally well with chantilly cream and fresh fruits.


  • Flour: Angel food cake is super delicate and requires cake flour. It can technically be subbed for all-purpose flour but you’ll risk a more “rubbery” texture because there’s a higher protein content and we’re already working with a cake made of only egg whites and no fat.
    • I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is so often over measured. 
    • If you do sub the cake flour for all-purpose flour, sub 1 Tbsp of the flour for cornstarch.
    • My favorite cake flour is King Arthurs; I find that some other ones taste kind of funny… 
  • Sugar: Angel food cake generally uses superfine sugar but to be honest I didn’t notice much of a difference when I used granulated sugar. You can also pulse granulated sugar in a food processor to get it finer grain – just pulse until the sugar looks like a cross between granulated sugar and powdered sugar. It’s not super necessary but lends to that very fine and airy texture.  
  • Eggs: Angel food cake uses all egg whites. It’s generally recommended to use fresh eggs to get the best rise but you can use pasteurized egg whites from the carton too – it just might not be as consistent results. Fresh egg whites do whip up significantly quicker and they’re more stable but it’s definitely possible with carton egg whites.
    • If you’re skeptical you can also do half fresh and half carton egg whites.  
  • Vanilla: The main flavor here is vanilla so I like to use vanilla bean paste. Vanilla extract and vanilla beans also work, the higher the quality the better the flavor. 
  • Baking Powder: Angel food gets its rise from whipping the egg whites and it does not use any sort of chemical leavener. If you’re skeptical or have had problems with rising, you could add a little baking powder as insurance lol . I would do 1 tsp for this recipe. Sift it in with the flour. 
  • Acid: acid helps stabilize the meringue, giving it a better rise so I like to add a tablespoon of lemon juice to my egg whites. 1 tsp of cream of tarter would also work or 1-2 tsp of vinegar.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Start by beating the egg whites with the sugar until it’s a thick fluffy meringue that forms SOFT peaks (you can see how my peak flopped over in the photo). 

Step 2: Add the vanilla and sift the flour on top of the meringue, mix the flour just until the last streak is combined (you can fold it with a spatula or mix with the beater on medium-low speed – don’t over mix). Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and fold it a couple of times.

Step 3: Spread the batter into an UN-GREASED tube pan and bake for about 35 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the pan from the oven and flip upside onto a cooling rack/tray. Let the cake cool upside down in the pan (it won’t fall out if the pan wasn’t greased) until it’s COMPLETELY cooled. If it’s even still slightly warm, angel food cake will sink/shrivel up if you take it out. 

Step 5: Use a butter knife to release the cooled cake from the pan once it’s cooled, and remove the cake. Top the cake with powdered sugar, fresh fruit, chantilly cream or use as desired. 

How to make angel food cake in different pans

The reason angel food cake is made in a tube pan is because the pan needs to not be greased in order for it to rise. This means the cake will stick to the pan and needs to be released by pushing it through or using a butter knife or something similar.

The extra tube in the middle also gives the angel food cake some extra surface area to “cling onto”. Since there’s not baking powder or baking soda in the recipe, the batter “clings” to the pan to rise.

Angel food cake can be made in different pans as well but not a bundt pan because it will just stick to all the crevices in a bundt pan.

The cake can be made in:

  • three or four 6 inch pans
  • two or three 8 inch pans
  • two or three 9 inch pans
  • 10×3 square pan
  • 9×13 inch pans

How to serve angel food cake

Angel food cake is generally just served with a dusting of powdered sugar and some fresh fruit. If you’re feeling fancy you can also make a little chantilly cream to dollop on top. 

Angel food cake is quite delicate but it can also be used as a layer of cake. I recommend frosting it with chantilly cream, like I did my chantilly cake, or diplomat cream as the light textures will pair well together. The refrigerator will be your best friend here.

I don’t recommend filling the cake with buttercream but if you want to use buttercream to make a damn for a softer filling then Swiss Meringue buttercream or American buttercream are good options. You can see how I do that in my cranberry orange cake

Angel food cake can also be used to make trifles. It’s great because it absorbs the liquid from fruits well and the light texture pairs beautifully with pastry cream and chantilly cream. 

Expert tips on getting the perfect cake 

  • Thoroughly clean your bowl, whisk, spatula and baking pan before using them. A metal bowl is best as it doesn’t hold on to as much residue. Feel free to whip them all down with a tiny bit of vinegar to ensure there is no fat residue left behind. 
  • Don’t drop any egg yolks in with the whites – fat will break down the meringue. 
  • Don’t swap ingredients unless I mentioned them in the ingredient section above.
  • Don’t over-mix the cake at any stage. 
  • Don’t reduce the sugar in the cake (I promise it’s not overly sweet). 
  • Weigh the ingredients with a digital scale.
  • Don’t skip sifting the sugar and flour. 
  • DON’T grease the pan – it will not rise. 
  • Use a light colored stainless steel cake pan for a more even bake and browning. 
  • Don’t rush the cooling process for cake. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use carton egg whites?

You can use pasteurized egg whites from the carton but fresh egg whites do whip up significantly quicker and they’re more stable. It’s definitely possible with carton egg whites though. 
If you’re skeptical you can also do half fresh and half carton egg whites. 

How do I know when it’s done baking?

The cake should no longer look wet on top and it should be a light golden brown color. Press on the tallest part and it should bounce back.

Why is my angel food cake rubbery?

If your cake turns out rubbery, that generally comes from overmixing the batter. Over-beating the meringue will dehydrate the egg whites even more and the cake will be more dry and rubbery.
Also don’t over-mix after adding the flour or it will develop more gluten and the result in a chewier/rubbery cake.

Why didn’t my angel food cake rise?

If you ended up with a flat, dense cake, that generally happens when fat has been introduced. Fat breaks down the meringue and deflates the cake so it doesn’t rise sufficiently to bake. Make sure all of your utensils, including your baking pan, are thoroughly cleaned. Wipe it with a little vinegar if you have to. 
Make sure you’re beating the meringue enough – you want it to be thick and fluffy and starting to hold a peak but not stiff. 
Feel free to also add 1 tsp of baking powder with the flour if you are struggling with this. The baking powder will make the cake rise regardless of whether or not the meringue is stable. 

Can I make it ahead of time?

Just like most cakes, angel food cake is best fresh but it can certainly be made ahead of time. 
If it’s just 1-2 days, cover it as soon as it’s cooled and leave it at room temperature. If it’s longer, refrigerate it for a few days or freeze for up to a few weeks. Bring it back to room temperature before serving or using.

How to store a angel food cake

Cover the cake with foil, a cake dome or a cake carrier and leave at room temperature for 1-2 days or refrigerate for up to a week. 

If it’s any longer, feel free to freeze the cake. Slice it and place the slices in an airtight container, wrap them individually with plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag or just wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap followed by foil and then freeze for up to a couple of months. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. 

If you make this angel food cake, I’d love it if you left a star rating for me. If it’s less than five stars, please leave a comment with the rating so I know why! 🙂

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

angel food cake

Angel Food Cake Recipe

Angel food cake is the lightest and fluffiest cake you’ll ever have. It’s made with just three main ingredients – egg whites, sugar and cake flour. It’s basically a cloud cake that you can serve on it’s own with a side of cream and/or fruit or use it in layer cakes or trifles, etc. 
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Course Cakes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 179 kcal


Angel Food Cake

  • 12 large (360g) egg whites room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice OR 1 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 3/4 cup (350g) granulated or superfine sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 1/4 cup (144g) cake flour spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt


Angel Food Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/176C convection (325F/163C conventional) and line two ungreased 8 inch baking pans with parchment paper.
  • Make sure to clean your tube pan, metal bowl and beater for the stand mixer well. I wipe it with a little vinegar after cleaning to make sure there is no greasy residue.
  • Place the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer with the lemon juice (or cream of tarter) and turn the mixer up to medium-high speed.
    12 large (360g) egg whites, 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Beat for a minute or so and when the egg whites look frothy, stream the sugar into the bowl with the mixer going. It should take about a minute to get all the sugar in slowly.
    1 3/4 cup (350g) granulated or superfine sugar
  • Continue beating for a few minutes, just until the meringue reaches a soft peak (see image in blog post). Add the vanilla and mix again, just until it's combined.
    2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Sift in the cake flour and salt, turn the mixer up to medium-low speed, just until the flour is mostly combined, about 30-60 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the edge of the bowl and fold the batter a couple more times until it's well combined.
    1 1/4 cup (144g) cake flour, 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • Spread the cake into the UN-GREASED tube pan. Make sure to spread the batter evenly with an offset spatula or spoon because the lack of fat will prevent it from spreading and if left uneven, it will bake uneven.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes. Press gently on the tallest part and and there should be a slight bounce/resistance and no wet batter.
  • Remove from the oven and flip over onto a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely to room temperature, a few hours.
  • Serve with powdered sugar, chantilly cream, fresh fruit, etc.


Best served fresh but can be stored covered at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for a few more days.
*if you’re having trouble with the cake rising, you can add 1 tsp baking powder to it.


Calories: 179kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 5gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 104mgPotassium: 70mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 0.3IUVitamin C: 0.5mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.2mg
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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    So delicious! The best angel food cake I’ve ever made and probably ever had! I made sure to weigh my whites since I raise bantams, so I ended up cracking a lot of eggs to get to 360 grams-lol. However, I did have trouble seperating the room temperature eggs, so when I make this next time, I will seperate them first and then allow to come to room temperature, as cold eggs are so much easier to seperate! I will say that using vanilla paste is worth it in this recipe! I buy little bottles of it from trader joe’s every now and again and only save it for special occasions, and let me just say, that extra vanilla flavor just brought the cake over the top!

    Also, I believe there is a slight typo in the recipe- it says in the first line of instructions to line two baking pans with parchment paper, but then refers to a tube pan (without parchment paper) later in the recipe, which is what I used.