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Angel Food Cake

Light, airy, and perfectly sweet, angel food cake is a timeless favorite that’s sure to impress!

angel food cake topped with fresh berries on a wooden serving tray

Angel food cake is a beloved dessert, thanks to its incredibly light and fluffy texture, which comes about by using whipped egg whites as the main leavening agent. Its subtle sweetness and versatility make it a perfect canvas for a variety of toppings, from fresh berries to rich chocolate sauce, making it a delightful treat for any occasion. This classic cake is sure to have you and your favorite dessert lovers coming back for more!

Why You’ll Love This Angel Food Cake Recipe

  • Light and fluffy. This angel food cake is incredibly airy and light, making each bite melt in your mouth.
  • Versatile. Perfect on its own or paired with a variety of toppings like whipped cream, fresh berries, or a drizzle of chocolate ganache.
  • Crowd-pleaser. Its delicate flavor and beautiful presentation make it an excellent choice for any gathering, from casual get-togethers to special occasions.
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Why Is It Called Angel Food Cake?

Angel food cake gets its name because it’s so light and airy, almost like something angels would eat. Its fluffy texture and white color make it seem heavenly. With whipped egg whites and no added fat, it’s a delicate, cloud-like treat that’s as delightful as it sounds.

overhead view of ingredients for angel food cake

What You’ll Need

See the recipe card below for the full recipe, including ingredient quantities and detailed instructions.

  • Cake flour – The lower protein content of cake flour versus all-purpose flour helps give this cake its light texture. Measure by weight or use the spoon and sweep method for best results. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
  • Superfine sugar – Also known as caster sugar. The small granules of the sugar dissolve more easily to create a light texture. If you don’t want to add another sugar to your pantry, learn how to make superfine sugar.
  • Egg whites – Separate the eggs while they’re cold and then let them come to room temperature before mixing.
  • Cream of tartar – This helps the egg whites maintain their volume and achieve the stiff peaks needed for the cake’s light, airy texture.
  • Salt – I recommend using a fine salt like table salt. Learn more: Types of Salt for Baking
  • Vanilla extract

What Can I Do With Leftover Egg Yolks?

Don’t let those egg yolks go to waste! Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze them by mixing with a pinch of salt or sugar to prevent them from gelling. You can then use them in cooking and baking recipes that need them. Chocolate croissant bread pudding and almond gâteau breton each use 6 egg yolks, while pecan pie bars need 4. And some cookie recipes like chewy chocolate chip cookies, white chocolate macadamia cookies, and almond cookies all need an extra egg yolk.

How to Make Angel Food Cake

  • Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 325°F. Set aside a 10-inch tube pan or angel food cake pan.
  • Sift. Sift together the cake flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar.
  • Beat the egg whites. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whip the egg whites until they’re foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt, and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Then add the remaining sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Finish mixing. Fold in the vanilla, and then gradually fold in the flour mixture just until combined.
  • Bake. Spoon the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed gently.
  • Cool. Invert the pan onto a wire rack and let the cake cool completely. Run a knife around the edges of the cooled cake and remove from the pan.

Why Is Angel Food Cake Cooled Upside Down?

Cooling angel food cake upside down helps prevent it from collapsing and losing its lofty texture. This technique allows the cake to set while maintaining its height. Not greasing the pan means the cake will grab onto the sides of the pan and rise up nice and tall. You’ll likely need to use a knife to loosen the cake from the pan once it’s cooled. But gravity may let it release from the pan all on its own. 

angel food cake topped with fresh berries with a bowl of whipped cream in the background

Tips for Success

  • Use the right pan. An angel food cake pan or tube pan is essential for making this cake. You can use a 1- or 2-piece pan. Unless you’re going to make this type of cake frequently, a single piece tube pan will serve you well without needing a specialized pan. (I’ve linked to both kinds below the recipe.)
  • Let the egg whites come to room temperature. They’ll whip more quickly and easily, providing a more stable meringue with greater volume. Just remember that they’ll separate more easily when they’re cold, so be sure to do that first.
  • Know when you have stiff peaks. When whipping the egg whites, look for them to turn glossy and form peaks that stand straight up without drooping when you lift the whisk. The mixture should hold its shape and not slide around in the bowl.
  • Mix gently. When adding the flour mixture, fold it in gently. Make slow, circular motions with a spatula from the bottom of the bowl, turning it over the top. Avoid vigorous stirring to preserve the airiness of the egg white mixture.
partially sliced angel food cake on a wooden cake plate


I don’t recommend aggressive tinkering with this recipe, as the structure and texture of the cake are dependent on the ratio of ingredients. However, you can easily add a bit of lemon zest (or any citrus zest) or use almond extract (or another favorite extract) if you like.

Serving Suggestions

There are so many delicious ways to serve your homemade angel food cake. Keep it simple or go all out! Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Whipped cream. A dollop of sweetened whipped cream pairs wonderfully with angel food cake. Make it with vanilla extract for a classic topping, or experiment with different flavors like almond or lemon. Learn more: How to Make Whipped Cream
  • Fresh fruit. Decorate the cake with your favorite fresh fruits or serve them alongside slices of cake. Berries are a great pairing, but don’t forget about stone fruits like peaches, plums, and cherries, or tropical flavors like pineapple, mango, and kiwi.
  • Lemon curd. Pair with a dollop of tangy lemon curd for a bright and zesty flavor.
  • Fruit compote. Serve with blueberry compote, apple compote, or another favorite flavor.
  • Yogurt and honey. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey for a lighter, tangy option.
  • Chocolate ganache. Drizzle with a rich chocolate ganache for a decadent touch.
  • Caramel sauce. Drizzle with store-bought or homemade caramel sauce for a sweet and buttery finish.
a slice of angel food cake on a white plate with fresh berries

How to Store

Store the cooled cake in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. I don’t recommend refrigerating the cake, as it may not retain the same light, fluffy texture.

Can This Cake Be Frozen?

Yes, you can freeze angel food cake. Wrap the cooled cake or individual slices in plastic wrap. For an extra layer of protection, wrap it again in aluminum foil or place in an airtight, freezer-safe container or resealable bag. Properly stored, it should keep in the freezer up to 4 months. Thaw for a few hours at room temperature before serving.

a slice of angel food cake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries

Angel Food Cake

Yield 10 to 14 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

This classic Angel Food Cake is light, fluffy, and perfect for any occasion. Easy to make and wonderfully versatile, it pairs beautifully with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or your favorite toppings.

angel food cake topped with fresh berries on a wooden serving tray


  • 1 cup (120g) cake flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (338g) superfine sugar, divided
  • 12 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • fresh berries and whipped cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F 
  2. Sift together the cake flour with 1/2 cup (113g) of caster sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Then add the cream of tartar and salt, and increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.
  4. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup (225g) of sugar. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. The egg white mixture should hold its form on the whisk.
  5. Add the vanilla extract to the egg white mixture and gently fold in with a spatula.
  6. Sprinkle the sifted flour mixture over the egg white mixture in small batches. Gently fold in each addition until just combined. Be careful not to deflate the mixture by over mixing. 
  7. Spoon the batter into an un-greased angel food cake pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top and gently tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely upside down in the pan to avoid collapsing the cake. 
  9. Once completely cooled, run a knife around the edges of the pan and remove the cake from the pan.
  10. Serve slices of angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream, if desired.


Angel food cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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