If you are an angel food cake lover like we are, then this recipe is for you. If you can just take or leave an angel food cake, then I promise you that you will become a homemade angel food cake lover if you try this particular recipe. It is that good!
This recipe is one that Mary, my childhood best friend’s mom, always made. Today Mary is in her nineties and still cooks and bakes up a storm. She has some of the best recipes and is always willing to share them with anyone who asks. She is just the sweetest person and when I think of her it usually has something to do with her baked goodies! 🙂
This is one of those cakes that is so delicious and elegant in its pure simplicity. It doesn’t need a lot of fanfare or accompaniments; it is at its absolute best in its most basic, simple form. This is how we enjoy it most, when it is plain and simple.
After we had made this cake and it had cooled, I took a large slice over to my son’s friend who lives next door. We had recently had several inches of snow fall and he was out shoveling. He stopped shoveling to eat it. I assumed he would take it inside and eat it later when he had finished shoveling. Nope, he stood right outside and ate the whole piece. According to him, it was the “most moist and delicious angel food cake” he had ever had.
He and my son are 24 now and I had assumed we had made it when he had been around here hanging out, but he told me he had never had it before. He said that he would have remembered having it because it was so good! So, if a 24 year old guy is saying how delicious and amazing something is then I take that as an extremely high compliment! Which means that you can take it that you really should try this particular homemade angel food cake recipe. 🙂
Why Cake Flour?
Before we get to the recipe, I want to talk a minute about cake flour. The reason this recipe calls for cake flour is because cake flour is low in protein and there is less gluten than all purpose flour. Using all purpose flour instead of cake flour will make your cake tougher instead of softer. So for a homemade angel food cake you always want to use cake flour.
Granulated Sugar with Confectioners’ Sugar
We also need to talk about sugar when making an angel food cake. A combination of granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar work best. Too much granulated sugar causes a heavy syrup to form and will weigh down the cake. Confectioners’ sugar helps the cake flour particles to disperse more evenly, which makes it easier to fold into the egg whites.
Egg whites are the last thing we are going to talk about before getting to our recipe. Only the egg whites are used in angel food cake recipes. The yolks are not used at all. You also want to set your eggs out before starting the baking process so they can get to room temperature. They need to be room temperature because they whip up lighter and will give you a much fluffier cake.
You can see in the picture below how light and airy the cake is.
Now that we are done talking about some of the science behind why we have to do things a certain way, lets bake our cake!
Homemade Angel Food Cake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 12 extra large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sift together 3 times the cake flour and confectioners' sugar. Set aside. *Make sure to sift these together 3 different times.*
- In a large mixing bowl add the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer until foamy.
- While the mixer is still mixing, gradually add in the granulated sugar 2 tablespoons at a time. *Make sure to only add 2 tablespoons at a time.* Continue beating until the meringue holds stiff peaks (shown in the picture). This will take 6-10 minutes on medium high speed.
- Fold in the almond and vanilla extracts.
- Finally, get the cake flour and confectioners' sugar that you set aside at the beginning. Gently fold into the meringue just until the cake flour and confectioners' sugar disappears.
- Push the batter into an ungreased tube pan. *Make sure the tube pan is not greased.* Gently cut through the batter with a knife (this removes the air pockets).
- Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 25-30 minutes. Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched and the top is a light golden brown.
- Remove from oven and place upside down. Our angel food pan has 3 tabs at the top so we set the three tabs on 3 cans of food. Let hang until completely cooled.
- The best part....serve and enjoy!
Top It Off!
As I stated earlier, we love our homemade angel food cake simple and plain. But if that isn’t your thing you can always add you favorite icing, fruit with syrup, drizzle with chocolate or caramel syrup or serve with a flavored ice cream. You can also add fruit, chocolate chips or different flavored extracts to the batter. Choose whatever your family would like the best.
This is one of those recipes that takes me back to my childhood and just makes me feel good. One of the really neat things about this recipe is that it is in Mary’s handwriting. Those of you who love to cook and bake can appreciate how wonderful it is when the recipe is handwritten from someone you love. It just makes it even more special! 🙂
We hope you have a great day and truly enjoy one of my personal favorite childhood recipes.