Do you have dessert plans for Valentine’s Day? An angel food cake is a low fat cake made mostly from egg whites, sugar, and flour. It’s pure white on the inside with a chewy light brown crust around the exterior. This cake is so light and fluffy, you will want a second piece!
1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar*
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (135g) cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 large egg whites, at room temperature*
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting, whipped cream, ice cream and berries
Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
In a food processor or blender, pulse the sugar until fine and powdery. Remove 1 cup and set aside to use in step 3; keep the rest inside the food processor. Add the cake flour and salt to the food processor. Pulse 5-10 times until sugar/flour/salt mixture is aerated and light.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar together on medium-low until foamy, about 1 minute. Switch to medium-high and slowly add the 1 cup of sugar you set aside. Whip until soft peaks form, about 5-6 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, then beat just until incorporated.
In 3 additions, slowly sift the flour mixture into the egg white mixture using a fine mesh strainer, gently folding with a rubber spatula after each addition. To avoid deflating or a dense cake, don’t add the flour mixture all at once. Sift and very slowly fold in several additions. This is important! Pour and spread batter into an ungreased angle food cake pan. Shimmy the pan on the counter to smooth down the surface.
Bake the cake until a cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. The cake will rise up very tall while baking. Remove from the oven, then cool the cake completely upside-down for about 1-2 hours. Once cooled, run a thin knife around the edges and gently tap the pan on the counter until the cake releases.
Adorn the cake with fresh flowers
Slice the cake with a sharp serrated knife. Regular knives can easily squish the cake. Serve with whipped cream , or ice cream and fresh berries.
Sugar: In this recipe, you use granulated sugar and pulse it in a food processor to make superfine sugar. If you have superfine sugar or caster sugar, use that. Pulse 3/4 cup of it with the dry ingredients in step 2. Use 1 cup of it in step 3.
Egg Whites: I recommend using fresh egg whites instead of egg white substitutes, previously frozen egg whites, or egg whites from a carton. Separate the eggs when they’re cold, then bring the egg whites to room temperature. Fresh room temperature egg whites whip into the fluffiest amount. Discard the extra yolks.
Pan: An angel food cake pan (aka tube pan) is a must. Do not use a bundt pan. Angel food cake requires the tube pan’s particular specifications. Some angel food cake pans come with little feet , which makes cooling the cake upside down easy. If your pan has feet, no need to use a wire rack. Whether your tube pan has feet or not, cool the cake upside down.