Angel food cake, or angel cake, is a sponge cake made with egg whites, flour, and sugar. A whipping agent (cream of tartar) is commonly added and it differs from other cakes because it uses no butter. Its aerated texture comes from whipped egg white.

Originated in the United States, it first became popular in the 19th century, it gained its unique reputation along with its name due to its light and fluffy texture.

The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes (2d ed., 1878) by Isabella Stewart contained the first recipe for Angel’s Food Cake. Its name comes from the texture which is “so light that angels could eat it and still fly without being weighted down”.

The recipe below with a royal icing is a classical one.

Level of difficulty : easy
Prep time :  35 min
Cook time : 50 min
Rest time : 3 hours
Total time : 4 h 25 min
Ingredients : 4 servings
Cake :
1.2 cup flour 
1 + 1/3 cup caster sugar
12 egg whites
1 pinch of fine salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/5 tsp coconut oil
Frosting :
1.5 cup cream (35% fat)
1/3 cup icing sugar

Cake :

  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, 150 g sugar and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla. Gradually add the remaining sugar, whisking until you get a firmer consistency but still supple.
  • Add the flour-sugar mixture, gently incorporating it, as you go, with a spatula.
  • Pour into a non-buttered, non-stick mold.
  • Preheat the oven to 170° C.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 min. The cake should be able to regain its shape if you press on the top.
  • Immediately place the mold upside down on the neck of a bottle to prevent it from sagging. Set aside at room temperature until completely cooled (at least 3 hours).
  • Remove from pan.

Icing :

  • Before serving, whip cream and sugar until firm.
  • Garnish the top of the cake with this glaze.
  • Optionally, it is possible to add toasted coconut flakes or a fruit coulis.
  • Enjoy !

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