Angel Food Cake – Straight From Heaven, Not From A Box (FAK Friday)

Medium Peaks - Meringue
Once you know how to make a meringue, you might as well have a super power
Angel Food Cake and I, we have a bit of a history. Honestly, we got off to a rocky start. My first attempts were high on flavor, but they quite literally fell flat. They were heavy, and dense, and not really very angelic… I made cake after cake – dozens of them! – trying to make one worthy of its heavenly title.

I became obsessed.

I read every recipe, memorized every tip and trick… I watched every video, and practiced every technique. I bought new oven thermometers, triple checked my measurements, and danced around a bonfire chanting hakuna matata… but still, the cake was a flop.

All I wanted was a soft as down, light as air, halo-wearing, beaming-with-inner-light angel food cake. Was that too much to ask?

I hate to admit stuff like this. It isn’t like me to fail over, and over, and over, and over… it just isn’t my style. If something goes wrong, I find what it is and I fix it. Simple as that. But not this time, it seemed. I was stumped. Beat. Confounded. More than that, I was ashamed – I mean, come on! How hard can it be?

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

Finally I got up the nerve to revisit my arch nemesis, The Angel Food, determined to conquer it once and for all. I strapped on my apron, pulled up my oven mitts, and adorned myself with the flour-dusted war paint of my peoples. What I discovered that day in the kitchen was nothing short of a revelation – the problem I faced was not with a cake, but with myself. Somewhere along the way, I had made a mistake, an oversight, and convinced myself so thoroughly that I knew what I was doing it became impossible to see. My failure, as it turns out, was in trying too damn hard.

(If you must know, a trusted source gave the wrong amount of flour, which I was convinced was correct – too little flour in an angel food cake will cause it to rise in the oven, then collapse back on itself because there isn’t enough structure to support the meringue).

Did I mention I hate to admit these things? It took me a year and a half, and countless test cakes to realize this one simple mistake. So why do I bother telling you? Because I don’t regret a thing. There’s an important lesson to be found here, and that is the ability to better recognize my own blind spots. Sometimes you stare at something long enough, you get tunnel vision. I also embarked on a journey I never would have otherwise gone on to learn everything I could about how to make the perfect angel food. And you know what? It’s not that hard!

Heavenly Angel Food CakeAngel Food Cake

Soft as down, light as air, halo-wearing, beaming-with-inner-light angel food cake

It’s FAK Friday (Feeding my Appetite for Knowledge), and this week I want to share everything I know about Angel Food Cake. Last week I talked about how to leaven baked goods with baking soda, baking powder, and yeast… unlike other cakes, Angel Foods are leavened entirely by air! I made some rookie mistakes when first attempting this cake, and in my quest to figure out what I was doing wrong I became familiar with every aspect of what makes an Angel Food great. Now I’m a meringue-making master! Hopefully the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way will provide the answers for anyone else struggling with these light and airy cakes, and make the whole process a little easier for those attempting them for the first time. Though it may seem complicated at first, perfect Angel Food is well worth the effort.  I’ve tried to be as detailed as I can, but if something is missing or you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below!


Angel Food Cake

Everything You Need To Know, Including The Recipe
Angel food cakes are made up of three main things – egg whites, sugar, and cake flour. They are the lightest and airiest of all cakes, and thus are said to be the ‘food of the angels’. They are naturally dairy and fat free, but are commonly served with a a dollop of irony – fresh whipped cream. There are a few key things you need to know to make a good angel food cake, but once you understand the basics the rest can be fairly simple.I’ve included just about everything I know, but if you have any questions don’t hesitation to ask. At the bottom of the post you’ll find the recipe – who knows, tonight you could be dining with angels!

The Equipment:

Angel Foods are baked in something called a ‘tube pan’, or sometimes even called an ‘angel food pan’. These have a hollow tube running through the middle which allows the cake to rise and bake evenly. Whatever you do, do not buy a non-stick tube pan, and do not grease your pan. For an angel food cake to rise, it literally needs to climb the sides of the pan. Greasing the pan would make that impossible, and would also deflate your delicate meringue.

You’ll also need a hand or stand mixer (whisking manually is possible, but I don’t recommend it), and a large metal mixing bowl. I prefer a hand mixer because it’s easy to get down to the bottom of the bowl, where some stand mixers can’t reach.

It is extremely important when whipping egg whites that there be no fat, grease, oil, or yolks anywhere! Before making your angel food, make sure all of your bowls, beaters, and utensils are thoroughly cleaned. After a quick wash, I like to put my whisk and everything into my mixing bowl, then fill it with warm water and a splash of white vinegar and swish everything around. The vinegar will help remove any traces of grease, and after a quick rinse and dry everything is ready to use.

The Flour:

Angel food cakes are made with a special kind of flour called cake flour. Cake flour is very finely milled, and is made from something called soft wheat, which contains less gluten than regular wheat. Less gluten means the flour won’t become tough or chewy, which is important for delicate cakes, and the lighter texture makes it easier to incorporate into a meringue.

Sifting the Flour

To properly measure the flour, spoon it lightly into a measuring cup, then level the surface – do not pack the flour into the cup, as this will result in too much flour and a dense, heavier cake. Alternatively, measure the flour by weight using a kitchen scale. This is the most accurate method.

When making angel food, your flour should be sifted multiple times to incorporate air and make it even lighter. Some recipes will tell you to sift upwards of ten times, but at some point you have to say enough is enough. I find you only really need to sift 2-3 times to get good results.

I like to sift my flour over a sheet of parchment paper, which makes it easy to funnel back into my sifter without making a mess.

The Meringue:

Angel Food Cakes are made up primarily of egg whites, which are whipped with sugar (and a little cream of tartar or other acid) to make a meringue. The most important thing when whipping egg whites is that there be no fat, grease, or oil anywhere near them – be extra careful when separating your eggs to not break the yolks. The best way to do this is to use three separate (and clean) bowls. Separate your white into bowl A., deposit the yolk in bowl B., and then dump the cleanly separated white into bowl C., and repeat. This way if a bit of yolk gets into bowl A., you’ll have contaminated one egg white instead of the whole batch. If a yolk breaks, discard the white (or set it aside and make an omelet), clean the bowl, and try again.

Separating Egg Whites
Separating the Whites

Egg whites can also be frozen in ice cube trays and then stored in the freezer in zip-top baggies for up to a few months. Whenever I make ice cream or custards which use a lot of egg yolks, I save the whites in the freezer. If you plan to use frozen egg whites, thaw them at room temperature well in advance. Whether fresh or frozen, egg whites whip best at room temperature or slightly above – you can set them out in a sealed container to warm up slowly, or you can set your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes prior to separating them.

(There’s a debate about whether or not pasteurized, cartoned egg whites can be used. Some say they work like a charm, others say not at all. In my experience they make decent meringues, but not as good as freshly separated whites. If you choose to try pasteurized egg whites, be certain to read the list of ingredients – avoid anything that contains water, egg ‘product’ or other additives. Look for 100% egg whites.)

There are three stages to whipping egg whites – they are called soft peaks, medium peaks, and stiff peaks. You can recognize these by stopping the beaters, and lifting them slowly out of the meringue. If the whites fall back on themselves, they are soft peaks. If they hold their shape but droop at the tip, they are medium peaks. If they stand straight up without drooping, they are stiff peaks. If whipped too long, the whites will lose their glossy sheen, begin to deflate, and eventually turn into an almost styrofoam consistency – this is called ‘over whipped’ and is not good! To help prevent your whites from over whipping, keep a close eye on them and beat at medium (not full) speed. If your whites become over whipped, discard them and start again.  See the photo below for a visual of soft, medium, and stiff peaks.

Guide To Whipping Meringue
Soft Peaks                                                   Medium Peaks                                                     Stiff Peaks
Protein Structure of Eggwhites
Soft Peaks                                                   Medium Peaks                                                     Stiff Peaks

When egg whites are whipped, air forms tiny bubbles trapped within a structure of proteins. You can think of them like the expanding ball in the photos above. These proteins stretch and expand around the air to create a fluffy, cloud-like meringue. The proteins in egg whites are most flexible when they’re at room temperature, so be sure to take them out of the fridge at least an hour or two before you’re ready to make your meringue. And remember, if even a single drop of fat or yolk is present, the oil will grease the proteins and they will collapse. Imagine a pyramid of cheerleaders trying to hold each other up… now imagine them all slippery with grease. See? Wait, don’t get too carried away with that thought!

When making an angel food cake, medium peaks are best. When the cake goes into the oven, all those bubbles of air will expand, causing the cake to rise… but if the meringue is taken all the way to stiff peaks, the proteins will have already stretched to their maximum, and they won’t be able to make way for the expanding bubbles, resulting in a denser, chewier cake. The photo at the top of this post shows a good level of medium peaks for making angel foods.

The Sugar:

The sugar is separated into two parts – half is added to the meringue, and half is sifted with the flour. Adding the sugar to the meringue helps to stabilize the protein structure, and sifting the rest with the flour helps to lighten the flour mixture and make it easier to incorporate. Because angel food cakes contain no fat at all, sugar also acts as a tenderizer, making the cake soft and delicate instead of rubbery like, well… scrambled egg whites!

Many recipes (including the one given below) suggest spinning regular granulated sugar in a food processor to create super-fine sugar. This will help the sugar incorporate quickly into the meringue, but is not absolutely necessary. Plain granulated sugar will work in a pinch. (Some recipes suggest using confectioner’s sugar, which contains corn starch. Corn starch can help stabilize a meringue even further, but I find I prefer the texture of a cake made with regular granulated sugar).


Once the flour is sifted and the meringue is whipped, the two need to come together. This is done by lightly sifting or spooning the flour over the meringue, and folding gently with a flexible spatula. To fold, cut through the middle of the meringue with the edge of the spatula, then bring the spatula towards you up the side of the bowl, literally folding the meringue up and over itself. Give the bowl a turn, and repeat the motion. Down the middle, up the side. Once you have a fresh surface of meringue, sift more flour over the top and repeat. The goal of folding is to incorporate the flour as gently as possible, so as not to pop all those delicate air bubbles and deflate the meringue. Try to do this in as few motions as possible, and do not stir! As soon as all of the flour is incorporated, stop. Don’t worry if it looks lumpy or rough, it’s okay.

Angel Food (Upside-Down) Cake
Check it out – I made an upside-down cake!


The temperature at which an angel food is baked is very important – if it’s too low, the cake won’t rise like it should. If it’s too high, the top of the cake will set before the cake has fully risen, and it will stifle itself. Either way, the result is a less-than-airy angel food.

The temperature that works best for me is right around 350° F, but I’ve seen recipes ranging anywhere from 325° F – 375° F – what works for some might not work for others, especially if you’re in a humid climate or at high altitude. If you’re doing everything else right and your cake is still failing, try changing the temperature.

After baking, angel foods are immediately inverted (turned completely upside-down) to cool. This can be done by balancing the center tube of the pan over a bottle of wine or vinegar (see the photo below), or some angel food pans come with little metal feet which will hold the cake upside down right on the counter. My pan has those little feet, but I still prefer the old-fashioned bottle trick. Suspending the cake upside down while it cools helps the cake hold on to its height, and makes for a lighter, airier texture.

Altitude & Humidity:

Angel food can be somewhat sensitive to external conditions. If you live in a particularly humid area it may be necessary to add a dash more flour, or a touch of corn starch, to help stabilize your meringue. If you live at high altitudes you may find it necessary to increase the temperature slightly, or reduce the amount of sugar. Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience baking in these conditions, so I can’t give any exact instructions!


Perfect Angel Food Cake
Perfect Angel Food

Heavenly Angel Food Cake
Adapted from the gods… and Alton Brown
Makes one 10″ angel food cake

1 cup cake flour (112g.), sifted after measuring
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (about 12.5oz. by weight)
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (about 12 ounces by weight, or about 9-10 large eggs), room temperature*
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (or other flavoring, such as orange, lemon, or more vanilla)

*Many recipes call for “12 large egg whites”, but I find that to be almost half a cup too much liquid. Perhaps I have ginormous chickens, but either way I always prefer to measure by volume because size can vary so greatly.

1.   Preheat your oven to 350° F. Clean your mixing bowl, beaters, and utensils thoroughly, and rinse with warm water and a splash of white vinegar to remove any grease. Separate your egg whites and bring them to room temperature.
2.    Spin the sugar in a blender or food processor for 30-60 seconds, or until finely ground (not powdered). Add half of the sugar to the cake flour, and set the other half aside.
3.    Sift together the flour, half of the sugar, and salt. Sift at least 2-3 times to make sure everything is evenly mixed and thoroughly aerated. I like to do this over a sheet of parchment paper so I can easily funnel the flour back into my sifter again and again.
4.    Begin whipping your egg whites at low to medium speed. Once they start to become frothy, add the cream of tartar and increase the speed of your mixer to medium-high. I prefer to mix at medium speed, to ensure my egg whites don’t become over whipped.
5.    Once the egg whites start to look fluffy and white, sprinkle in the reserved sugar 1-2 TBSP at a time, while mixing. Once all of the sugar is added, the meringue should look glossy and billowy. Continue to whip until medium peaks form (see above notes and photos for how to tell when you have medium peaks). In the last couple minutes of whipping, add your extracts.
6.   Sift about 1/3rd of the flour/sugar/salt mixture over the top of the meringue, and fold gently with a flexible rubber spatula. Fold with a light hand so as not to deflate the meringue (see above notes on how to fold). Once the flour is just barely incorporated, stop folding – it’s okay if it still looks a little shaggy. Repeat two more times with the remaining flour, folding until just barely incorporated.
7.   Gently pour your angel food batter into a clean, ungreased angel food or tube pan. Gently twist the pan back and forth to settle the batter – this will get rid of any large pockets of air, and will also ensure that the batter is in full contact with the sides of the pan, which will help it rise. Whatever you do, do not drop the pan against the counter, as this will pop the tiny air bubbles in the meringue!
8.    Bake the cake on the middle-lower rack for about 35 minutes, or until the top is evenly golden brown. Do not open the oven door during the first 30 minutes of baking, as the gust of cool air may deflate your cake!
9.    Once done, immediately invert the entire pan over a bottle of wine or vinegar (some angel food pans come with little metal feet, and can be flipped upside down right on the counter). Let the cake cool completely while suspsended.
10.   Once cool, use a thin knife to cut around the edges of the pan. Remove the cake from the sides of the pan, then cut underneath to separate it from the bottom/tube part. Slice the cake with a serrated knife, and serve as is or with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Enjoy!

Once completely cooled, angel food cake can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to a few days.

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44 Responses to Angel Food Cake – Straight From Heaven, Not From A Box (FAK Friday)

  1. Ste January 26, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    That’s great! Thank you for all this. I wanted to do the angel cake but since I am in living temporary in London I can’t because the cake pan it’s not with me at the moment and I don’t want to buy another one! I can’t wait to follow you suggestions I will do it when back in my country! Cheers

    • Willow January 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      You’re welcome – I hope my tips help!

    • Jacqueline P January 28, 2015 at 5:20 am #

      Any suggestions for cupcakes that do not deflate?

      • Willow Arlen January 28, 2015 at 10:20 am #

        Hi Jacqueline — I wish I knew! I’ve never attempted angel food cupcakes, myself. I once asked another blogger who had a recipe for them on her site, and she said she just baked them as she would any other cupcake, and didn’t have a problem with them deflating. Perhaps she used a little extra flour in her recipe to give them a bit more structure? It’s possible that since they’re so small, they don’t weigh enough to deflate, but I always thought they would. Sorry I can’t be more helpful on this one — I’ll have to try it sometime so I have a better answer!

  2. unravelandmend January 26, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Thanks for this! It’s inspired me to dig out my grandmother’s angel food cake tin (which immigrated with me to the UK from Texas) and get baking! In the summer, I served it with whipped cream and strawberries. Mmm….

    • Willow January 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      Sounds wonderful! Whipped cream and strawberries are my favorite way to eat angel food. :)

  3. Nadja January 26, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    Wow, that’s a very detailed instruction! Sadly, I don’t own an angel food cake tin.


    • Willow January 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      A tube pan is definitely a specialty item… there aren’t many recipes that require them. But they’re fairly inexpensive, too. Or you could try borrowing one from someone – just tell them you’ll return it with a slice of cake!

  4. shannon weber January 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Confession: i don’t think i’ve ever had homemade angel food cake, and i know for sure i haven’t made it. But i CAN make a meringue; this i do know. “Adapted from the gods”’re not kidding there. :) I even have the tube pan.

    • Willow January 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      Haha, don’t worry, Shannon – you’re not alone! A lot of people think they’re too tough to make from scratch (heck, I thought that for a long time – separating almost a dozen eggs? Pain in the butt!) but they are so worth it. Every year for as long as I can remember my dad has asked for one thing for his birthday – angel food. You can bet I know my way around a box of cake mix! Now that I know how to make it from scratch, though, there’s no going back. :)

  5. Foodie Stuntman January 26, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Yep. Now you know the reason I don’t bake very often.

    • Willow January 26, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      Haha, there are definitely a lot of things that can go wrong… but really, once you know the basics it makes everything a lot easier. I know plenty of people who can make perfect angel foods with nary a measuring cup in sight – you just need to have a feel for how things work, same as with cooking. It’s just another set of skills to learn. :)

  6. Abby January 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    I LOVE your pictures. I’m glad you overcame this foodie obstacle, but even more happy you shared it with us :)

    • Willow January 26, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Thanks, Abby! I think we’ve all encountered challenges like this, and it isn’t always easy to overcome them. I’m just glad my experiences have the chance to save others from the hassle!

  7. Anjo Angela Lim January 27, 2013 at 4:28 am #

    You are absolutely brilllllllllliant! LOVED this post! I have yet to venture towards the art of macarons but…maybe you’ve convinced me it’s time to start! Thank you Willow :)

    • Willow January 27, 2013 at 4:32 am #

      Well, thanks! I have to say, I’ve only made macarons once before and it was quite some time ago… they are fast approaching the top of my list of things to make this year. With this much meringue experience under my belt they should be a breeze. :)

  8. mail4rosey January 27, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    What an excellent, super, fantastic, terrific tutorial that everyone who sees it is going to print, bookmark, or save!

    Visiting today from the Harvest of Friends blog hop. :)

    • Willow January 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Thank you so much! Glad you stopped by. :)

  9. Loretta E. January 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    When I was in high school, my friend and I made an angel food cake from scratch. Up to that point, all I had tried were the boxed versions. NEVER went back! The boxed version tastes like chemicals to me…

    Your cake looks incredible.

    • Willow Arlen June 4, 2013 at 1:55 am #

      Thanks! It’s amazing how much different it is compared to the box mix. I’m still impressed, however, that you can get an angel food out of a just-add-water mix… how they do it is a mystery to me (though you’re probably onto something when you say it tastes like chemicals).

  10. Courtney J February 1, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    This is fantastic! I love your FAK Fridays! I have been learning so much! :)

  11. Safiyya Omarjee August 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I don’t have a tube pan. Could the same recipe be used for cupcakes? Does one need to invert cupcakes too after baking? Some recipes request water. . What’s the purpose of water in the recipe?

    • Willow Arlen August 3, 2013 at 3:01 am #

      Hi Safiyya!

      I have seen plenty of recipes for Angel Food cupcakes, but have never actually tried them myself. From what I’ve seen, they come out perfectly without needing to be inverted after baking. Just be sure to use cupcake liners (if you grease the pan the batter won’t rise, and if you don’t use liners the cake will stick).

      As for the water in some recipes, I believe the primary purpose is to help keep the whites from getting over-whipped. Most recipes specify warm water, too, which helps keep the the proteins in the eggwhites elastic and flexible. I’ve never found water to be helpful, personally, and depending on the climate adding water can result in a too-moist cake (too much steam in an angel food can cause it to collapse after baking, or not rise enough in the oven).

      Hope that helps!

  12. Lin Silveira-Hess January 9, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Thanks for the extra tips. This blog has been very helpful. Angel Food Cakes are “a work of art!” So, as in art, special techniques are essential to create a beautiful masterpiece! (I completely understand the need to take on the challenge of baking a perfect angel food cake…a chemistry experiment that produces a yummy “slice of heaven.” Thanks again, Lin

  13. Jeanne Clawson July 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    I have made 5 angel food cakes in the last 4 days and everyone of them fell, except one and it eventually fell the worst and now I am ready to give up. I have made them in the past and successfully. I live in an area a little over 3,000 feet so have to adjust for the altitude, which is what I did with the last one I made – but it eventually fell anyway. Shall I give it one more try? The second one was edible, barely. The last one was too moist, fell to about 1/3rd of the original size.  60 egg whites and 60 yolks in five days down the drain. I did make a sponge cake and it was great and some puff pastry, and vanilla custard ice cream with some of the yolks. By the way, I did all of the “tricks” you suggested but maybe not all in one cake. Maybe “out smarting” myself. Did you ever think you would hate angel food cakes after so many failures?

    • Willow July 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re running into so many issues… I DID go through a time where I felt like I hated angel food cakes, because no matter what I seemed to do I couldn’t get them to turn out. I imagine the issue you’re having has to do with the conditions you’re baking in, seeing as you’ve successfully made angel food cakes in the past. I’m really not familiar with baking at altitude, but perhaps that’s part of the issue? Humidity could play a role, too, as well as temperature. There are so many little factors like this that can effect the outcome of angel food cake. I’d suggest taking a break to keep from getting too frustrated, then trying again with a clear head. That made a huge difference for me, because I got so wrapped up in all the details that I couldn’t see where my mistake was. After stepping away for a while, I was able to figure out what the problem was and fix it. As I already said, I don’t know a lot about baking at altitude, but I seem to remember hearing that adding a little corn starch to the meringue can help stabilize it. I wish I had some more sound advice, but it might be worth a shot!

  14. Patricia October 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    I have always thought myself great angel food cake maker but the last couple have been too moist, almost wet. they rise taste good but just too wet. Thanks Patricia

    • Willow Arlen October 8, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

      Hmm… too wet is usually because of too much liquid from the egg whites. Be sure you’re measuring the whites by volume (not by the number of eggs, where the amount can vary quite a bit), and if the cake is still a little too moist, I would try adding a little extra sprinkle of flour, or a little spoonful of corn starch (sifted into the flour) just to help absorb some of the moisture. I’m only speculating, here, but those are my two cents. Hope that helps!

  15. Tao Tao January 2, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    can you use the egg whites that are sold by brands like egg beater which are 100% egg whites or must it be separated from an egg?

    • Willow Arlen January 2, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

      I always use freshly separated whites, because I feel like they work just a little bit better, but I know plenty of people who turn out great angel food cakes with cartoned egg whites. As long as they have no other ingredients added, they should work just fine!

  16. Evelyn April 9, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    My first angel cake 20 or so try ago was perfect, but the last 19 try never made it . My problem comes on the last 10 minutes of cooking time, the first 25 minutes I can see its rising a little bit but when the last 10 minutes comes , it starts to fall , and its not even cooked through yet. The cake falls leaving the brown”skin” sticking to the pan side when I invert it then the white cake flops to the baking tray and deflates further . Where did I go wrong?

    • Willow Arlen April 9, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

      Hi Evelyn! You know, it’s hard to say exactly what’s causing that, since there are so many variables with an angel food cake. My first thought, though, would be to try adding a couple more TBSP flour — it sounds like the meringue is expanding, but then deflating because there isn’t enough structure to support it. A bit more flour might provide the structure it needs to stay nice and tall. Hope that helps!

  17. Sophia June 5, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    I can’t wait to try your recipe out. I have been trying to make a angel food cake that actually rises. It never does. I’m not sure why but I’m going to try your recipe and see what happens! Wish me luck!

  18. Lara September 24, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Hello! Thank you for all the great tips. I was wondering if this also applies to angel food cupcakes. And can I use a silicone cupcake pan?

    • Willow Arlen September 24, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      Hi Lara — all of the tips for making the batter itself should apply no matter what you plan to bake the cake in. I’ve actually never tried making angel food in a cupcake pan, but I imagine they can’t be turned upside down once they come out of the oven without falling out. I’ve also never used a silicone cupcake pan, so I really can’t say how well it would work — I imagine it would work out just fine, but I can’t say for certain. Sorry I can’t be more help!

  19. Chris January 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

    This is the most and best information I have ever seen about angel food cake. Armed with this info, I was able to make the best A.F.C. of my life. It was simply amazing! I can only say that I thought your article was well put together and exactly what I needed to push me over the top. Thank You Very Much!

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2017 at 9:30 am #

      You’re welcome, Chris! So glad you found my article helpful.

  20. Wendy January 29, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!! I have tried several angel food cakes in the past, but, living in the netherlands i had the wrong ingredients, no cake flour, no cream of tartar and a bad translation of those things. Many angel food cakes have failed me as did many recipes. I finally figured it out and this recipe makes the perfect angel cake! Perfect color and texture! As for the taste, it is very good but it has a slight taste of something funny which is either the cream of tartar or the extracts that i used. Overall you’ve made me really happy since this is my first angelcake EVER to turn out great :) as for the problem with it rising and than falling again, I have that too so I’ll try as well with a bit of extra flour :) the other thing I still find hard to do is the folding. By the time the flour/sugar is all incorporated, the volume is only half of what i started with. Actually it starts happening as soon as the first fold i make (and i try gently). Is that normal or is that just me? Anyway thanks a million for this recipe and everything else about beating the egg whites, sugar, everything!

    • Willow Arlen January 29, 2017 at 11:17 pm #

      I’m so glad this was helpful for you, Wendy! And seriously, thank YOU for taking the time to leave this comment, because it put a huge smile on my face.

      As for the meringue collapsing when you fold, it’s really hard to say what’s causing that without seeing it for myself, but it sounds like maybe your eggwhites aren’t whipped quite stiff enough. Obviously, it’s a balance, because you don’t want to overwhip them. But if they deflate really easily, they may be under-whipped. Perhaps make them a little stiffer next time and see how that goes?

      I’ve never had an off flavor from the cream of tartar, but if you think you’re able to detect it you can try swapping it for a little squeeze of lemon juice instead. The lemon juice is supposed to work in the same way, stabilizing the meringue. I don’t find it’s as effective as cream of tartar (which is dangerous if you’re already having trouble with the meringue deflating when you fold in the flour) but it might be worth a shot just to see if it makes a difference in the flavor.

      Thank you again for this sweet comment, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions or thoughts as you make more angel foods. I’m sure your cakes will just keeping getting better and better with practice — I know mine have!

  21. Sue February 20, 2017 at 2:59 pm #

    I found this post when I googled “why did my angel food cake not rise”. I was thrilled to find such detailed information. I’ve been wanting to make angel cake from scratch for years but thought it was way harder than it is… except that I just made my 2nd one and although it rose more than the last one, it’s still not as big as it should be. I’m pretty sure the first time I beat the egg whites too long and maybe this time not long enough. The first one was delicious still, thankfully and I hope this one will be too. I might try it once more but I might also go back to the no-fail mix!! Either way, your information was super helpful. Thanks!

    • Willow Arlen February 27, 2017 at 11:45 am #

      Thanks for the comment, Sue! The mix really does make it no-fail, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I enjoyed box mix for years, so no judgement there! There’s definitely some trial and error in making it from scratch until you get a feel for how things should look at each stage. I hope you try it again sometime, because it’s a wonderful feeling to get confident in something challenging (and they usually are delicious, even when they don’t rise quite right). And either way, I’m glad you found my article helpful. :)

  22. Susan July 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    You have the best explanations! Thank you! I’ve read beating eggs at 60F is the best

    • Willow Arlen July 20, 2017 at 10:00 am #

      Heheh, thanks Susan! I hadn’t heard a specific temperature before, that’s handy to know!

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