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Weekend Recipe: Angel Food Cake

 

Photo courtesy of Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of Cook's Country

This is one of those baking classics that can be difficult to get just right. So what's the secret to a light and airy Angel Food Cake? Use cake flour. America's Test Kitchen strongly advises against substituting it with other flours as it will only weigh down the cake. If you like, garnish and serve the cake with a side of berries.

Angel Food Cake
Serves 10 to 12

cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (4 1/2 ounces) (see note)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
12 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk flour and salt in bowl. Process sugar in food processor until fine and powdery, about 1 minute. Reserve half of sugar in small bowl. Add flour mixture to food processor with remaining sugar and process until aerated, about 1 minute.

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With electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high. With motor running, slowly add reserved sugar and beat until soft peaks form, about 6 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Sift flour mixture over egg whites in 3 additions, folding gently with rubber spatula after each addition until incorporated. Scrape mixture into 12-cup ungreased tube pan.

Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cracks in cake appear dry, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool, inverted, to room temperature, about 3 hours. To unmold, run knife along interior of pan. Turn out onto platter. Serve.

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