angel food cake in round cake mold decorated with strawberry

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Angel Food Cake History

Angel Food Cake became popular in the 19th century, when the first detailed recipe of classic American Angel Food Cake, without fat, but only with cream of tartar, appeared in 1878, in The Home Messenger Book Of Tested Recipes, by Isabella Stewart.

According to Wikipedia:

The name, which comes from the texture, which is “so light that angels could eat it and still fly without being weighted down”, has given it a special association in some communities. Among African Americans, the cake is often served at funeral receptions, with the idea that the deceased person is now living in Heaven among the angels. Among the Pennsylvania Dutch, it is considered a wedding cake, and the couple is said to be blessed by angels

How To Make Angel Food Cake?

This recipe serves 8-10, use a 9.5 to 10 in/25 cm not greased Angel Food Cake tube pan, with removable base, or a bundt pan.


  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ cups (about 12) egg whites
  • 1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar or boiled frosting (for coating)


  1. Heat the oven to 350°. Sift the flour with one-third of the sugar, twice.
  2. Whip the egg whites until foaming, at this stage, add the cream of tartar and salt and continue beating until the egg whites start to stiffen.
  3. As soon as the egg whites form stiff peaks, whip the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, to make a light meringue. Carefully, fold the sugar for 30-60 seconds, until the mixture is glossy and holds peaks. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Fold gently in the flour in three batches. Transfer the batter to a pan that is not greased and floured.
  5. Bake the cake, as soon as possible, after mixing, for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is done. Leave the cake to cool upside down in the pan so it does not shrink.
  6. Shortly before serving, sprinkle the cake with confectioners’ sugar or coat with a White Mountain frosting. Serve with whipped cream (see recipe: Chantilly cream), and berries or fresh fruits.

Chef’s Notes

  • Some variations of Angel Food Cake, include chocolate, cherries, almonds or pecan nuts.

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