Look no further, because I have the perfect angel food cake recipe to make your strawberry shortcake extra delightful! When you first bite into this cake you’ll think you’re eating a sugar-dusted cloud. This cake is velvety smooth, pillowy soft, light as a feather, and topped with a golden exterior. Trust me when I say, you’ll never want to buy the store bought stuff again.

I’m a sucker for fresh strawberries on a cake! But if you’re looking for other creative ways to use your strawberries, try my strawberry pineapple smoothie, virgin strawberry mojitos, strawberry kiwi lemonade, and kiwi strawberry popsicles — great recipes for a cool, refreshing treat!

An angel food cake on a black round platter.

Why This Recipe Works

Forget Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines or the Pillsbury box brands of angel food cake (and don’t get me started on the catastrophe that is store-bought angel food cakes), this recipe is your perfect solution to finally making your very own homemade angel food cake. And believe me when I say there really is no other way!

It’s Easier Than You Think!

Thanks to my detailed recipe instructions and tips, making a homemade angel food cake has never been easier. You don’t need to be intimidated by the peculiar angel food cake pan. This recipe is easy to make, and by following my instructions and incorporating the recipe tips, you’ll never go back to boxed angel food cake.

Ingredients

Ingredients used to make angel food cake on a textured cream background.
  • Cake Flour: Using this low protein flour is ideal for angel food cake because it will yield a light and tender angel food cake. 
  • Superfine Sugar: We get superfine sugar by spinning it in a food processor for a few minutes. This creates an even more delicate and light texture than a normal cake – perfect for our angel food cake.
  • Egg Whites: We use 12 egg whites in this recipe. This is how we get such a tall, airy, and fluffy cake texture.
  • Cream of Tartar: It seems like the only other recipe that uses cream of tartar is snickerdoodles, but we use it in angel food cake as well to help stabilize the egg whites.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. While the oven is preheating, spin the sugar for 2 minutes in a food processor until the sugar is very fine. 
A food processor with granulated sugar in it.
  1. Sift half of the superfine sugar with the salt and cake flour. Set the other half of superfine sugar aside. 
A metal sieve sifting cake flour, sugar, and salt to make angel food cake.
  1. In a large bowl, add the egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, thoroughly mix the ingredients together for 2 minutes. The egg mixture should become frothy.
  1. Switch to hand beaters and beat the egg mixture on medium speed, slowly adding the remaining sugar (that you set aside), until soft/medium peaks form. 
  2. Sift enough of the flour mixture over the top of the medium peaks mixture, just until the top has been lightly dusted. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture in. Continue doing this (lightly dusting the top of the egg mixture with sifted flour mixture and folding it in) until all the flour mixture is incorporated. Don’t over mix, we want to keep as much air in the eggs as we can.
  1. Scoop the cake mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
  1. Remove the cake from the oven and cool it upside down on a cooling rack for 1 hour (cake still in pan) before removing the cake from the pan. Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream
A tube pan upside down on a circular wire cooling rack.

Angel Food Cake Toppings

Expert Tips

Egg Whites

Be sure to use fresh egg whites you’ve separated. Store bought egg whites that are previously separated won’t be as fresh and can affect the texture.

Separate the egg whites individually. We don’t want a drop of fat (yolk) in the egg whites because it will prevent the whites from forming peaks at all. 

Whip to soft/medium peaks. A big secret to getting the fluffy angel food cake is the egg whites. The egg whites are mixed until soft/medium peaks form. Be careful not to over whip the egg whites (soft/medium peaks, not stiff). If you over whip the egg whites, the dry ingredients will require extra mixing, which will result in the batter losing some of its precious volume.

A homemade angel food cake on a black plate.

Soft Peaks

Soft peaks don’t hold a firm shape, instead they wilt back into themselves after a few seconds. When beaters are lifted, medium peaks hold their shape fairly well except the tip of the peak folds over onto itself (think of a curved bird’s peak). Stiff peaks stand straight up when the beaters are lifted without any movement after — no bent peaks, just stiff peaks. 

Soft/medium peaks will continue to expand in the oven (allowing our cake to grow and get nice and fluffy, whereas stiff peaks are generally classified as over whipped for angel food cake and will most likely collapse in the oven. If you can get a happy-medium between soft and medium peaks, your cake will turn out fabulous!

Dry Ingredients

Using a lighter flour such as cake flour, aids in the light and airy texture. If in a pinch, you can use homemade cake flour. 
Sift the dry ingredients over the egg whites in several additions. Do not pour the dry ingredients over the egg whites all at once, doing so will quickly deflate the egg whites. Our goal in making a fluffy angel food cake is to keep as much volume in those egg whites as possible.

A slice of angel food cake on a black plate, with strawberries and blueberries scattered throughout the scene.

Tube Pan

Do not grease the tube pan! The batter needs to stick and cling to the edges of the pan in order to remain tall. You must use an angel food cake pan (aka tube pan). Do not use a bundt pan. If you can find a tube pan with “feet” this will make cooling the cake upside down much easier. 

Cool the angel food cake upside down in the cake pan. This prevents the cake from falling in on itself in the pan.

Use a serrated knife to slice the cake.

Storing

Store the angel food cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. If you forget to cover it, the cake will become hard and lose its iconic soft texture.

FAQs

What is the main ingredient in angel food cake?

The main ingredient is egg whites. We use 12 egg whites in this recipe. This is what gives angel food cake the iconic light, fluffy texture we all love!

What is the flavor of angel food cake?

The only added flavoring to this cake is vanilla extract. However, due to the egg whites and sugar, the cake takes on an almost-marshmallow flavor as well.

Why is my angel food cake rubbery?

You either over whipped the egg whites into stiff peaks instead of soft peaks, or you could have overmixed while folding the flour mixture in with the rest of the batter. Be sure to follow my recipe tips and step-by-step instructions to get a light and fluffy cake texture.

Do I have to use cake flour when making angel food cake from scratch? 

Cake flour is a low protein flour. It is ideal for angel food because it will yield a light and tender angel food cake. 

What can I substitute for cake flour? 

You can make homemade cake flour with just all-purpose flour and some cornstarch. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour and take out 2 Tablespoons of that. Add 2 Tablespoons of the cornstarch to the flour. The cornstarch helps tenderize the flour making it have more cake flour properties. Be sure to sift the two ingredients together two times. Multiply this process by however many to get the right amount of flour you’ll need for a given recipe. 

Can I use gluten free flour to make a gluten free angel food cake?

Because the recipe relies so much on the structure and process for the cake, I can’t be sure regular gluten free flour will produce the same kind of delicate texture and lift we are looking for in an angel food cake. However, my recommendation would be to use a gluten free cake flour option as that will at least get you a bit closer. Keep in mind that the texture and lift of the cake may change since you’re substituting one of the main building blocks of the recipe.

A slice of angel food cake on a plate, with strawberries and blueberries throughout the scene.

I hope you found some of this information helpful so that you’re ready to conquer this recipe!

More of My Favorite Desserts

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a rating and review, or scroll below the recipe card and do so there. 

An easy to make Angel Food Cake Recipe that's soft, fluffy, and rich in flavor! Add fruit and whipped cream and you've just made the perfect dessert!
Print Review
5 from 2 votes

Angel Food Cake

Pillowy soft Angel Food Cake! This cake is perfection. Fluffy as a cloud and perfectly sweet. 
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 12 egg whites, room temp
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  • In a food processor add the granulated sugar. Spin the sugar for 2 minutes until the sugar is very fine. 
  • Sift half of the superfine sugar with the salt and cake flour. Set the other half of superfine sugar aside. 
  • In a large bowl combine the egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, thoroughly mix the ingredients together for 2 minutes. The egg mixer should become frothy.
  • Now switch to hand beaters; beat the egg mixture on medium speed, slowly adding the remaining sugar (that you set aside), until soft/medium peaks form. 
  • Sift enough of the flour mixture over the top of the medium peaks mixture, just until the top has been lightly dusted. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture in. Continue doing this (lightly dusting the top of the egg mixture with sifted flour mixture) and folding it in until all the flour mixture is incorporated. Don't overmix, we want to keep as much air in the eggs as we can.
  • Scoop the cake mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool it upside down on cooling rack for 1 hour (cake still in pan) before removing the cake from the pan. Serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream. 

Notes

Egg Whites
Be sure to use fresh egg whites you’ve separated. Store bought egg whites that are previously separated won’t be as fresh and can affect the texture.
Separate the egg whites individually. We don’t want a drop of fat (yolk) in the egg whites because it will prevent the whites from forming peaks at all. 
Whip to soft/medium peaks. A big secret to getting the fluffy angel food cake is the egg whites. The egg whites are mixed until soft/medium peaks form. Be careful not to over whip the egg whites (soft/medium peaks, not stiff). If you over whip the egg whites, the dry ingredients will require extra mixing, which will result in the batter losing some of its precious volume.
Soft Peaks
Soft peaks don’t hold a firm shape, instead they wilt back into themselves after a few seconds. When beaters are lifted, medium peaks hold their shape fairly well except the tip of the peak folds over onto itself (think of a curved bird’s peak). Stiff peaks stand straight up when the beaters are lifted without any movement after — no bent peaks, just stiff peaks. 
Soft/medium peaks will continue to expand in the oven (allowing our cake to grow and get nice and fluffy, whereas stiff peaks are generally classified as over whipped for angel food cake and will most likely collapse in the oven. If you can get a happy-medium between soft and medium peaks, your cake will turn out fabulous!
Dry Ingredients
Using a lighter flour such as cake flour, aids in the light and airy texture. If in a pinch, you can use homemade cake flour. 
Sift the dry ingredients over the egg whites in several additions. Do not pour the dry ingredients over the egg whites all at once, doing so will quickly deflate the egg whites. Our goal in making a fluffy angel food cake is to keep as much volume in those egg whites as possible.
Tube Pan
Do not grease the tube pan! The batter needs to stick and cling to the edges of the pan in order to remain tall. You must use an angel food cake pan (aka tube pan). Do not use a bundt pan. If you can find a tube pan with “feet” this will make cooling the cake upside down much easier. 
Cool the angel food cake upside down in the cake pan. This prevents the cake from falling in on itself in the pan.
Use a serrated knife to slice the cake.
Storing
Store the angel food cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. If you forget to cover it, the cake will become hard and lose its iconic soft texture.
Recipe Source: Adapted from Food Network

Nutrition

Calories: 201kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 44g (15%)Protein: 5g (10%)Sodium: 119mg (5%)Potassium: 145mg (4%)Sugar: 35g (39%)Calcium: 4mgIron: 0.1mg (1%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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This recipe was first published April 25, 2018 and was updated May 2021 with new photos and instructions.