This classic angel food cake is made light and delicious with egg whites and no added fat. The large amount of egg whites are what make up the leavening for the cake. The egg whites are beaten and then the small amount of flour and sugar are folded into them.
When you beat the eggs, make sure there is no grease or oil on the bowl or utensils. A glass or stainless steel bowl is ideal. See the tips for more on beating eggs and folding ingredients.
If you can find superfine baking sugar in your area, it is the perfect choice for cakes like this one.
- 1 1/3 cups egg whites (separate when the eggs are cold and let them come to room temperature)
- 1 1/3 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (sifted, divided)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cake flour (sifted before measuring, 4 ounces)
- Heat the oven to 325 F.
- In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and salt and then continue beating until egg whites stand in peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup of the granulated sugar. Use superfine sugar if possible. Fold in vanilla.
- Sift the sifted and measured flour three more times; mix with remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. With a large spatula, fold the flour mixture gently into batter until well incorporated (see below).
- Spoon the angel food cake batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube cake pan. Bake at 325 for 55 to 65 minutes.
- Remove from oven and invert pan (turn upside down, cake and all) until it is entirely cooled.
- It will take about 11 large eggs to make 1 1/3 cups of egg whites.
- Cream of tartar is an acidic ingredient made from grapes. Generally, approximately 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar is added for each cup of egg whites. The acid helps reinforce, or stabilize, the beaten egg whites. If you must replace the cream of tartar, use an equal amount of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar. Another even better way to stabilize egg whites is a copper bowl. According to Shirley Corriher,author of BakeWise, the egg white proteins (conalbumin) react with the copper and form copper conalbumin, producing beaten egg whites with higher volume when heated. If you beat the whites in a copper bowl, the acidic ingredient isn't necessary.
- To fold the flour into the batter, use a large rubber spatula with slow, sweeping motions. Scrape down the side of the bowl towards the center, bringing the batter on the bottom to the top. Repeat the motion as you turn the bowl until there are no streaks remaining. Batter can be folded with a large whisk as well, but keep the motions very slow and gentle. You don't want to deflate any of those essential air bubbles you created.