Angel Food Cake

Using only 6 ingredients, this perfect angel food cake bakes up tall, light, and airy. For best results, follow this recipe and video tutorial closely. The delicate texture can only be achieved with particular ingredients and careful mixing methods.

Angel food cake with berries

Ready for a slice of heaven? We are no stranger to decadent and rich cakes. But what about a cake recipe where butter, fat, and egg yolks run away in fright? Meet angel food cake. Angel food cake is a low fat cake recipe made mostly from egg whites, cake flour, and sugar. It’s pristine white on the inside with a chewy light brown crumb around the exterior. What it lacks in butter makes up for in texture. This tall, tender, and timeless cake has a cloud-like crumb and ultra light flavor.

I’ve published angel food cupcakes and a super fun sprinkle angel food cake on my blog, but now it’s time visit where both originate: classic homemade angel food cake!

Angel food cake slices with strawberries

Angel Food Cake Video Tutorial

Let’s dive right in. First, here’s a video tutorial where I walk you through each step. The steps and ingredients are pretty straightforward, but it’s always helpful to have a clear visual. 🙂

Top of angel food cake

6 Angel Food Cake Ingredients

You only need 6 ingredients to make angel food cake. With so little ingredients, understand that each one is imperative to the cake’s final taste and texture. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Granulated Sugar: The recipe begins with granulated sugar. Pulse it in a food processor to create superfine sugar. Superfine sugar’s granules are the best size to provide optimal structure for angel food cake. It’s not as coarse as granulated sugar and not as fine as confectioners’ sugar. Granulated sugar is simply too coarse, while confectioners’ sugar dissolves too quickly in the egg whites.
  2. Cake Flour: Cake flour is a low protein flour and yields a tender angel food cake. Do not use all-purpose flour because the cake will taste like white bread…! In a pinch, you can use this cake flour substitute. But real cake flour is ideal.
  3. Salt: Adds flavor.
  4. Egg Whites: You’ll notice there’s no baking powder or baking soda. The egg whites are actually the sole leavening ingredient providing all the cake’s rise. Use freshly separated eggs because they aerate the best. Carton egg whites or egg whites that have been frozen won’t expand as much during the whipping process, which will negatively affect the rise of your cake. You’ll have a lot of leftover egg yolks, so make some lemon curd and serve it with the cake!
  5. Cream of Tartar: Cream of tartar is an acid and stabilizes the whipped egg whites, just as it does in my chocolate swirled meringue cookies too. Without it, the cake would collapse. Other acids, such as lemon juice, can work but they aren’t nearly as effective. Cream of tartar is found in the spice aisle and is actually a common baking ingredient. I have many recipes calling for it!
  6. Vanilla Extract: Adds flavor.

Superfine sugar in food processor

How to Make Perfect Angel Food Cake

I’m confident this will be the most perfect angel food cake to ever hit your lips. We can’t achieve angel food cake perfection for free, so make sure you follow these steps closely.

  1. Pulse the granulated sugar into superfine sugar. Use a food processor or blender.
  2. Set 1 cup of the superfine sugar aside. You’ll add it to the egg whites.
  3. Add cake flour and salt to food processor. Pulse them with the remaining sugar. This aerates the dry ingredients.
  4. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar together. Beat on medium-low speed until foamy.
  5. Slowly add 1 cup of superfine sugar. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and pour in the superfine sugar you set aside.
  6. Beat into soft peaks. Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and superfine sugar into soft and lofty peaks. This takes at least 5 minutes.
  7. Sift and fold in dry ingredients. In 3 additions, sift and fold in the dry ingredients.
  8. Pour/spread batter into a tube pan. Do not grease the tube pan. Greasing the pan causes the batter to slip down the sides, preventing it from properly rising. If you already greased it, wash and wipe it completely clean.
  9. Bake at 325°F (163°C). A higher temperature won’t properly cook the cake.
  10. Cool upside down on a wire rack. If cooled upright, the cake’s own weight will crush itself. Cool it upside-down on a cooling rack so it holds its shape and air can reach it.
  11. Run a thin knife around the edges to release. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to help loosen the cake, too.
  12. Slice with a serrated knife. A regular sharp knife squishes the cake.

Can I use a bundt pan for angel food cake? No, do not use a bundt pan for angel food cake. You’ll have a very hard time getting it out in one piece. You need a tube pan which has a flat bottom and straight sides. If you don’t have one, I recommend this tube pan. It’s relatively inexpensive for its great quality. Though it’s labeled as nonstick, the coating is VERY thin and has never been an issue for my angel food cakes.

And good news: here’s a helpful trick for how to bake angel food cake without a tube pan.

Cake flour in measuring cups and food processor

You need 1 cup (16 Tablespoons) + 2 Tablespoons of cake flour. Sounds like an odd amount, but 18 Tablespoons is the precise quantity to bring enough structure to the cake.

Whipped egg whites

Soft Peaks, Not Stiff Peaks

Remember, whip the egg whites into soft peaks. (Pictured above.) Soft peaks don’t hold a stiff shape. Instead, they “wilt” back into the mixture after a few seconds. Soft peaks are the optimum consistency because they’ll continue to expand in the oven. Stiff peaks, on the other hand, means that the egg whites have been over-whipped for angel food cake and will likely collapse in the oven.

Important to remember: Don’t let a drop of egg yolks into the mixing bowl. Any lingering fat could prevent the egg whites from forming peaks at all. Crack eggs over an egg separator into a small bowl, then add the whites one-by-one into the mixing bowl. This way if the yolk breaks, it doesn’t break directly in the mixing bowl.

angel food cake batter in mixing bowl and tube pan

Sift the dry ingredients over the beaten egg whites in a few additions, gently folding together after each addition. The goal is to retain as much of the whipped volume as possible. Pouring the dry ingredients on top all at once will quickly deflate the egg whites.

Angel food cake cooling in pan

The Magic is in the Details

I’ve thrown a lot of information at you in this post, so here’s a quick summary of all the important success tips. Remember that the magic is all in the details.

  1. Use freshly separated egg whites.
  2. Pulse granulated sugar into superfine sugar.
  3. Whip egg whites into soft peaks, not stiff peaks.
  4. Sift and gently fold in dry ingredients.
  5. Do not grease the tube pan.
  6. Cool the cake upside-down on a wire rack.
  7. Use a serrated knife to slice.

Angel food cake on marble cake stand

Helpful Tools

Want to make angel food cupcakes? I have you covered. 🙂

angel food cupcake

Angel food cake doesn’t need to hide under frosting, but tastes blissful with fresh berries and a dollop of whipped cream! Feel free to dust the top with confectioners’ sugar, too.

I know what you’re thinking: is this cake really worth it? The answer is YES. Angel food cake boasts a texture like no other and once you go through the process, you’ll understand the preparation isn’t that difficult– it’s just a little picky. 😉 Let’s do this!

Angel food cake on marble cake stand

Angel food cake with berries

Angel Food Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: serves 10-12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Using only 6 ingredients, this perfect angel food cake bakes up tall, light, and airy. For best results, read the recipe in full before beginning and have all your ingredients ready to go. Enjoy! 


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar*
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (130g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large egg whites, at room temperature*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting, whipped cream, and berries


  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
  2. In a food processor or blender, pulse the sugar until fine and powdery. Remove 1 cup and set aside to use in step 3; keep the rest inside the food processor. Add the cake flour and salt to the food processor. Pulse 5-10 times until sugar/flour/salt mixture is aerated and light.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar together on medium-low until foamy, about 1 minute. Switch to medium-high and slowly add the 1 cup of sugar you set aside. Whip until soft peaks form, about 5-6 minutes. See photo and video above for a visual. Add the vanilla extract, then beat just until incorporated.
  4. In 3 additions, slowly sift the flour mixture into the egg white mixture using a fine mesh strainer, gently folding with a rubber spatula after each addition. To avoid deflating or a dense cake, don’t add the flour mixture all at once. Sift and very slowly fold in several additions. This is important! Pour and spread batter into an ungreased 9 or 10 inch tube pan. Shimmy the pan on the counter to smooth down the surface.
  5. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. The cake will rise up very tall while baking. Remove from the oven, then cool the cake completely upside-down set on a wire rack, about 3 hours. (Upside-down so the bottom of the tube pan is right-side up, see photo and video above.) Once cooled, run a thin knife around the edges and gently tap the pan on the counter until the cake releases.
  6. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice the cake with a sharp serrated knife. Regular knives can easily squish the cake. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.
  7. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare the angel food cake one day in advance, then cover tightly and store at room temperature overnight. Angel food cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Sugar: In this recipe, you use granulated sugar and pulse it in a food processor to make superfine sugar. If you have superfine sugar or caster sugar, use that. Pulse 3/4 cup of it with the dry ingredients in step 2. Use 1 cup of it in step 3.
  3. Egg Whites: I strongly recommend using fresh real egg whites instead of egg white substitutes, previously frozen egg whites, or egg whites from a carton. Separate the eggs when they’re cold, then bring the egg whites to room temperature. Fresh room temperature egg whites whip into the fluffiest volume. With the extra yolks, make lemon curd or some of these recipes.
  4. Pan: An angel food cake pan (aka tube pan) is imperative. Do not use a bundt pan. Angel food cake’s structure and stability requires the tube pan’s particular specifications. Some angel food cake pans come with little feet, which makes cooling the cake upside down easy. If your pan has feet, no need to use a wire rack. Whether your tube pan has feet or not, cool the cake upside down as directed in step 5.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Keywords: cake, whipped cream


  1. This was my first attempt at making angel food cake. My teenage daughter and I got through to the end of the recipe and realized that we only had a bundt pan! We sprayed it with canola baking spray and dusted the inside with flour (and hoped for the best). It worked! During the cooling process we used a skewer stick to desperate the edge of the cake from the pan. Also helpful was a wooden mallet lightly tapping the bottom of the pan about halfway through cooling! Thank you for this delicious recipe!

    1. I made this today and my family LOVES it. It came out perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe. It’s definitely now on our family favorite list. I did not have an angel food cake pan, so I used a bundt pan. I read the previous review and also oiled and lightly floured the pan. It came out great. The sides were not as crisp as the top, or as pretty as your picture. It’s ok though, we sliced it up and put fresh strawberries and ice cream on it. ❤️❤️❤️

      I love your recipes. I’ve also made your lemon squares and homemade pie crust. I love the simple ingredients in all of your recipes. You also make it so easy to understand each recipe. Thank you!

  2. Can I ask where you got your egg white separator??

    1. Isn’t it cute!?! I got it on Amazon:

  3. Ashley Clark says:

    I was all set to make this and checked the ingredients. I am worried to use all my eggs on the recipe in case I can’t get more at the store any time soon. How can I make a smaller cake, or possibly a loaf?

    1. Hi Ashley! I haven’t personally tried it, but a couple readers have left comments saying halving the recipe works wonderfully for a 9×5 inch a loaf pan. Let me know if you try it, but of course don’t try anything you’re not comfortable with especially during a time you can’t get to the store as readily.

  4. I tried this the first time today and realized when it was in the oven I forgot to add the vanilla! I hope all goes well looks like an awesome recipe!

  5. This cake was WONDERFUL! I looked at a few angel food cake recipes but chose this one because it was the easiest to follow, considering the somewhat extensive process. The cake was extremely light, sweet, and moist. I would definitely recommend making it the day before and allowing a bit of time to make it if you are a bit of a novice like myself.

  6. Donna Ewart says:

    I made this for my daughter’s 50th birthday today as angel food cake is her favorite. We took it to her house and sang happy birthday in the driveway with social distancing, of course. She was so pleased and It turned out perfect and with whipped cream…..yummy! Stay safe everyone.

    1. So sweet, Donna! Thank you for your positive feedback 🙂

  7. Could you please tell me how long to bake in oven? I am new to baking and can’t find this anywhere in your description. Thank you. Oh, your lemon blueberry scone recipe was delicious.

    1. Hi Carol! If you scroll to the bottom of the post you’ll find the full recipe 🙂 Bake the cake at 325°F (163°C) until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. I’m so happy you enjoyed those scones!

  8. Just made this, following the recipe instructions and video carefully, and it turned out perfectly! I used half for my mom’s strawberry trifle recipe, and the other half is disappearing very quickly right into my mouth…

  9. Made this for my son’s 16th birthday with chocolate buttercream frosting. It was DELICIOUS. By far the best angel food cake recipe out there! Nice and light and moist.

  10. Hi, I’m not able to get cream of tartar (it seems like the whole world is baking)! For above recipe, how much lemon juice should I use as a replacement? Thanks for your advice.

    1. Hi Yenn, You can make a 1:1 substitution with lemon juice but keep in mind it’s not nearly as effective.

  11. Perfect! Directions were clear. Tips were spot on and the cake was DELICIOUS! The links for cake flour substitute was helpful and lemon curd recipe is excellent. Sally’s baking addiction has now become my go to site for recipes.

  12. Michelle Beorchia says:

    Just getting ready to mix everything together and bake, but have a question before I do… I added the 1 and 3/4 cups sugar to my food processor to make fine but when I went to measure out the 1 cup and leave the rest to blend with the flour and salt… there was nothing left! Did I make the sugar too “fine”? Should I add more sugar?? Help please lol!

    1. The sugar may be too fine, but that won’t be a problem in the cake. Make more to yield 3/4 cup to mix with the dry ingredients.

  13. Hey Sally! I followed the recipe to a t, and found that when sifting the flour and sugar, the granulated sugar that didn’t split in the food processor was left in the softer. Would you still mix that in? Thanks!

    1. I wouldn’t mix that in, no. Was there a lot left?

      1. There wasn’t much left, maybe a heaping tablespoon. I made the right call then, phew. I figured the weight of the sugar might deflate the batter. I wish I could send you a pic! It turned out beautifully!

  14. Wonderful cake. Thank you for the detailed instructions. I am making it for the 5th time and all previous cakes turned out great. They get eaten up very fast.

  15. Jessghelman says:

    I made the recipe yesterday and it was a total hit. Thanks love love love your recipes !!!! Note: I lowered the sugar because our palate is not for super sweet and it turned out gorgeous!

  16. Thank you so much for this recipe and your wonderful tips! This is the first time I made an angel food cake from scratch – it is heavenly!

  17. May I know in ounces or cups are 12 large egg whites? I saw in a website that it is 1 cup.
    Is this correct? Thank you.

    1. Hi Ruby, it’s hard to say exactly, but generally 7-8 large egg whites yield 1 cup. You need 12, so it would be around 1 and 1/2 cups.

      1. First time I did this recipe with 12 large egg whites, it overflowed in my 5qt bowl (baking aborted). Today, I followed 1 1/2 cups egg whites (I used 9 large eggs only) watching it closely, it was ok and I completed the baking. I added 16 drained and quartered maraschino cherries in the last folding. Best cake for Mother’s Day. Thank you so much, Sally. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers.

  18. Jessica Pacheco says:

    Hi Sally,
    Can I use super fine sugar from a carton? It’s Baker’s Sugar by C & H. Ultrafine pure cane sugar. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jessica, you can use the superfine sugar. If so, no need to pulse the 1 cup of superfine sugar that you’ll add to the egg whites. Still pulse the remaining 3/4 sugar with the dry ingredients though.

  19. Terri Hartis says:

    Is there a revision on this recipe for high altitude baking?

    1. Hi Terri, I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful:

  20. Recipe turned out great! I had 5 leftover, frozen egg whites, so I used those in addition to 7 fresh ones. The meringue took almost double the time to whip up, but it eventually did and the cake turned out lovely. Thanks for the recipe – I’ll be baking this again!

  21. An you substitute Bob Mills Gluten Free 1-1 Flour to make this a gluten free cake?

    1. Hi Linda, I have not tested this recipe with gluten free flour.

  22. Aqsa Sikandar says:

    Hi Sally,
    I tried this recipe and used lemon juice instead of cream of tartar! The cake turned out amazing! Everyone couldn’t believe that it is a homemade cake!
    Loved it! Thank you so much!

  23. Hands down the best recipe I have found. I also added a Raspberry-Lemon glaze with Lemon zest. It was amazing! The kids said “mom this is the best cake you have ever made. Thank you so much!”

  24. I see that you recommend using freshly separate egg whites. Any idea what the outcome might be if I were to use liquid egg whites from a carton instead?

    1. Hi Katie, carton egg whites don’t whip up to nearly the same volume. You can try to use them, but the results will differ from the intended texture and pictured cake.

  25. This was really, really good! It was my first time making angel food cake and it turned out great. Awhile later I was eating someone else’s cake and could tell right away it was from a box. Sometimes you can get away with box mixes, but not with angel food cake! I used 1.5 cups of egg whites from a carton and used your cake flour recipe elsewhere on your page as flour is hard to come by. There was a lot of math involved in that but what I ended up doing was replacing 2 tbsp of regular flour with corn starch and then in the added 2tbsp you call for in this recipe I replaced just under a teaspoon of corn starch. Turned out great. Thank you!

  26. Hi Sally! If I used one less egg white would that effect the cake at all?

    1. Hi Caroline, for best taste and texture, I recommend following the recipe as written.

  27. PERFECT ! Don’t change a thing. So much better than store bought angel food cake

  28. Just made this angel food cake. Your instructions are great and it was very easy to make. The cake is perfect! Thank you.

  29. I’d like to make an angel cake for my baby’s birthday. Is it possible to omit the sugar? Or reduce it significantly without spoiling the texture of the cake? Is it possible for you to rewrite the recipe into a smash cake? Thank you!

  30. Betty Frampton says:

    My eggs are not fresh, they’re about 1 month old. Are they ok to use?

    1. As long as they are not past the date on the carton, they’re fine to use. I consider those fresh eggs compared to cartons of egg whites.

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