This may surprise you, but the standard, easy angel food cake recipe is naturally dairy-free
. It uses loads of egg whites for all of the moisture, so no milk, sour cream, or heavy cream is required! (If you are confusing eggs for dairy, you’re not alone; see this post for an explanation: Are Eggs Dairy
?) As a result, angel food cake is virtually fat free
, and can be kept light and delicious with a simple garnish of fresh, seasonal berries.
I have to admit, I was terrified the first time I entertained the idea of baking angel food cake in my own kitchen. So many egg whites, whipping to stiff peaks, was it a soufflé disaster waiting to happen? Fortunately, dairy-free angel food cake is not only easy to bake, but it is pretty much fool proof – trust me. The recipe below is the one that I have been working from for years, and I have never had a bad turnout.
Again, you can keep this easy angel food cake recipe simple by just slicing up the cake and placing a bowl of fresh berries beside it for a colorful and light topping (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries will make for a very festive looking 4th of July dessert), or see some of the additional suggestions below for adding a little more oomph. I’ve also included links to other amazing angel food cake recipes (after the recipe) including gluten-free and vegan options!
Easy Angel Food Cake
- 1-1/2 cups egg whites (from about 12 medium eggs - less eggs if using large or extra-large)*
- 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar (organic if possible
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract (feel free to omit for nut-free)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl, and let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Sift the powdered sugar and flour together three times into a large bowl. The sifting is very important for getting that light texture. If you don’t have a flour sifter, a fine mesh strainer works just as well (flour sifters always seem to break on me, so I stick to the strainer!).
- Add the cream of tartar, extracts, and salt to the egg whites, and beat the mixture on high speed. Gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until the sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form.
- Gradually fold in the flour and powdered sugar mixture (about ¼ cup at a time).
- Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, and gently cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Immediately invert pan, but cool completely before removing cake from pan.
Rather than discard the yolks, I prefer to refrigerate them for another use, like ice cream or the custard recipe below to go atop this easy angel food cake.
More Easy Angel Food Cake Recipes
Real Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake – I love this version from Cooking Light (March 2006) not only because it’s spiked with vanilla bean, but also because it is a bit lower in sugar than the standard recipe.
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake – You won’t believe how perfect this gluten-free version looks – it could fool anyone. Amy even makes it without refined sugars.
Vegan Angel Food Cake – In all honesty, I don’t believe that angel food cake has yet been replicated in an egg-free version. Without the fluffed egg whites, the end result will always be a bit (or a lot) heavier. But this cake recipe looks to be a nice option for vegans and those with egg allergies when a lighter summer cake is in order.
More Topping Options
Chunky Blueberry Maple Sauce - This recipe from my kitchen is “unrefined” in more than one way. Many of the berries are left whole for a rustic feel, and it’s sweetened with just pure maple syrup. Feel free to use mixed berries for a multicolored dessert:
Add 2 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup maple syrup (can sub agave or honey), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon cornstarch, whisking to combine (I didn’t have any clumping problems with this method), and continue to simmer for a few minutes more to thicken.
Custard Filling – Use up some egg yolks and layer your angel food cake with a creamy custard:
Combine 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 egg yolks, and 1 cup of your favorite regular or vanilla milk alternative in the top of a double boiler. Stir well with a whisk. Cook over simmering water for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly. Remove the mixture from the heat; whisk in 1 tablespoon of dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Pour the custard into a bowl; place plastic wrap directly on top of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
Vanilla Icing / Glaze – Enjoy this quick option atop your dairy-free and easy angel food cake:
Melt 1 tablespoon of dairy-free margarine in a medium bowl (can sub shortening or coconut oil, but will be a touch different). Whisk in 1 tablespoon of corn syrup, 1 tablespoon of original or vanilla milk alternative, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1-1/2 cups powdered / confectioners’ sugar. Whisk in more milk alternative to reach the desired consistency. Pour over cake.
Additional recipes from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook that will go beautifully with this angel food cake include the Cool Whipped Coconut Cream, the Sweet & Silky Butterscotch Sauce, and the Quick Caramelita Sauce.