Easy Recipe for Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake. Follow this simple recipe for the best angel food cake you’ve ever made. Perfect served with berries and whipped cream.
If you’ve baked angel food cake before, this recipe asks you to forget almost everything you know about the process. And if you’ve never baked an angel food cake, you’re in luck. This version is ridiculously easy–and you don’t need to forget any prior techniques!
Why You’ll Love This Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
- Easy to Make. You start by whipping together cold eggs and sugar. A sturdy stand mixer does all of the work.
- Light and Tender. This gluten-free angel food cake bakes up so light and tender.
- Perfect Served with Whipped Cream and Berries. This cake tastes great on its own but it’s also really tasty with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh berries.
How to Make a Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake: The Important Steps
- Whip together the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar. This isn’t a fussy recipe. Simply combine the egg white, cream of tartar, and salt and whip until thick and shiny. This takes about 10 minutes on a stand mixer. Don’t give up! Unlike some recipes for angel food cake, there’s no need to add the sugar a little at a time.
- Slowly add the gluten-free flour. Once the egg whites are thick and shiny, add the gluten-free flour. Go slow here. It’s important. You want to add about a quarter cup at a time. Be sure each addition of flour is incorporated before adding more.For the first few tests, I attempted to fold the flour into the whipped egg whites with a rubber spatula. This lead to some of the flour sinking to the bottom of the mixing bowl—causing the batter to deflated and bake with streaks of unhydrated flour throughout.
The solution to the problem was simple. I added the flour, in four additions, with the stand mixer running. As soon as the last bit of flour is incorporated, you’re done.
- Gently spread the batter into an ungreased angel food pan. It’s important that you don’t grease the pan when making angel food cake. You want the batter to climb the sides of the pan and stick.
- Bake until set. Bake until the internal temperature of the cake reaches 205 degrees F. or until the cake is golden brown. Underbaked gluten-free angel food cakes can collapse. So it’s important to bake it thoroughly.
- Cool upside down. Before baking, check out your pan. Does it have little feet sticking up on the edge? These are for cooling. You invert the pan onto the feet. Some pans have this feature and some don’t. If your pan doesn’t have cooling feet, find a glass bottle before baking. As soon as the angel food cake comes out of the oven, turn it over onto the neck of the bottle to cool.
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake: The Ingredients
Cold Egg Whites: Angel food cakes requires a lot of egg whites. How many? A full dozen! And there’s no need to use room temperature eggs. Cold egg whites work great in this recipe.
Cream of Tartar: A little cream of tartar has a big impact. Just 1 1/2 teaspoons allows the egg whites to whip up thick and shiny.
Granulated Sugar: Angel food cakes are, simply put, a baked sweet meringue. This is why they taste a bit like cotton candy. Reducing the amount of sugar called for in the recipe doesn’t work. Sorry!
Salt: A little salt balances out the sugar and gives our angel food cake it’s delicate-sweet flavor.
Gluten-Free Flour: During testing, I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. If you use a different flour blend, the cake might turn out differently from mine and some blends can cause the cake to collapse as it cools. For the best results, I strongly recommend using this blend.
Vanilla Extract: Use vanilla extract to flavor the cake. Some flavorings, like peppermint, orange, and lemon, many contain oil and cause the cake to collapse. (see troubleshooting for more information on why to avoid oil in your angel food cake.)
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake: The Pan
The pan is an important part of the success of angel food cake. Here’s the lowdown: you need a 10-inch uncoated pan.
As the cake bakes, it needs to cling to the sides of the pan. If it can’t stick to the pan, the cake will sink and turn out heavy.
If you need to buy an angel food pan, look for one with legs. The cake is cooled upside down. If your pan has feet, you simply flip it over. If the pan doesn’t have legs, you need to find something, like a bottle or stack of cans, to rest the pan on while it cools. While this isn’t hard, it’s a bit of a pain.
Troubleshooting Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
De-grease the Bowl and Whisk. Angel food cake requires a grease-free mixing bowl and whisk. Even just a little bit of grease can prevent the egg whites whipping into a thick meringue. Before mixing, wash your bowl and whisk to remove any greasy film that might be clinging to it.
Keep Egg Yolks Out the Mix. When separating the egg whites from the yolks, it’s a good idea to separate the egg white into an individual bowl. Then pour the white into the mixing bowl. This way if a little bit of egg yolk gets into the white, you can easily remove it. (To remove a little yolk, use half an eggshell. The edge of the shell cuts through egg whites.)
Cool Upside Down Angel food cakes, like chiffon cakes, require an unusual step: you cool them upside down. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, flip it over.
Many angel food cake pans have little legs on them, making it easy to flip the pan over and cool it on the legs. If your pan doesn’t have feet, carefully invert the pan onto the neck of a bottle or a stack of cans.
Why did my angel food cake fall out of the pan?
There are some common causes for this.
- The cake was underbaked. This is the most common problem. If the cake is underbaked, even just a little, the moisture remaining in the cake makes it heavy and the weight pulls it out of the pan. Bake the cake until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F. At this point, the cake will look golden brown.
- The pan was coated. Angel food cake needs to cling to the pan when cooling. If the pan was coated with a nonstick coating or if it was sprayed with oil before baking, it will slip from the pan.
- The Kitchen was cold. If your kitchen is 68 degrees for below, the cake can contact and fall from the pan before it sets. Stella Parks suggests this solution for cold kitchens: open the oven door and place the inverted cake on the stovetop, where drafts of warm air will stabilize its temperature.
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake: Supplies
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Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
Easy Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake. Light and Tender.
- 1 cup gluten-free baking flour (5 ounces; 142 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (11 ounces; 312 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 large egg whites (about 14 ounces; 396 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat Oven. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and remove the top rack. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift gluten-free flour and set aside.(This removes any lumps in the gluten-free flour.)
Whip the Egg Whites. Stir together granulated sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add egg whites and vanilla extract. Whisk on low to combine, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high (6-8 on a KitchenAid) and whip 6 minutes.
Increase speed to high (10 on a KitchenAid) and whip until the meringue is shiny, white, and thick. This takes between 2-4 minutes. The tines of the whisk should leave a pattern in the meringue. Stop the mixer and remove the whisk attachment from the bowl. The meringue clinging to the whisk should form a very soft peak. You want it to fall in a thick ribbon off the whisk. Replace the whisk and turn the mixer back on to high speed.
Slowly the Gluten-Free Flour. Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and mix until incorporated. Allow each addition of flour to incorporate before adding the next.
Bake the Cake. Spoon batter into an ungreased 10-inch aluminum tube pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 50 minutes. (The internal temperature of the cake should be 206°F.)
Cool the Cake. Remove pan from the oven and immediately invert onto the legs of the pan. If the pan does not have legs, invert onto the neck of a wine bottle. Cool for at least 2 hours. If the kitchen is cold, place the pan on top of the oven to cool and prop the oven door open.
Remove the Cake from the Pan. Slide an offset spatula around the sides of the cake to loosen. Remove the insert, and slide a spatula under the bottom of the cake. Gently lift the cake off the insert and place onto a serving dish.
To serve, cut with a serrated knife. Store leftovers wrapped tightly in plastic for up to 1 week at room temperature.