Why this recipe works
Growing up, my mom would make us angel food cake for every birthday. She would top it with a slathering of Cool Whip and crushed up Heath toffee bars.
When I got diagnosed with celiac disease and found out I needed to be gluten-free, I thought my days of eating angel food cake were over. Maybe you thought that, too.
Good news! I’ve created a gluten-free angel food cake recipe that tastes just like the gluten-filled traditional angel food cake. Light, fluffy, heavenly. In every bite! With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a light dessert that is perfect for any occasion – Mother’s Day, Easter, birthdays, and more!
Top a big slice of this angel food cake with some homemade whipped cream and fresh berries, a drizzle of strawberry coulis, or some chocolate sauce. No matter which way you top it, this cake is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- Gluten-free flour – I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking flour for this recipe which already contains xanthan gum. If your gluten-free flour blend does not contain xanthan gum, you will want to add the amount specified in the recipe.
- Cornstarch – Cornstarch is used in combination with the gluten-free flour blend to mimic a gluten-free cake flour, which makes this cake light and airy.
- Cream of tartar – Using an ingredient like cream of tartar helps to stabilize the egg whites. You can also use lemon juice or white vinegar if you prefer in this recipe.
Follow these easy step by step photos and instructions to make the perfect angel food cake. The numbers of the steps correlate to each numbered photo. For printable instructions, scroll down to the recipe card.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, gluten-free all purpose flour blend, xanthan gum, cornstarch and sea salt in a large bowl until combined. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Add the egg whites to a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until the egg whites look frothy (see image 2). Add the cream of tartar and beat until the egg whites hold soft peaks. This means the egg whites will be opaque and white and the egg whites at the tip of the whisk attachment will hold a soft shape that curves. It will not be stiff and holding a straight shape.
- Then, while still beating at medium speed, add the granulated sugar to the egg whites very gradually, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Let the whisk mix for a minute or so in between each addition so that the sugar can dissolve into the mixture. This whole process will take awhile. Do not rush the process. As the sugar gradually gets added, it is forming the structure of our cake.
- Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks (see image 4). The egg white will be white and opaque and when you lift up the whisk attachment the egg whites on the end will hold a stiff and firm shape.
5. Once your egg whites have reached the stiff peak stage, add the flour mixture over the egg whites. Gently fold with a spatula until the dry ingredients are completely folded in and no streaks remain. Be sure not to deflate the egg whites.
6. Transfer the angel food cake batter to a round angel food pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
7. Place the angel food cake in the preheated oven and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is lightly browned and springs back when you press a finger to it. If you insert a toothpick in the center, it should also come out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately invert pan on a cooling rack so it is elevated. You can also insert a bottle into the hole of the angel food cake pan and let the pan rest inverted on the bottle if you prefer. Let cool completely.
8. Once cool, run a knife along the sides of the pan (including the center ring) to loosen the cake from the pan. Invert the cake back onto a serving plate. Slice pieces with a serrated knife and top with fresh whipped cream and berries before serving.
- Make sure that you take your time with adding the granulated sugar to the egg whites. Just add one tablespoon at a time. Adding slowly helps build the structure of the meringue and prevents any graininess by making sure that the sugar has dissolved into the meringue with each addition.
- I always advise you to weigh your ingredients for best results in baking. I’ve included the metric measurements in the recipe card. For ingredients like gluten-free flour and cornstarch, the way you scoop with a measuring cup can vastly change the recipe. A food scale is very inexpensive. The one I use was under $10 at my local store.
- Do not let any egg yolks get in with the egg whites. They will make it difficult for your egg whites to reach stiff peaks.
Typically, no, angel food cake is NOT gluten-free. It uses a cake flour that is wheat-based to make the cake light and fluffy. My gluten-free angel food cake recipe is formulated with a gluten-free flour blend to make it gluten-free.
Angel food cakes are one of the most delicate cakes you can make so it’s really best if you use an angel food cake pan, also known as a tube pan. It’s a tall, uncoated pan with a hole in the center and it’s usually made from aluminum with a removable bottom. The tall, uncoated sides give the cake batter something to grip to as it rises, while the removable bottom of the tube pan makes it easy to be able to remove the cake from the pan.
While both cakes have very similar ingredients, angel food cake does not include egg yolks allowing you to whip a lot of air into the batter of the cake resulting in the airy texture angel food cake is so well known for.
A tube pan is the best pan to make an angel food cake, because the hole in the center of the pan lets the inside of the angel food cake bake and rise evenly. If you don’t have an angel food tube pan, I’d recommend making this recipe in two loaf (9×5-inch) pans. Do not grease the pans so that the batter can climb up the sides. You may have to adjust the baking time for this method. I’d recommend you start checking around the 20-minute mark. I do NOT recommend a bundt pan.
- Gluten-Free Cheesecake
- Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
- Gluten-Free Fruit Tart with Lemon Curd
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
- 1 cup powdered sugar (120g) (sifted)
- 1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (140g) (sifted)
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (if your gluten free flour does not contain it)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (20g)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½ cups egg whites (353g) (room temperature, about 10-12 large eggs)
- ½ tablespoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, gluten-free all purpose flour blend, xanthan gum (if using), cornstarch, and sea salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites. Beat on medium speed until the egg whites begin to look frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until the eggs hold soft peaks.
- Then, while still beating at medium speed, gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Mix thoroughly in between each addition. The total process will take awhile to add all of the granulated sugar slowly.
- Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the egg whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg whites. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites, being careful to not deflate the egg whites.
- Transfer the angel food cake batter to an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Place in the preheated oven on the lowest position and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is lightly browned and springs back when you press a finger to it. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately invert the pan on a cooling rack so it is elevated. Let cool completely.
- Once cool, run a knife along the edges (including the center ring) to loosen the cake from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving platter and top with fresh whipped cream and berries before serving.
- As always, be sure to check your ingredient labels or consult the manufacturer to make sure all of your ingredients are gluten-free.
- For best results, weigh your ingredients (especially the gluten-free flour and cornstarch) using a food scale instead of measuring with measuring cups. Since this cake is so light and airy, you do not want to accidentally use too much flour which will make the cake dense and heavy.
- Be sure to not get any egg yolks in with the egg whites, as your meringue will not form properly into stiff peaks.
- You can use an electric hand mixer for this recipe, but I prefer to use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. It does take awhile for the egg whites to whip up, and your hand may start to hurt if using a hand mixer. I do not advise making this recipe by hand with a whisk. It will take far too long and you will not get the proper air whipped into the eggs for angel food cake.
- To store leftovers, you can place the angel food cake in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. For longer storage, you can freeze the angel food cake. To do so, I like to place angel food cake slices on a baking sheet and flash freeze for an hour. Then, wrap the slices individually and transfer to an airtight container or freezer-safe Ziploc bag.