Gluten free angel food cake is made with nothing more than egg whites, flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt, in just the right combination. What could be simpler or more perfect for any celebration!
There’s something about warm-weather weekends that just cries out for this gluten free angel food cake. If you ask my kids, it’s practically health food since it’s mostly whipped egg whites and a lot of ’em. A good angel food cake is light as air, and will never, ever leave you feeling heavy and regretful on a hot day—or any day.
To make this cake a show-stopper, all you really have to commit to is to sift the dry ingredients 4 times. I am usually loathe to sift dry ingredients even once, but an angel food cake is so simple and has so few ingredients that sifting is indispensable.
I love recipes like this gluten free angel food cake that can transform the simplest, most basic baking ingredients (here: eggs, flour, sugar, salt) into an endless number of recipes. Without getting too wonky, consider this: Use just the whites and whip them into a meringue, you’re halfway to an angel food cake.
Add the yolks and switch up the ratios, and you’ll make fresh gluten free pasta. Use fewer eggs but add the yolks plus a little bit of butter, again with different ratios, and you can makecrêpes. All you really need is the right recipe. That’s where I come in. :)
A note about tube pans: If you don’t have one, you can divide the batter between two high-sided nonstick loaf pans, and start checking for doneness after 20 minutes. Right this very moment, I am without a tube pan as I had to throw mine away after making the cake you see in these photos. If I had used it one more time, like I really wanted to, it would have crossed the line from nonstick to stick. I believe that tube pans are semi-disposable as they always give out and start to stick after about 10 uses. It used to make me mad, and sad, but now I just accept it as a fact of life and make sure I buy an inexpensive 2-piece tube pan (aff link).
Now let’s get to that recipe. Even with the sifting, it’s simple and never fails to impress. Let the celebrations begin!
Sliced strawberries and whipped cream, for serving
*A note about the flour: To make cake flour, I used 115 grams of Better Batter + 25 grams cornstarch. You can make this cake with a full cup of Better Batter (cake flour just makes for a lighter cake), or a full cup of Cup4Cup (or my mock Cup4Cup) for cake flour-like results.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Set a 10-inch nonstick tube pan (preferably a two-piece tube pan that has a removable bottom) to the side.
Sift flour mixture 4 times. This is an essential step. Set a medium-size bowl and a piece of parchment paper side by side on a flat surface, along with a sifter. Sift 3/4 cup (86 g) of the confectioner’s sugar, flour, and xanthan gum into the bowl. Remove the sifter, and sift the mixture again onto the parchment paper. Sift 2 more times for a total of 4 times between the bowl and the parchment. Add the salt, and whisk to combine.
Make the meringue. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites, warm water, cream of tartar and almond (or vanilla) extract on medium-high speed, gradually adding the remaining 3/4 cup (86 g) confectioner’s sugar in 3 or 4 batches, until soft peaks form (about 3 minutes). Once all the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to high and beat until peaks become stiff and glossy, about another 2 minutes. The beater will begin to leave a trail in the whites.
Finish the batter and place in the pan. In 4 batches, add the sifted flour mixture to the meringue, gently folding it into the meringue with a silicone spatula after each addition, working quickly but carefully, so as not to deflate the meringue. Carefully transfer the batter to the ungreased tube pan. Run a butter knife carefully through the batter in a careful circular motion to release any trapped pockets of air, and smooth the top with a silicone spatula. The pan will be nearly full.
Bake the cake. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean, the top is lightly browned, and it springs back when pushed gently, about 35 minutes (begin checking at 30 minutes).
Cool the cake and remove from the pan. Once out of the oven, invert the pan over a long-neck bottle if your pan doesn’t have legs to elevate it from the counter when inverted. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour. Coax the cake away from the sides of the pan with a butter knife or offset spatula, and release onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Slice with a large serrated knife (move the knife in one direction only, rather than sawing, for the cleanest cut), and serve with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.
Recipe originally published on this blog on January 5, 2012. I rephotographed and republished it so I could showcase the recipe, which is a great one, rather than hoping you never find it in the archives. :)