This simple gluten-free angel food cake recipe is spongy in texture, light in calories, and delicious in taste. If you miss angel food cake, read this article to learn how to make it at home. It’s the perfect summer dessert with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosures.
I don’t recall the last time I had angel food cake. It was definitely before I was diagnosed with celiac disease years ago.
I remember buying the sweet, spongy cake at the supermarket, covering it with fresh-cut strawberries, and dousing it with plenty of sweet whipped cream.
It truly is an angelic dessert – light, fluffy, and sweet.
If I want to enjoy angel food cake again while following a strict gluten-free diet, I would have to learn how to make my own. And that’s precisely what I set out to do.
As I learned all about angel food cake, one takeaway is that this cake hardly contains any flour.
It gets its shape and texture from whipped egg whites (similar to a meringue cake) rather than from the proteins found in wheat. I knew making a gluten-free version of this delightful dessert would be a piece of cake!
While this gluten-free angel food cake recipe doesn’t require a lot of flour, it requires some.
I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend (in the blue bag) to make a gluten-free version of angel food cake, and I must say, the flour blend worked perfectly.
Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend contains a blend of flour, starches, and xanthan gum that work together to mimic the taste and texture of wheat flour.
What is Angel Food Cake?
If you’re new to angel food cake, it’s a light, airy dessert with a sponge-like texture.
The cake is made primarily with egg whites, sugar, and flour (usually cake flour, but in this case, I used gluten-free flour), whipped together until they form a fluffy, meringue-like batter.
The resulting cake is tall, fluffy, and white, slightly spongy like a marshmallow or cotton candy.
Regarding taste, angel food cake is mildly sweet and has a subtle vanilla flavor from adding vanilla extract.
The cake is not overly rich or buttery like some other cakes, making it an excellent option for those who prefer lighter desserts.
Because of its light and airy texture, angel food cake pairs well with fruit, whipped cream (or Cool Whip), or other toppings that add moisture and flavor without weighing down the delicate cake
How to Make Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
I utilized the baking ratios outlined by Michael Ruhlman in his book, Ratio.
According to Ruhlman, angel food cake is three parts egg white, three parts sugar, and one part flour.
Of course, when using ratios to build a recipe, you need a kitchen scale. I highly recommend investing in a scale if you like to bake because you will use it often. This recipe is finicky, so you need to measure everything precisely.
In the recipe below, I have provided you with both the weight and the cup – albeit weight measurements will give you a much more accurate recipe.
Below is how to make this recipe in five simple steps:
Step #1: Whip the Egg Whites
To make your angel food cake batter, start by whipping the egg whites into weak peaks using the whisk attachment and your standing mixer.
I highly recommend using real eggs vs. store-bought egg whites for the best results. You will waste the yolks, but the cake will have a great chance at success with real eggs.
While whipping the egg whites, add salt, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla, and then slowly sprinkle in 6 ounces of sugar and mix for 1-2 minutes.
Angel food cake is fussy, so don’t over-whisk the egg whites.
Ruhlman says in his book that “mixing the egg whites to just the right volume and no more” and whisking them on medium-high speed vs. mixing them “feverishly” are keys to making the perfect angel food cake.
Your cake won’t rise properly if the egg whites are too stiff.
The perfect whipped egg whites should hold weak peaks and be pourable. This is how you know you mixed them correctly.
Step #2: Fold in the Remaining Sugar and Flour
Remove the egg white mixture from the standing mixer.
Then, using a spatula, slowly and gently fold in the remaining sugar and flour until all of the flour is incorporated into the egg-white mixture.
You can fold it by adding a bit of the sugar-flour mixture, then folding the egg whites onto themselves. Repeat until all the flour-sugar is incorporated.
Now pour the batter into a non-stick angel food cake pan (this is the exact pan I use). It’s a round pan with a hole in the center and a detachable bottom. The carved-out center gives the cake more surface area to cling to as it rises.
A Word About Angel Food Cake Pans
You must use an angel food cake pan when making angel food cake. The shape allows the cake to rise and bake evenly, with air circulating the entire cake.
Also, angel food cake pans are made of aluminum or other lightweight materials that allow the cake to rise without collapsing under its weight, which could happen with heavier pans.
Angel food cake pans also have a non-stick coating that makes removing the cake from the pan easy once it’s baked. Angel food cake is delicate and can easily stick to the sides of the pan.
You should not grease an angel food cake pan when making an angel food cake! The cake needs plenty of surface area to “grab” onto to help it properly rise.
Some angel food cake pans also have feet at the bottom, which allows the pan to be inverted after baking. This helps the cake cool evenly and prevents it from collapsing as it cools. (My angel food cake pan doesn’t have feet, so I cool it upside-down on a wire rack.)
While making angel food cake in other pans is possible, a specialized pan will yield the best results and help ensure that your cake bakes evenly and maintains its light and airy texture.
If you don’t have an angel food cake pan, a non-stick 9″ springform pan with an oven-safe glass inserted in the middle could work. I have not tried this technique and found investing in an angel food cake pan easier and more reliable.
Step #3: Bake
Bake the cake in a 350º F preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step #4: Cool
Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to FULLY cool. If your angel food cake pan has feet, you can also cool it upside-down on its feet.
Please note the cake will not fall on the rack; air will circulate through the cake and cool it evenly, and it may slowly inch down the pan. In my experience, the cake does not move until I push down on the detachable centerpiece. More on that in a bit.
Again, some angel food cake pans, like this one, have legs on them, so when the cake is inverted, the air can circulate under the cake without needing a wire rack.
As the cake cools, it eventually falls onto the cooling rack, but if it doesn’t, you can gently and evenly push the middle of the angel food cake pan down to loosen the cake from the pan.
Please note that the bottom of the pan is not attached to the pan, so you need an angel food cake pan to make this recipe.
If needed, as a last resort, gently scrape the sides with a spatula to gently loosen it from the pan. You’ll serve the cake in the inverted position.
Don’t worry if parts of the cake become stuck to the pan. Just press those pieces back in place and dust the damaged parts of the cake with powdered sugar and strawberries.
No one will see any blemishes. Can you see mine? (Hint, I’m hiding imperfections under the strawberries.)
Step #5: Serve and Enjoy
The only way to serve angel food cake is with strawberries… and maybe a little whipped cream.
I washed and cut delicious organic strawberries into bite-sized pieces and surrounded the cake with these antioxidant-rich tart berries.
Blueberries would also work well, and they, too, pack an antioxidant punch.
And no gluten-free angel food cake recipe would be complete without whipped cream (you can get dairy-free whipped cream too).
Be sure to use a serrated knife when cutting angel food cake. Straight, sharp edges compress and squish the cake, whereas a serrated knife gently punctures the cake and offers perfectly fluffy slices.
How Does It Taste?
It’s hard to believe this cake is gluten-free because it tastes exactly like I remember angel food cake tasting.
The cake is light, spongy, sweet, and delicious! It almost tastes like spongy cotton candy, and I love it!
This cake is the perfect romantic dessert (hello, Valentine’s Day) or a light summery potluck dessert when berry season is in its prime.
I promise you… even the gluten-eaters in your life will love this cake!
My father loves it, and he doesn’t eat gluten-free. He says it tastes better than anything he could have bought at a grocery store. That’s how I know this gluten-free angel food cake is the real deal!
My cake didn’t rise: The egg whites should be whipped to perfection. Over-whipping or under-whipping could affect the rise of the cake.
Whip the egg whites over medium speed until you achieve weak peaks that are still pourable. The cake’s ability to rise will be impacted if the peaks are too stiff.
I also recommend using egg whites from eggs vs. egg whites from a carton for the best results.
Can you make an egg-free version of angel food cake? I haven’t tried it with eggs, and to be honest, egg whites are a crucial ingredient to this cake. If you dare go there, try making it with Ener-G egg replacer, and please report the results!
How can you make this cake dairy free? It’s already dairy free as-is, as Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour and all other ingredients are dairy-free. I suggest using this dairy-free whipped cream too.
My cake is stuck to the pan. What do I do? This happens to me all the time. Allow the cake to cool fully before gently pressing the detachable center part of the pan down. You will slowly but surely jimmy the cake out of the pan.
Then, using a flat spatula, gently detach the part of the cake pan stuck to the top of the cake. If any cake comes off in chunks, smoosh it back into place and cover it with a bit of powdered sugar and strawberries. Blemishes can easily be covered up.
Can I freeze angel food cake: This cake goes fast, so I rarely have leftovers. Store any leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
You can make the cake a day ahead of time, cover it, and serve it without any worry about the cake going bad. It stays moist for several days after you make it.
Also, you can freeze a whole angel food cake, but be careful not to smoosh it. It’s a gentle, spongy cake. Simply defrost the cake at room temperature before serving.
Help! My cake deflates when I cut it. Remember to cut angel food cake with a serrated knife and gently slice it so you don’t press down on the spongy cake. A serrated knife will give you delicate and large pieces you can be proud of!
Are you looking for more recipes featuring delicious strawberries? Check out my article, 24 Amazing and Gluten-Free Strawberry Recipes.
Gluten-Free Pop Tarts: Have fun making this nostalgic treat! Copycat gluten-free pop tarts are easier to make than you think!
Healthy Apple-Cranberry Crisp: This healthy apple-cranberry crisp recipe is the perfect fruit-filled dessert.
Strawberry Chia Jam: This homemade strawberry chia jam is addictive and has a lovely taste and texture.
More Recipes with Bob’s Red Mill: I’ve got 15+ classic recipes made with Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend ready for your viewing pleasure. Check them all out here.
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
- 12 ounces egg whites about 10 large eggs
- 12 ounces sugar divided in half
- 4 ounces Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend (about 2/3 cup)
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- strawberries optional
- whipped cream optional
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Sift together 6 ounces of the sugar with 4 ounces of the flour. Set flour-sugar mixture aside for later. (The remaining 6 ounces of sugar should be reserved for use in the egg white mixture.)
- Add 12 ounces of egg whites to a large bowl attached to your standing mixer (or use your hand mixer). Using the whisk attachment, mix egg whites on medium speed for 1 minute.
- Add salt, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla to egg whites and continue mixing on medium-high speed for another 1 minute. Slowly add the remaining 6 ounces of sugar while the mixer is mixing and mix for another 1-2 minutes until egg whites form weak peaks and the mixture is pourable. Do not overmix. Stiff peak will affect the cake's ability to rise. You want weak peaks that are still pourable. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
- Add 1/4 cup of the sifted flour-sugar mixture to the egg white mixture at a time, gently folding the flour-sugar mixture into the egg white mixture until all of the flour is incorporated into the batter. Do not overmix.
- Pour the mixture into a 9" inch non-stick angel food cake pan. See alternative pan options in the Notes section. Do NOT grease the pan.
- Add the cake to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool in pan for 5 minutes before flipping it onto a cooling rack. The cake will not budge when flipped, rather, as it cools, it will slowly move down the pan. Allow cake to cool for 2+ hours in the inverted position before pressing the detachable centerpiece down to gently wiggle the cake from the pan. Be gentle. Before removing the top piece from the cake, you can use a flat spatula to gently loosen it too.
- Cut the cake with a serrated knife to get fluffy pieces. Serve with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, optional.