This gluten-free angel food cake recipe and post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill and contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement for details.
I don’t think I can recall the last time I had angel food cake.
It was definitely before I was gluten-free – so at least more than six years ago.
I remember buying the spongy cake at the supermarket, then covering it with fresh cut strawberries and plenty of whipped cream. It was an angelic dessert – light, fluffy and sweet.
I wondered if I could make my own gluten-free angel food cake recipe and once again enjoy this delicious treat.
An interesting thing I learned about angel food cake is that it has very little flour in it.
In fact, as you’ll see in the recipe, the structure of the cake is highly dependent on whipped egg whites (with a bit of cream of tartar, which is simply powdered acid to help stabilize the egg white foam and whiten the mixture) rather than the proteins found in wheat.
Related Reading: 24 Amazing and Gluten-Free Strawberry Recipes
A classic angel food cake is more of a meringue cake, and typically uses a small amount of cake flour. Cake flour is a light, low protein, high starch flour.
The protein content in cake flour is about 8 percent, lower than the protein content in all-purpose wheat flour, which is about 10-11 percent.
If you eat gluten free, you know that the “protein” in wheat flour is gluten.
This means that angel food cake doesn’t need much protein – aka, gluten – to maintain its structure or elasticity.
About the Gluten-Free Flour
I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend as the “cake flour” in my gluten-free angel food cake recipe.
This flour measures cup for cup with wheat flour, making it an easy swap in most recipes.
If your recipe calls for one cup of wheat flour, you simply use one cup of Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend. Easy, right?
Please note that you can’t do a cup for cup swap with any old rice flour. Rather, your gluten-free flour blend must be made from a variety of flours, starches and gums in order to fully mimic the texture and structure of gluten.
How to Make Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
Like so many recipes that have come before this, I utilized the ratios outlined by Michael Ruhlman in 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 scale. If you like to bake, I highly recommend you invest in a scale. (You can purchase a quality food scale for just $10-$15 – and you will use it a lot!)
In the recipe below, I have provided you with both the measurements in weight and by cup – albeit weight measurements will give you a much more accurate recipe.
To make your angel food cake batter, you’ll use your standing or handheld mixer to whip the egg whites into weak peaks.
You don’t want to overmix the egg whites; rather they should turn white in color and hold a weak peak after mixed on medium high speed after a couple of minutes.
Ruhlman says in his book that “mixing the egg whites to just the right volume and no more” is the key to making the perfect angel food cake.
He adds that you should not mix the cake “feverishly;” rather he says the egg whites should be whipped on medium to medium-high in order to prevent overmixing.
Egg whites that are too stiff, he says, won’t rise properly. The egg whites should be pourable, hold a weak peak, and be white in color.
Add to the egg whites salt, cream of tartar, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix for another minute on medium high speed, then slowly sprinkle in 6 ounces of sugar and mix for another 1-2 minutes. Do not overmix.
Using a spatula, you’ll now slowly and gently fold in the remaining sugar and flour until all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the egg white mixture.
You’ll then 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. The carved out center serves a purpose, as it gives the cake more surface area to cling to as it rises.
If you don’t have an angel food cake pan, a non-stick bundt cake pan will work, as will a 9″ springform pan with a glass inserted in the middle.
Do not grease the pan because the batter needs to expand as it rises. It crawls up the side of the pan as it bakes. Greased sides would deter such rising.
Also, once cooked, the gluten-free angel food cake must cool in the inverted position. If the pan were greased, the cake would fall out of the pan and quickly collapse.
When cooling an angel food cake, invert the cake onto a cooling rack. It will not fall on the rack, rather, air will circulate through the cake and cool it evenly.
Some angel food cake pans, like this awesome one, have legs on it, so when the cake is inverted, air is able to circulate under the cake without need of a wire rack.
As the cake cools, it eventually falls onto the cooling rack, but if it doesn’t, you can gently push the bottom 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, hence why you really need an angel food cake pan to make this recipe.
If needed, and as a last resort, you can 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 are stuck to the pan. Just cover it with a little powdered sugar and strawberries. No one will see any blemishes.
How to Serve Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
I believe the only way to serve angel food cake is with strawberries… and maybe a little whipped cream too.
I washed and cut delicious organic strawberries into a bite sized pieces, and surrounded the cake with this antioxidant-rich berry. Blueberries would also work well and they, too, pack an antioxidant punch.
And no gluten-free angel food cake recipe would be complete without some whipped cream (I can eat dairy, but I believe you can get dairy-free whipped cream too if you’re dairy-free).
Be sure to use a serrated knife when cutting angel food cake. Straight, sharp edges will compress and squish the cake, whereas a serrated knife will gently puncture the cake and offer up perfect slices.
How Does the Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake 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 takes like cotton candy, that’s how light it is!
It would make a perfect Valentine’s Day or summer BBQ treat to enjoy with the gluten-free people in your life – especially those you love most.
Oh, and even the gluten eaters in your life will love this cake! My father loves it and he doesn’t have to eat gluten free. He says it tastes better than anything he could have bought at a grocery store.
This angel food cake is the real deal – enjoy!
Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
- 12 ounces egg whites about 10 large eggs
- 12 ounces sugar - divided 3/4 cup, divided
- 4 ounces Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend 2/3 cup
- 1 Pinch of Kosher salt (about 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup strawberries washed and cut
- whipped cream optional
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Sift together half of the sugar (6 ounces) and flour, set aside.
- Add egg whites to a large bowl attached to your standing mixer (or use your hand mixer). Mix on medium speed for 1 minute.
- Add to egg whites salt, cream of tartar, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix for another minute on medium high speed, then slowly sprinkle in remaining sugar (6 ounces) and mix for another 1-2 minutes until egg whites are bright white in color, mixture is still pourable, and weak peaks are formed. Do not overmix.
- Using a spatula, slowly and gently fold in part of the sifted flour-sugar mixture by hand, working in batches until all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the egg mixture. Do not overmix.
- Pour mixture into a 9" or 10" inch non-stick angel food cake pan. See alternative pan options in the Notes section.
- Add cake to oven and bake for 35-45 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 stay inside the pan and gently move down the pan as it cools. Allow cake to cool for at least another 90 minutes in the inverted position before removing it from the pan. Do not force cake out of pan, just let it slowly detach from the pan as it cools. Once cooled, you can gently help it detach from the pan by pushing down the bottom of the pan and/or loosening the sides of it with a spatula. Be gentle!
- Enjoy your gluten-free angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream - optional but recommended.