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 easily make it at home. It’s truly the perfect summer dessert to serve with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. It’s practically a salad! 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, then 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.
I knew if I wanted to enjoy angel food cake again, I’d have to learn how to make my own. And that is exactly what I set out to do.
As I learned all about angel food cake, one takeaway is that this cake hardly contains any flour. In fact, 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 call for a lot of flour, it does require some. That’s why I always keep my trusty Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend (in the blue bag) on hand. Works perfectly as a one-to-one measurement in lieu of wheat flour.
Please note that this same “cup for cup” flour swap doesn’t work with any flour, such as brown rice flour; rather, you need a blend of flours, starches and gums to create a gluten-free flour blend that measures the same as wheat flour and mimics the texture and structure of gluten. That is what Bob’s Red Mill created with it’s 1-to-1 gluten-free flour blend.
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 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. If you like to bake, I highly recommend investing in a scale because you will use it a lot. This recipe is finicky, so you need to measure everything exact.
That said, in the recipe below, I have provided you with both the measurements in weight and by cup – albeit weight measurements will provide you with a much more accurate recipe.
Below is how to make this recipe in five simple steps:
Step #1: Whip 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 a carton of egg whites (vs. separating the whites from the yolks) to limit waste and for great results.
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. In fact, 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. If the egg whites are too stiff, your cake won’t rise properly.
Your egg whites should hold weak peaks and be pourable. This is how you know you mixed them perfectly.
Step #2: Fold in Remaining Sugar and Flour
Remove your egg white mixture from your standing mixer. Then, using a spatula, slowly and gently fold in the remaining sugar and flour until all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the egg white mixture. You can fold it by adding a little bit of the sugar-flour mixture, then folding the egg whites onto themselves. Repeat until all the flour-sugar mixture 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.
Do NOT grease the pan. The cake needs plenty of surface area to “grab” onto to help it properly rise.
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 it easier and more reliable to simply invest in an angel food cake pan.
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. Be careful. The pan is hot.
Please note the cake will not fall on the rack, rather, air will circulate through the cake and cool it evenly, and it may slowly inch down the pan. In my experiences, the cake does not move until I push down on the detachable center piece. More on that in a bit.
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 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, 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 press those pieces back in place and dust the damaged parts of the cake with a little powdered sugar and strawberries. No one will see any blemishes. Can you see mine? (Hint, I messed up the cake but am hiding the damage under the strawberries.)
Step #5: Serve and Enjoy
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 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 will compress and squish the cake, whereas a serrated knife will gently puncture the cake and offer up 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 takes like spongy cotton candy and I love it!
This cake is the perfect romantic dessert (hello Valentine’s Day) or makes for 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.
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, you can try making it with Ener-G egg replacer and please report back 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 is dairy free, and so are all the other ingredients. 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 fully cool 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 of the cake comes off in chunks, just smoosh it back into place and cover it with a little powdered sugar and/or strawberries. Blemishes are easily 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, and serve without any worry of the cake going bad. 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 it 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!
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.
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 ’em 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 to 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 mixture is pourable. Do not overmix. Remove bowl from 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 mixture 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.