Angel food cake


Moms love to cook for their sons.  Curt’s mom once provided me with the recipe for her sour cherry pie – “Curt’s favorite” – along with the already-made crumb topping.  My own boys are starting to love some of the things I make – chicken pot pie, for one – and you’d  better believe that’s the stuff that’s in heavy rotation now.

Well, my own dad’s mom was no exception – she made this Angel Food Cake at his request, or even when he didn’t request it, just because she knew how much he loved it. Of course, the rest of us loved it, too.

This cake was most often served with peaches or strawberries in sauce. I also remember that it was so tall and fluffy that it had to be cut with a very sharp, serrated knife. Otherwise it’ll squish down and that defeats the whole thing.

I haven’t personally tried making this, but I am reminded now that I should.  Meantime, I will reprint her recipe here for the record. If you make it, check back and leave a comment to let me know how it went.



2 cups egg whites (Grandma didn’t say how many eggs it takes to make 2 cups. Probably the better part of a dozen!)

1½ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Sift together one cup of sugar with the flour.
  2. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy. (Much easier with an electric mixer, but knock yourself out if you have a hand-crank egg beater.) Add cream of tartar and vanilla extract and continue beating until peaks form.
  3. By hand using a spoon, gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and beat, then add the sugar/flour mixture, gently folding into the eggs in 4 equal parts.
  4. Pour batter into an angel food cake pan.  (Oh, crap, this is a show-stopper. I don’t own one of these. Therefore, step #1 should probably be, run to Target and buy an angel food cake pan.)
  5. Bake at 375 degrees until browned and feels “springy” to the touch.

Admittedly, Grandma’s card was a little skimpy on the details. Because I lack the direct knowledge that would be immensely helpful in posting this recipe (but why let that stop me?), I had to turn to the internet to fill in the blanks. Alton Brown’s recipe from The Food Network looks good, and although the ingredients are different, I have to believe the technique is similar. His helpful details include:


  • Use 12 of the freshest eggs you can find, because they are easier to separate, and they should be close to room temperature
  • Food-process the sugar so that it’s super-fine
  • He suggests cake flour because of its finer texture
  • He also includes instructions for testing for doneness, and requires that you leave the cake upside down to cool for an hour in the pan before attempting to remove it from the pan.
  • The tube pan should be UNGREASED! I would have thought grease, and Grandma’s card didn’t specify. Alton (and others) say no grease, so there you have it.


Picture by musicpb on Flickr
Picture by musicpb on Flickr




4 thoughts on “Angel food cake

  1. Hi, Just wanted to let you know I made your Grandma’s recipe and it turned out great. I think it has the perfect amount of sweetness and seemed okay made with AP flour. Next time I may use cake flour to see if it’s any lighter. 2 cups egg whites = 16 large eggs. I also found I needed to mix the flour into the whites in a larger bowl due to the volume (Kitchenaid bowl was just too small). I was a little skeptical of my pan but after allowing the cake to completely cool, overnight, it came right out of the pan beautifully (my pan doesn’t have a removable bottom). It was fun to come across this recipe…thank you for posting it.

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