Light and tender, this Gluten Free Angel Food Cake is a really special treat. Truly heavenly. It’s a fantastic way to use up a lot of saved egg whites, and it’s sure to make any lucky recipient feel blessed. (Couldn’t resist all the puns!)
This cake is so addicting. It’s light and tender, and it’s perfect on its own or with a side of fresh berries. It’s Gluten Free, Nut Free, and Dairy Free, and with maple syrup as the sweetener, it has half the glycemic load as a regular Angel Food Cake.
I don’t know about you, but if you have making any of my cookie recipes, then you’re probably like me and have at least one container full of egg whites sitting on your fridge’s top shelf begging for a purpose.
Well, today is the egg whites’ day to shine. Angel Food Cake uses only egg whites, so this is a perfect recipe to use up a ton of egg whites at once, and I can think of few better ways to use up a large amount of egg whites.
Angel Food Cake is such a beautiful cake. The texture is perfect, and it’s one of these cakes that is deceptively simple. It has a short list of ingredients, and it really doesn’t need frosting (although some people like to put a dollop of whipped cream on top of each slice). It’s perfect as is.
But behind all that fluffy angel food appearance is a lot of technique. This is a cake that is heavy on technique – and also time. It has to cool for at least 2 hours upside down. You can’t rush it. So, make sure you have enough time for this cake to reach its full beauty before you dive in.
Separating Egg Whites
If you don’t have a stash of egg whites in your fridge, then you will need to crack open and separate about 12 eggs. If you do that, please please please take the extra step of cracking them over three separate bowls. One bowl is for the current egg white you are cracking. The second is for the yolk of the egg you are cracking. The third bowl is for the accumulated egg whites. In other words, crack each egg into the first and second bowls, and then put each clean egg white into the third bowl. This avoids that dreaded scenario of having separated 11 eggs only to have the 12th egg be a runny mess and leak egg yolk into your bowl of 11 egg whites.
The mixing bowl that you beat the egg whites in must be absolutely clean. It cannot have any trace of fat on it. For that reason, it is best to use a metal or glass bowl (metal is… safer, obviously). Do not beat the egg whites in a plastic bowl. If there is any fat on the surface of the bowl, the egg whites will not form those lovely peaks that they should. And you will have a dozen egg whites to… turn into egg white omelets.
Do I really have to sift the flour?
Yes, you really do. You know that I am a
lazy efficient baker. I don’t like any extra steps that aren’t completely necessary, and I definitely don’t like using extra bowls or dishes that just mean more clean-up for me at the end.
But you do need to sift the flour for Angel Food Cake. And whisk it first. Whisk the flour with the cornstarch first to combine them. Then, sift them to lighten the mixture and make it easier to incorporate with the meringue. You don’t need a fancy sifter, just a fine mesh sieve will do.
Cooling Upside Down
Angel Food Cake must be cooled upside down. Otherwise, the cake will collapse and be dense and… just not very good. I highly recommend using an angel food cake pan that has little feet-like extensions so that when you turn the pan upside down, the pan is propped up on those little feet. This allows air flow underneath the pan.
If your pan does not have those little feet, then find a way to keep the pan lifted off of the counter while it cools. You could prop it on several even surfaces of the same height, like two cutting boards. Or, you can put a can underneath the center of the pan. Don’t worry, the cake will not fall out. Just make sure that whatever you prop the cake pan on top of is heatproof.
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe:
- Gluten Free
- Nut Free
- Dairy Free
- Low Cholesterol
- Low FODMAP
- No Refined Sugars
- Half the Glycemic Load of a regular Angel Food Cake
- Great way to use up egg whites
Ingredients for Gluten Free Angel Food Cake:
- egg whites
- cream of tartar
- almond extract
- maple syrup
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
Notes on Ingredients:
Egg whites – This recipe is the best for using up all those saved egg whites in the back of your fridge. Just be sure that there are absolutely no bits of yolk in them at all. Otherwise, the meringue will just not happen.
Salt – For flavor.
Cream of tartar – For stability. Cream of tartar helps the meringue to hold its structure.
Almond extract – Not vanilla. Almond gives the perfect flour for this super light cake.
Maple syrup - Maple syrup is the winner here for natural sweeteners. Interestingly, I tried this cake with Maple Sugar, but it didn’t rise as much. The meringue didn’t peak enough. I’m not sure why – if you have any theories, please left a note in the comments. However, I was secretly glad, because maple syrup is a lot cheaper and more readily available than maple sugar.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour – This is my go-to all-purpose gluten free flour. If you are using a blend that does not include xanthan gum, you probably need to add ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum.
Cornstarch – This is essential for giving this cake the tender crumb and lightness that makes it so scrumptious. If corn is not an option, you can try potato starch. I don’t recommend tapioca starch as it will be too chewy. Arrowroot starch will probably be too bitter. If you use a different starch, be sure to measure by weight so that you get the correct measurement.
How to Make Gluten Free Angel Food Cake From Scratch
More than most of the recipes I make, Angel Food Cake is very heavy on technique. The ingredient list is short, but the way that you incorporate that brief list of ingredients is very important.
First, preheat oven to 350 F.
Next, prepare an angel food cake pan. This is super important – do not grease it. If there is grease on the pan, the cake will not climb up the sides. It will just be flat and dense, not very angelic at all. Cut out a piece of parchment paper to go on the bottom of the pan.
Now get ready to make the cake batter.
In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the almond extract.
With the mixer running, slowly pour in the maple syrup. Allow the maple syrup to become fully incorporated before adding more. Beat until the meringue has soft peaks.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the cornstarch. Then, sift the flour and cornstarch. It’s important to do both. Whisking combines, sifting lightens.
With the mixer running on medium, add the flour mixture ¼ cup at a time until just incorporated. Don’t rush here. Allow for the flour mixture to fully incorporate before adding more. Otherwise, your egg whites will lose all of that beautiful air that you worked so hard to beat into them.
Pour the batter into the prepared angel food cake pan. Gently tap the cake pan on the counter to remove any bubbles.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and invert the cake pan so that the cake is suspended upside down as it sets and cool, for about 2 hours. This is very important. Again, if you don’t do this step, you will have a dense and heavy cake. If your cake pan does not have little feet to keep it lifted up for air circulation, then invert the cake pan onto the neck of a heatproof bottle or can.
Before removing the cake from the pan, gently run a plastic knife or thin spatula around the edges of the pan. I repeat – use a plastic knife or something that will not scratch to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Then, turn the cake out onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper from the top of the cake.
When you’re ready to serve the cake, cut the cake with a serrated knife or with a regular knife using a sawing motion. Serve with fresh berries.
Wrap any leftovers and store at room temperature. This cake actually gets even better the next day because as it dries out a little, it becomes even fluffier.
More Nut Free Sugar Free Recipes
Nut Free Granola Bars - Gluten Free Sugar Free
Best Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Gluten Free Belgian Waffles with Yeast
Gluten Free Angel Food Cake - No Refined Sugars Nut Free
- 380 g egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 120 g Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- 80 g cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare an angel food cake pan. Do not grease it. Cut out a piece of parchment paper to go on the bottom of the pan.
- In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until foamy.
- Add the almond extract.
- With the mixer running, slowly pour in the maple syrup. Allow the maple syrup to become fully incorporated before adding more. Beat until the meringue has soft peaks.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the cornstarch. Then, sift the flour and cornstarch.
- With the mixer running on medium, add the flour mixture ¼ cup at a time until just incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared angel food cake pan. Gently tap the cake pan on the counter to remove any bubbles.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and invert the cake pan so that the cake is suspended upside down as it sets and cool, for about 2 hours. If your cake pan does not have little feet to keep it lifted up for air circulation, then invert the cake pan onto the neck of a heatproof bottle or can.
- Before removing the cake from the pan, gently run a plastic knife or thin spatula around the edges of the pan. Then, turn the cake out onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper from the top of the cake.
- Cut the cake with a serrated knife or with a regular knife using a sawing motion. Serve with fresh berries.
- Wrap any leftovers and store at room temperature.
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