Angel food cake is a type of low-fat cake made with egg whites, flour, sugar, and cream of tartar. The cake is a sponge cake which uses no butter, differentiating it from most other cakes.

Angel Food Cake

What is Angel Food Cake?

Angel food cake is a type of low-fat cake made with egg whites, flour, sugar, and cream of tartar. The cake is a sponge cake which uses no butter, differentiating it from most other cakes. The end product must be extremely light and airy, which is achieved with the whipping agent and egg whites.

  • The cake is white inside, has a chewy light brown exterior, and is often served with berries.
  • The name of the cake refers to its light and airy texture, and is considered a food fit for angels as they could eat the cake and still fly without being weighed down.

Though this cake is easily prepared because it only requires six ingredients, cake mixes are easily available on the market. The most popular angel food cake mix brands are:

  • Betty Crocker
  • Duncan Hines
  • Baker’s Corner

Origin of angel food cake

This cake is an American dessert. One theory is that it originated from German immigrants to the US, who eventually established themselves as the Pennsylvania Dutch. A recipe for this cake first appeared in a book called The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes in 1878, and in 1880, a recipe was published in The New York Times. In 1884, it was included in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book

Another theory traces the origin of this cake to African slaves in the American South. These cakes even remain a major feature in black American funerals. To this day, National Angel Food Cake Day is celebrated in the US every year on the 10th of October. 


One serving of this cake contains around:

It is high in sodium and simple carbohydrates. Also, it contains good amounts of potassium and calcium.  Not to mention, it is low in fat. This cake is considered an acceptable alternative to heavier and high-calorie cakes.

Commercial production

This food cakes are a staple in many bakeries, especially in the US. A good angel food cake should be tender enough to melt in the mouth and have a delicate flavor. The main ingredients are egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, sugar, flour, and vanilla. 

First, the egg whites are separated and whipped until they are foamy, then cream of tartar is added and the mixture is whipped some more. The remaining ingredients are then folded into the mixture and mixed well. The cake is then put into the oven for baking, after which it is cooled down before serving. It is advised to use a tube pan while baking angel food cake. Afterwards, the cake may be covered with icing, frosting, fruit sauce, or even berries and other fruits. 

Angel food cake recipes

This cake is delicious and light, making it a wonderful dessert. It can also be adapted in different ways. Here are a few popular recipes:

FDA regulations

The Food & Drug Administration regulates cake mixes and additives that may be included in them. The FDA defines flour as food prepared by grinding and bolting any cleaned wheat, except durum and red durum wheat. Vanilla extract is defined as the solution in aqueous ethyl alcohol of the sapid and odorous principles extractable from vanilla beans, in which the content of ethyl alcohol must not be less than 35 percent. Eggs and egg whites are regulated by the FDA but have no standard of identity. The USDA deals with the safety and standard of eggs. Cream of tartar, also known as potassium bitartrate, is defined as a byproduct of wine manufacturing and is obtained in the form of colorless crystals or white powder. 


Angel Food Cake History, What’s Cooking America, 

Arvilla Mae Fliginger, The Quality and Cost in Time and Money of Angel Food Cakes Prepared Using Individual Ingredients and a Commercial Mix, B. S., Kansas State Teachers College Pittsburg, 1956 

Singh, Ajaypal et al. “Can acceptable quality angel food cakes be made using pasteurized shell eggs? The effects of mixing factors on functional properties of angel food cakes.” Food science & nutrition vol. 7,3 987-996. 10 Feb. 2019, doi:10.1002/fsn3.911,