When I was recently talking to a woman who does a lot of regular baking, she asked how I make a gluten-free angel food cake. “Well, um, I don’t.” I tried it a couple of times over the years and was not pleased with the results, and I never got back to trying it again.
However, that question got my mind rolling, and I knew I had to give it another try. I think the problem was that I didn’t know enough about making angel food cake. It was a dessert I enjoyed before I went gluten free, but I don’t think I ever made one of the cakes myself.
I looked at numerous recipes online and in cookbooks and determined that the ingredients were almost identical in every recipe. And those ingredients only included one cup of flour, so how hard could it be to convert the recipe to gluten free?
There were a few variations in how the ingredients were combined. I went with what made sense to me.
You need a tube pan (not a bundt pan) to make angel food cake. One with “legs” sticking out the top of the pan is nice because the cake cools inverted in the pan. If it doesn’t have legs, you can invert the pan onto a bottle. The pan should not be non stick. If it is, the cake may fall out when you turn it over to cool. Mine looks like this:
It’s also nice to have a two-piece pan where the metal tube and pan bottom fit into the round part of the pan. Because the cake sticks to the pan, this allows you to loosen the sides after it cools, remove the tube part, then run a knife along the bottom to loosen that.
I completely expected that I would not be perfectly happy with the results of my first trial. Boy was I pleasantly surprised! The cake rose beautifully, and the taste and texture were just as they should be. I think this is going to be my new favorite dessert for serving to company.
My husband was wishing for some lemon curd to put on his cake, so I made another cake for Father’s Day and served it with berries and lemon curd. I didn’t get a picture of that cake, but it turned out just as nice.
- 1⅓ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup potato starch
- ¼ cup tapioca starch or flour
- ¼ cup millet flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 12 large egg whites (1½ cup), room temperature
- 1½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon almond extract)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Separate the eggs and let the whites sit in your mixing bowl (glass or metal, not plastic) for about 30 minutes so they come to room temperature.
- Be sure your bowl is very clean and there is absolutely no yolk in the whites. It is best to separate each egg into a small bowl, then add it to the rest of the whites. That way if a bit of yolk gets in with the white, you can save the egg for another purpose and not ruin the whole batch.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, potato starch, tapioca starch, millet flour, xanthan gum, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract until foamy. I used my KitchenAid whisk attachment.
- Slowly add the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat.
- Fold in the flour mixture about one fourth at a time, making sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl when you fold. Do not mix, just gently fold until all the flour mixture is moistened.
- Spoon the mixture into an ungreased angel food cake pan (one without a non stick coating) and smooth the top.
- Remove air pockets by gently cutting through the center of the batter with a thin metal spatula (icing spreader) or knife.
- Bake for 35 minutes, then check for doneness. A wooden skewer inserted in the center should come out dry. Also, the cracks in the top of the cake should be dry and the top should spring back when touched. Mine took 45 minutes.
- Turn the cake upside down and cool for at least an hour in the pan. Most tube pans have legs to keep the top of the cake off the counter. If yours does not, invert onto a bottle inserted into the tube.
- When cool, run your metal spatula or a knife around the sides to loosen. Remove the outer part of the pan. Run your spatula under the cake to loosen it from the bottom and remove to a cake plate.
If you are looking for information about the gluten-free diet, How to Be Gluten Free (affiliate link) is a very practical guide to getting started. It covers 10 steps to help you become happily gluten free.