A pedestal tray with a gluten free Angel Food Cake filled with whipped cream and fresh berries, garnished with pansies.

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Description

A gluten free Angel Food Cake from scratch! That’s the kind of culinary challenge I like so this is what I made in honour of Celiac Awareness Month.

For many years I made (and later bought) an Angel Food Cake for my friends annual piano soiree. It was a fun get together where we each performed a piano piece and then enjoyed champagne and dessert. My annual contribution was a beautiful Angel Food Cake filled with fruit and whipped cream then decorated with edible flowers.

When I could buy an Angel Food Cake at the store this was a pretty simple dessert; cut it in half, fill it and add the flowers. Finally I wanted to make a gluten free version from scratch.

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Angel Food Cake decorated with fresh pansies.

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Everyday to Gourmet – Edible Flowers

Some occasions simply call for cake and for me, it’s going to be homemade and it should have a gourmet presentation. Using edible flowers is a simple way to do that. To learn more about what flowers I plant and how I use them check out this post, How To Use Edible Flowers in the Kitchen.

A card listing many edible flowers.
How to Use Edible Flowers in the Kitchen -photo credit Jim Little

Get The Tools

Angel Food Cake is a light, airy sponge cake made with a dozen egg whites whipped full of air. Egg whites from real eggs are essential. Do not use egg whites from a carton which have been heated in processing.

For the classic look this cake should be cooked and cooled in an Angel Food Cake pan with tall sides. Modern versions include Angel Food Cake pans with a removable bottom, which would be nice to have but for a once-a-year cake I borrow my sisters pan. If you like the idea of making Angel Food Cake then purchase a good quality pan, and lend it to your sister if you have one.

Two essential steps for baking an Angel Food Cake are to bake the cake in an ungreased pan and cool it upside down. Yes, really. Not greasing the pan allows the cake to stick to the sides of the pan and climb up it as it bakes. Cooling it upside down helps maintain the light, airy texture. I remember my mom cooling her Angel Food Cake upside down balanced on an inverted drinking glass. I wonder if that is the pan my sister now calls hers.

Gluten Free Cake Flour Blend

Only when you start to cook gluten free do you realize the amazing properties of wheat flour. Purchased gluten free flour mixes work for some recipes but not all. The more gluten free baking you do you can’t help but notice companies have a flour mix for cookies and a different one for bread or pancakes, and the list goes on. This is the reminder that no single gluten free flour can replace all the properties of wheat flour.

This means gluten free bakers need a positive mindset in the kitchen. You can follow my year-long blog post series of How To Use Gluten Free Flours if you’re interested. Writing that series is how I learned about the properties of each flour and how best to use them.

For this once-a-year cake I want it to be fabulous, not just okay. I knew I needed a lighter cake flour recipe rather than the blend I use for muffins. For this light, airy Angel Food Cake I needed to made a special flour blend. I know that including a flour blend in a recipe suddenly makes the list long and appear complicated. The cake itself isn’t complicated so my best tip is to consider a special flour blend as a special project. Make that flour blend in advance and get it in the cupboard before the day you bake.

Baking By Weight

Professional bakers bake by weight for accuracy and repeatable results. I measure all my flour blends by weight using a digital scale and I recommend you do the same. Yet most of us everyday cooks have a collection of old and new recipes using cup measurements. For this recipe I wanted it to work the first time so I measured the flours by weight. If you’re interested in learning to bake using weight measurements check out this post called Baking By Weight.

Alternate Filling

If you’ve ever made an Angel Food Cake then you’ve thought about what to make with the twelve egg yolks you have leftover. My mom always made homemade lemon curd so that’s what I make. Include it in the filling for this cake or make it the next day. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble thinking ways to enjoy it.

Thanks to Nicole over at Glutenfree On A Shoestring for her homemade cake flour blend recipes. She’s a master in the kitchen and has lots of wisdom to share.

Let me know in the comments below if you made an Angel Food Cake and how it turned out.


More Cake Recipes

Use up this cake flour blend in any of these recipes and notice how it works.

Australian Lamingtons

A tray of gluten free lamingtons with one cut and ready to bite into.
Australian Lamingtons -photo credit Jim Little

Orange Cupcakes with Orange Icing

A pedestal tray filled with gluten free Orange Cupcakes.
Orange Cupcakes with Orange Icing -photo credit Jim Little

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing
Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing -photo credit Jim Little

This recipe for Basic Banana Muffins is my go to for experimenting with gluten free flour and using up leftover blends. The recipe description includes details of how I do that.

Gluten free Banana Muffins just out of the oven.
Gluten Free Banana Muffins -photo credit Jim Little

Ingredients

CAKE FLOUR BLEND
90 g white rice flour
73 g cornstarch
43 g tapioca starch
40 g brown rice flour
30 g nonfat dry milk powder (substitute soy milk powder for dairy free)
10 g potato starch
5 g xanthan gum
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
¾ cup icing sugar (first amount)
140 g cake flour blend (see above)
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
12 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup warm water
1½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup icing sugar (second amount)
WHIPPED CREAM FILLING
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
GARNISH – fresh fruit and edible flowers

Directions

1
CAKE FLOUR BLEND
2
Make cake flour blend by weighing each ingredient and combining them in a food processor. Process for one minute to finely grind the milk powder and mix everything. Store in an airtight container.
3
ANGEL FOOD CAKE
4
Preheat the oven to 350°F. DO NOT grease the Angel Food Cake pan.
5
Place a strainer over a bowl and add first amount of icing sugar, cake flour, xanthan gum and salt straining it into the bowl. Move the strainer over a second bowl and again sift the mixture into that bowl. Repeat sifting the mixture 4 times.
6
In the large bowl of a stand mixer beat the egg whites, water, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium-high speed.
7
Gradually add the second amount of icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Continue beating on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Increase speed to high and beat until peaks become stiff and glossy, 2-3 minutes.
8
In stages sift the flour mixture onto the egg white mixture and gently folding it in. Pour the batter into the Angel food cake pan. Lightly tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter.
9
Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake upside down on an inverted glass or bottle until completely cooled, about 2 hours.
10
FILLING
11
Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks. Prepare the fruit.
12
ASSEMBLY
13
Once the cake is completely cooled remove it from the pan. I use a small plastic spatula to do this. Using a serrated knife cut the cake in half horizontally. Place the bottom half on a pedestal tray (easier for decorating and makes a nice presentation).
14
Top with half of the whipped cream and push some fruit into the cream. Place the top half of the cake on top.
15
Drop whipped cream onto the top of the cake by the spoonful pushing it close to the edges but not over the sides. Decorate with more fruit or fresh edible flowers. Refrigerate until serving.

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Ingredients

Directions

  • CAKE FLOUR BLEND
  • 90 g white rice flour
  • 73 g cornstarch
  • 43 g tapioca starch
  • 40 g brown rice flour
  • 30 g nonfat dry milk powder (substitute soy milk powder for dairy free)
  • 10 g potato starch
  • 5 g xanthan gum
  • ANGEL FOOD CAKE
  • ¾ cup icing sugar (first amount)
  • 140 g cake flour blend (see above)
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup icing sugar (second amount)
  • WHIPPED CREAM FILLING
  • 2 cups whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • GARNISH – fresh fruit and edible flowers
  1. CAKE FLOUR BLEND
  2. Make cake flour blend by weighing each ingredient and combining them in a food processor. Process for one minute to finely grind the milk powder and mix everything. Store in an airtight container.
  3. ANGEL FOOD CAKE
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. DO NOT grease the Angel Food Cake pan.
  5. Place a strainer over a bowl and add first amount of icing sugar, cake flour, xanthan gum and salt straining it into the bowl. Move the strainer over a second bowl and again sift the mixture into that bowl. Repeat sifting the mixture 4 times.
  6. In the large bowl of a stand mixer beat the egg whites, water, cream of tartar and vanilla on medium-high speed.
  7. Gradually add the second amount of icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Continue beating on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 3-4 minutes. Increase speed to high and beat until peaks become stiff and glossy, 2-3 minutes.
  8. In stages sift the flour mixture onto the egg white mixture and gently folding it in. Pour the batter into the Angel food cake pan. Lightly tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter.
  9. Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake upside down on an inverted glass or bottle until completely cooled, about 2 hours.
  10. FILLING
  11. Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until it forms stiff peaks. Prepare the fruit.
  12. ASSEMBLY
  13. Once the cake is completely cooled remove it from the pan. I use a small plastic spatula to do this. Using a serrated knife cut the cake in half horizontally. Place the bottom half on a pedestal tray (easier for decorating and makes a nice presentation).
  14. Top with half of the whipped cream and push some fruit into the cream. Place the top half of the cake on top.
  15. Drop whipped cream onto the top of the cake by the spoonful pushing it close to the edges but not over the sides. Decorate with more fruit or fresh edible flowers. Refrigerate until serving.