Angel Food Cake

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

angel food cake sometimes called angel cake, a light, pale, and puffy N. American sponge cake or angel food. It is made with egg whites to which cream of tartar is added to prevent darkening. Mariani (1994) writes: ‘The egg whites give it a texture so airy that the confection supposedly has the sublimity of angels.’ The cake is often baked in a ring-shaped (‘tubular’) mould.

This is a plain cake, but may be flavoured with nuts and/or spices, or enriched with fillings or frostings.
Angel food cake was known in the USA in the 1870s, according to Mariani (and the name appeared in print in both the USA and Canada in the 1880s). Some perceive it as a good way of using up surplus egg whites.