10 Mistakes Everybody Makes When Baking Angel Food Cake

Avoid these steps if you want a heavenly angel food cake.

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flour on a kitchen scale

Substituting Ingredients

Angel food cake doesn’t require many ingredients. To get the perfect fluffy texture and flavor, you need to follow the exact recipe. That means no swapping cake flour for whole wheat flour or cutting down on eggs.

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Using Cold Eggs

The perfect egg temperature for angel food cake is about 60 degrees. Eggs that are too cold won’t whip as well, so take a dozen eggs out of the refrigerator about an hour before you bake.

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Not Whipping the Egg Whites Correctly

Without yeast to act as a leavening agent, an angel food cake relies completely on the egg whites to rise. You want to whip the whites just until they form soft peaks; whipping too much will make the cake chewy and dense. (No good!) By the way, check out these dreamy desserts you can make with angel food cake, too.

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Stirring the Batter

When you go to dump the dry ingredients into your egg whites, it’s tempting to start stirring, the same way you would with any other cake batter. But instead, fold the flour into the whites, gently turning the mixture over with a rubber spatula.

New to this technique? Learn how to fold ingredients (it’s easy!).

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Greasing the Pan

Sounds crazy, but it’s true! In order for the angel food cake to rise properly, it needs to be able to cling to the sides of the pan. If your pan is greased, the batter won’t be able to do that.

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Not Using a Special Angel Food Cake Pan

If you’re serious about angel food cake, you need to invest in the proper mold like this angel food cake pan. Making this cake in a regular cake tin or even a Bundt pan will not yield the same airy results.

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Opening the Oven

We’re all guilty of this one. You want to check on the cake so you open the oven door every couple of minutes… but those changes in temperature can cause your cake to cook unevenly or even collapse. If you’re really tempted to peek while making this chocolate angel cake, use the oven light.

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Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake
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Cooling the Cake Right-Side Up

This step is an absolute must. Every angel food cake has to be cooled upside down in the pan. Why? Until the cake is completely cooled, its spongy structure hasn’t set. Flipping it upside down makes sure it doesn’t collapse during that process.

Some angel food cake pans have feet so you can just flip the pan over and let it cool. If you have a pan without this feature, fit the hole of the pan over the neck of a bottle.

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Using Any Ol’ Knife to Slice the Cake

While you typically want to use a sharp knife to slice most desserts, you want to try a different tack with angel food cake. To get nice slices of angel cake, grab your bread knife (or a good serrated knife). Use a gentle sawing motion to cut slices of this airy cake. This will help preserve the appearance and texture.

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Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake
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Making Plain Cakes

When it comes to angel food cakes, many of us think of a classic white cake topped with berries or a bit of whipped cream, but really angel food cakes can be so much more! You can fill these cakes with sherbet, chocolate cream or lemon curd. And don’t forget that you can top angel food cakes with frosting and glazes. It’s all up to you!

Amanda Tarlton
Amanda has more than a decade of media experience, specifically in product testing in the cooking and lifestyle space. As a freelancer for Taste of Home, Amanda writes mostly about foodie finds, home and lifestyle goods and cooking and baking utensils that make life easier (and more fun!). Outside of freelancing, Amanda is the executive editor of commerce at Field & Stream.
When she's not working, Amanda is on the lookout for the best pizzas in town or testing out secret menu items at restaurants and coffee shops.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.