Basic Angel Food Cake


1 cup sifted cake flour

1½ cups sifted granulated sugar (separated)

12 egg whites, room temperature

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon almond extract


1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325°. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan (9 inch diameter and 16 cup capacity), preferably with a removable bottom. If pan bottom is not removable, line with parchment or wax paper.

2. Whisk flour and ¾ cup sugar in a small bowl. Place remaining ¾ cup sugar in another small bowl next to mixer.

3. Beat egg whites with electric mixer at low speed until just broken up and beginning to froth. Add cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until whites form very soft, billowy mounds. With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in ¾ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all sugar is added and whites are shiny and form soft peaks. Add vanilla, lemon juice and almond extract and beat until just blended.

4. Place flour-sugar mixture in sifter set over wax paper. Sift flour mixture over whites, about 3 tablespoons at a time and gently fold in, using a large rubber spatula. Sift any flour-sugar mixture that falls onto paper back into bowl with whites.

5. Gently scrape batter into pan, smooth top with spatula and give pan a couple of raps on the counter to release any large air bubbles.

6. Bake until cake is golden brown and top springs back when pressed firmly, 50 – 60 minutes.

7. If cake pan has feet, invert pan onto them. If not, invert pan over neck of a bottle so air can circulate all around it. Allow to cool completely for 2 to 3 hours.

8. To unmold, run a knife around edges, being careful not to dislodge golden crust. Release cake from pan, peel off parchment if using. Place cake, bottom side up, on a platter. Use a serrated knife to cut cake in a gentle sawing motion.

*Recipe taken from The Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.


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