I remember a few times in high school when either mom or dad brought home a store-bought angel food cake and I simply ripped off pieces of it in pure sugary bliss! Soft, airy, and simply delicious. I had honestly forgotten how much I enjoyed angel food cake.
I think I even made it once or twice in my gluten filled years and it's a really beautiful cake to make. Angel Food cake is allowed to be messy. It doesn't have to be perfect. It seems a bit scarred with patches of crust scattered all over the cake and the pan. No frosting is needed. Maybe a sprinkling of powdered sugar for company... but this golden crusted gem of a cake doesn't need to be dressed up. Another fun thing about gluten free angel food cake? No gums are needed. The protein in the whipped egg whites is all you need for stability and great texture.
There are endless variations you could make with angel food cake. If you'd like it to be chocolate add a few tablespoons of cacao powder to the dry ingredients. For a lemon cake, add the zest of 1 large lemon. If you want the cake to simply be studded with chocolate, fold in 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips right before pouring into the pan. It's so easy. Please make this gluten free cake. Tell me how you made it. Tell me that you loved it!
Gluten Free Light & Lovely Angel Food Cake
Adapted from this recipe by Natalie of Gluten Free Mommy
Free of gluten, dairy/casein, soy, corn, potato, and gums
1/2 cup brown rice flour (75 gm, 2 5/8 oz.)
1/2 cup arrowroot starch (57 gm, 2 oz.)
12 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
**For a reduced sugar cake use:
1/2 cup sugar (99 gm, 3 1/2 oz.)
3 teaspoons powdered stevia (NuNaturals is my favorite brand) -- add to dry ingredients!
**For a regular cake use:
1 cup sugar (198 gm, 7 oz.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an angel food tube pan with non-stick cooking spray, or oil and then dust it with brown rice flour. To prevent further sticking at the bottom of the pan, you could line it with cut pieces of parchment paper. In a small bowl whisk together brown rice flour, arrowroot starch, and powdered stevia (if you are using it). In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until they are foamy (see notes below). Add in the cream of tartar and continue to mix until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar a little at a time until stiff peaks form and the egg whites will look slightly glossy. Stop the mixer and remove the whisk attachment. Using a hand whisk slowly fold in the vanilla. Continuing to use the hand whisk, slowly fold in the flour mixture about 1/4 cup at a time. Slowly pour the cake batter into the greased and dusted tube pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, the sides of the cake will also pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool for 10-20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and turn out onto a cake plate. Serve plain, with whipped cream or ice-cream, and since it's strawberry season... make sure to place a few slices strawberries on top! :-) Enjoy!
Carrie's Kitchen Notes:
- Whipping Egg Whites: If you are not familiar with whipping egg whites and what each "stage" looks like, here is a good guide: http://www.baking911.com/howto/egg_whites_beat.htm. Scroll to the bottom to see pictures of the foamy stage, soft peak stage, firm peak stage, etc...
- Brown rice flour/arrowroot starch: This cake is so adaptable you can use any whole grain you like. SO if you can't have rice, use sorghum, millet, or whatever pleases your palate! Simply make sure to use the same weight of flour. As with the brown rice flour, you can use whatever starch you prefer, EXCEPT potato starch. Potato starch is quite heavy so I would recommend either corn starch, tapioca starch, or even sweet rice flour. ADDITION: A reader wrote in and said she has never had any issues using potato starch in gluten free angel food cake. In my personal experience I've found potato starch to be a very heavy starch for baking purposes (and I do mean the starch not potato flour). Use your own judgement though, if it works for you that's fantastic!
- Sugar: I made this lovely cake with less than half the sugar used in the original recipe and it still tastes quite sweet to me, especially with the addition of powdered stevia. Feel free to add additional sugar if you want a really sweet cake, or lessen it further. You do want a little sugar in the cake because it helps with the caramelization/ browning of the crust. I am not sure how well alternative sugars would work in this cake.
- Eggs: Sorry, you have to use egg whites... they are the base of this cake!
- Variations: See notes in the post above for possible variations on this simple vanilla cake! There are so many wonderful flavors you could use! I'd love to know what you come up with! My favorites would be adding lemon zest, using almond extract, mini-chocolate chips, or even a lightly spiced angel food cake with cinnamon and nutmeg!
- Folding Techniques: When you're adding in the flours & the vanilla extract (or any flavor variation ingredients) use a whisk to SLOWLY fold in the ingredients. You whipped the eggs whites so they would have a wonderful texture & rise in the cake. You don't want to defeat all that hard work you did! If you quickly hand whisk/ fold in the last ingredients you can easily deflate your egg whites... and end up having a cake that doesn't rise well. So please take your time! Enjoy the process. And go make this cake!!