It’s National Angel Food Cake Day, ya’ll!! Just when you think you’ve had enough pumpkin spice, in comes this Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Angel Food Cake and your cravings start all over again! Sorry, not sorry 🎃
I’ve always loved angel food cake. I remember when I was a teenager my mom used to buy the Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake mix. When it was done baking, we’d tip it upside down and prop it on an empty bottle. That way it wouldn’t sink like angel food cakes are known to do.
When was the last time you had an angel food cake? I have yet to see them offered gluten free anywhere, so personally it’s been years since I’ve had one. In my BC (before Celiac) days, I’d rip a slice apart and eat it plain or serve it with berries and whipped cream. Those were the days, huh?
Now that I’m gluten free, I really wanted to try to make an angel food cake. Because it’s fall and I still can’t get enough pumpkin spice, I added it to this angel food cake and it’s pretty much the BOMB!! I may never go back to plain AFC 🍰.
Making Angel Food Cake From Scratch is Scary, Isn’t It?
If you can crack some eggs and separate them, you can make an angel food cake from scratch! I mean, we’ve already made our own gf pizza dough and cinnamon rolls. I can think of much more scary things, like sitting shotgun in the car while your son drives with his permit–am I right?. This stuff is easy peasy.
What Goes into This Cake?
- Egg Whites — the most important part of an angel food cake for sure. And they need to be clean, meaning free of any grease, including any little bits of yolk. It’s always best to separate whites over a separate bowl and then add them to the rest of the whites. Otherwise, you could risk ruining the whole lot of ’em if one of the yolks breaks.
- Gluten Free Flour Blend — I use my own blend (see my gluten free flour blends page), but in this instance I think any blend will work, as long as it contains xanthan gum.
- Cornstarch — a small amount combined with the gf flour blend essentially acts like cake flour.
- Salt — flavor booster.
- Granulated sugar — you can use superfine, but I really don’t think it’s necessary. Part of the sugar gets sifted several times with the flour to make it as light and airy as possible.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice — if you’d like to make a plain angel food cake, just leave this out. But I’d urge you to give it a try first because it’s SO GOOD!!!
- Cream of Tartar — cream of tartar is a byproduct of wine fermentation and is used to stabilize the egg whites and keep them from falling.
- Vanilla Extract — the usual suspect that provides the backdrop of flavor.
How to Make Gluten Free Angel Food Cake
Surprisingly, angel food cake is easier than you might think. It’s a fairly quick process.
- Sift those dry ingredients. Not just once, but 5 TIMES!! It’s a must to sift all the dry ingredients (and half of the sugar) together several times so they’re as light as possible when they’re added to the egg whites. This helps keep the volume in the egg whites and create the lightest angel food cake!
- Whip those egg whites to almost stiff peaks, with the rest of the sugar, the vanilla, and the cream of tartar. Adding the sugar gradually allows it to dissolve into the egg whites to help protect them from drying out.
- Fold, fold, fold. Slowly add portions of the dry ingredients into the egg whites and carefully fold. Keep doing this in increments, adding and folding, until all the dry ingredients are carefully combined into the egg whites.
- Spoon the batter into the tube pan, a dry, UNGREASED tube pan. It is so important that the pan is free of any grease or the cake batter won’t be able to climb up the sides.
- Bake the cake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, or until a long skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Tip the pan upside down to cool the cake. Tube pans now come with “feet” on the top (which becomes the bottom when the cake is cooling). These “feet” allow you to simply tip the pan upside down instead of resting it on a bottleneck, like we used to do back in the day. Not tipping the pan means the cake will certainly fall.
A Few Tips for Success
- Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature. HOWEVER, eggs are best separated when they’re cold. As soon as you take your eggs out of the refrigerator, separate them and then set the whites aside to come to room temperature. Use the yolks to make my easy pumpkin spice creme brulee.
- Whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks means when you stop the mixer and remove the whisk, there should be a “peak” that stands firm and doesn’t droop. If it’s still drooping, continue whipping for a few seconds and check again.
- Here’s what I do when sifting back and forth. I set up a large piece of waxed (or parchment) paper on the counter and a large bowl with a sieve or sifter. I first sift into the large bowl, then dump the flour mixture into the sieve placed over the piece of waxed paper and sift onto the waxed paper. That’s two times. I lift up the sides of the waxed paper, position the sieve over the bowl, and pour the flour mixture back over the sieve in the bowl. That’s three. Just keep doing this until you’ve reached five times. It takes no time.
- A tube pan like this one is what I use and it’s perfect for this recipe. It has the “feet.” If you don’t have one with feet, tip the pan and rest it on a bottleneck to cool the cake.
What Do I Serve This Cake With?
If you’re going for the plain jane (no pumpkin pie spice), I’d serve it with sweetened whipped cream and berries. But if you’re going all out with the pumpkin spice, you HAVE to make my maple whipped cream to go with it because, ya’ll, it’s HEAVENLY!! I put a big ‘ole dollop on the cake and sprinkle it with more pumpkin spice. Who says you can’t have more???
If you’ve never made an angel food cake from scratch, now’s your chance to give it a try. And since we can’t have store-bought angel food cake, making our own is really the only option. You can do it!!
Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Angel Food Cake
- 1 cup minus 1 tbsp (131 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or any flour blend with xanthan gum)
- 1 tbsp (9 g) cornstarch
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar, divided
- 1½ cups (about 10-12) egg whites, at room temperature
- 1½ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice blend (see notes)
MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM:
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
- 2 tbsp real maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Have your tube pan ready (NOT greased).
- Sift half of the sugar (¾ cup or 150 g) with the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pumpkin spice blend. Repeat 4 times!!
- Begin whipping egg whites in large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with whisk attachment) on low until frothy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla and increase speed to medium. Slowly add the rest of the sugar (¾ cup or 150 g), about a tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated.
- Increase speed to high and whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Fold about ¼ cup of the flour mixture carefully into egg whites. Continue folding a little bit of the flour into the egg whites until all flour has been folded in and there are no visible streaks of flour.
- Spoon batter into ungreased tube pan. Run butter knife through batter to release any large air bubbles.
- Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, or until long skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and immediately tip pan over onto "feet" or rest pan upside down on neck of a bottle. Allow to cool this way for at least one hour.
- Remove cake from pan and place on serving tray. To serve, use a serrated knife to gently saw through each piece (so the cake won't compress).
FOR THE MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM:
- Pour cold heavy whipping cream into mixing bowl and whip, using whisk attachment, on medium speed until frothy. Add maple syrup and increase speed to high, whipping to stiff peaks.
- Serve maple whipped cream dolloped on top of a slice of cake and sprinkle with extra pumpkin pie spice.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s Angel Food Cake recipe.