The Perfect Angel Cake Recipe in the UK

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The Perfect Angel Cake Recipe in the UK



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Angel cake, with its ethereal name and delicate appearance, is a classic dessert that has graced the tables of British households for generations. This light and airy confection is as delightful to the taste buds as it is to the eyes, making it a go-to choice for special occasions and afternoon teas. In this article, we will delve into the history of angel cake, explore the key ingredients that make it unique, and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to create the perfect angel cake in your own UK kitchen.

The History of Angel Cake

Angel cake, also known as angel food cake in the United States, has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Its origins are a topic of debate, with both the United States and the United Kingdom claiming ownership of this heavenly creation.

In the UK, angel cake is often associated with the Victorian era, when delicate and elegant desserts were in vogue. It is believed that the recipe for this light and fluffy cake was brought to Britain by American settlers or travelers, which is why it shares similarities with the American angel food cake. Over time, the UK adapted the recipe to suit local tastes, and angel cake became a beloved dessert on both sides of the Atlantic.

Key Ingredients

Angel cake is known for its simplicity, and it relies on a handful of key ingredients to achieve its distinctive texture and flavor. Here are the primary components you’ll need to prepare this delightful treat:

Egg Whites: Angel cake is predominantly made from whipped egg whites, which give the cake its light and airy structure. Use fresh, room-temperature egg whites for the best results.

Sugar: Granulated sugar is used to sweeten the cake and stabilize the whipped egg whites. It’s essential to add sugar gradually while whipping the egg whites to create a stable meringue.

Cake Flour: Cake flour is used to provide the cake with a tender crumb texture. It has a lower protein content compared to all-purpose flour, ensuring a delicate and soft cake.

Cream of Tartar: Cream of tartar is often added to stabilize the egg whites, preventing them from collapsing during the whipping process.

Vanilla Extract: A touch of vanilla extract is used to infuse the cake with a subtle and delightful flavor.

Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the overall flavor and balances the sweetness of the cake.

The Recipe

Now that we’ve covered the history and key ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making the perfect angel cake in your own UK kitchen.


For the Cake:

10 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

For the Topping (Optional):

Fresh berries

Whipped cream


Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Ensure that your oven rack is placed in the lower third of the oven.

In a large mixing bowl, sift the cake flour and set it aside.

In another large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, start beating the egg whites until they become frothy.

Gradually add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat the egg whites on medium-high speed. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. This will take about 5-7 minutes.

Gently fold in the sifted cake flour, a little at a time, using a spatula. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and fold until the batter is smooth and well combined.

Carefully transfer the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan. Use a spatula to smooth the top and eliminate any air bubbles.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a bottle or a cooling rack with large openings. This allows the cake to cool upside down, which prevents it from collapsing.

Let the cake cool completely in this inverted position for at least 1 hour.

Once fully cooled, run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Gently remove the cake from the pan.

Serve the angel cake as is or with a topping of fresh berries and whipped cream for an extra special touch.

Angel cake is a timeless classic that has found a special place in the hearts of dessert lovers across the UK. Its simple yet elegant nature makes it the perfect choice for any occasion, from afternoon tea to birthday celebrations. By following this step-by-step recipe, you can create your very own heavenly slice of angel cake in the comfort of your UK kitchen. Enjoy the delicate texture and delightful flavor of this beloved dessert, and share it with your family and friends to create lasting memories. Angel cake truly is a slice of heaven!

Variations and Tips

While the classic angel cake recipe is a delightful treat on its own, there are several variations and tips to consider if you want to elevate your angel cake experience:

Flavor Infusions: While vanilla extract is the traditional choice, you can experiment with other extracts like almond, lemon, or orange for a different flavor profile. Simply substitute the vanilla extract with your preferred flavor.

Citrus Zest: Add a burst of citrusy freshness by incorporating the zest of a lemon, lime, or orange into the batter. This adds a zesty twist to the cake’s flavor.

Chocolate Angel Cake: If you’re a chocolate lover, you can create a chocolate angel cake by replacing a portion of the cake flour with cocoa powder. This variation will satisfy your cocoa cravings while maintaining the cake’s light texture.

Fruit-Filled Angel Cake: Consider adding fruit puree or jam between the layers of your angel cake for a fruity surprise. Strawberry, raspberry, or apricot preserves work wonderfully.

Decorative Touches: Once your angel cake is ready, you can decorate it with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of chocolate ganache, or a sprinkling of toasted coconut for added texture and visual appeal.

Storage: Angel cake is best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. To maintain its texture and prevent it from drying out, you can also freeze slices of angel cake for up to three months.

Serving Suggestions: Angel cake is incredibly versatile when it comes to serving. It pairs beautifully with fresh berries, a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s also perfect for making trifles or using as a base for strawberry shortcake.

Angel cake, with its history dating back to the 19th century, has firmly established itself as a beloved dessert in the United Kingdom. Its light and airy texture, coupled with its simple yet elegant flavor, make it a versatile and delightful treat for any occasion.

By following the step-by-step recipe and considering the variations and tips provided, you can not only master the art of making a classic angel cake but also experiment with flavors and presentations to create your unique spin on this heavenly dessert.

Whether you serve it at an afternoon tea, celebrate a birthday, or simply indulge in a sweet craving, angel cake remains a slice of heaven that continues to charm and captivate dessert enthusiasts across the UK. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and embark on a delightful journey to create your very own perfect angel cake in the heart of the UK. Enjoy every ethereal bite of this timeless confection!


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