This low-calorie, low-fat cake recipe is perfect for weight watchers, but it’s so tasty that everyone else will enjoy it as well and even ask for seconds.
Angel food cakes are made without shortening, leavening, or egg yolks, which makes them lower in calories and fat than other cakes. Of course, when some people think of angel food cake they automatically think “bland” or “flavorless.” This recipe, however, will make them change their minds about angel food cake and perhaps even have them begging for more.
Origin of the Angel Food Cake
Where and when did the angel food cake originate? According to Linda Stradley of the website What’s Cooking America, there are several theories regarding its origin, including the following two:
Since the angel food cake is also called the Pennsylvania Dutch wedding cake, and since southeastern Pennsylvania was once a major producer of cake molds, some historians contend that the cake most likely originated in that region in the early 1800s.
Other historians contend that the cake originated with African-American slaves in the Deep South in the early 1800s since, as Stradley says, “. . . making this cake required a strong beating arm and lots of labor to whip the air into the whites.” Moreover, angel food cake was then and remains a traditional favorite for post-funeral meals in the African-American community (Stradley, 2004).
Tips for Baking a Perfect Angel Food Cake
According to Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1978), if you want to bake a perfect angel food cake, you should keep these guidelines in mind:
- Use eggs at room temperature.
- Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- When folding flour and sugar into meringue, use a spatula and cut downward through the center, along the bottom, and up the side, rotating spatula with each turn.
- After putting batter into pan, cut with a spatula to break down air pockets.
- Bake in tube pan on bottom oven rack.
- Don’t open oven until minimum baking time has ended.
- Test for doneness by touching cracks on the top of the cake, which should feel dry.
- Cool the cake upside down, supported by the funnel or a bottle.
- To remove cake after cooling, loosen by moving a spatula or table knife slowly up and down against sides of pan.
- Turn pan over and tap one side against countertop.
- Invert cake onto waxed paper.
Recipe for Low-Calorie Deluxe Angel Food Cake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 and 1/2 cups egg whites (approximately 12 large eggs)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix flour and powdered sugar and set aside.
- In a large glass bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy but not stiff.
- Switch to high speed and add granulated sugar 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Add salt, vanilla, and almond with final tablespoon of sugar.
- Continue beating until stiff and glossy.
- Sprinkle flour-sugar mixture over meringue 1/4 cup at a time, folding in just until mixture disappears.
- Pour batter into ungreased tube pan (10×4 inches).
- With a metal spatula cut gently through batter.
- Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until cracks feel dry and top brings back when lightly touched.
- Remove from oven, invert pan on funnel, and allow pan to hang until cake is cool.
- Remove cake from pan and ice with low-calorie almond topping.
Recipe for Quick Low Calorie Fluffy Almond Topping
- 1 small tub sugar-free refrigerated whipped topping (8 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cups sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
- Mix almond extract into refrigerated topping, stirring gently.
- Lightly coat each slice of cake with topping just before serving.
- Garnish with one teaspoon of toasted almonds.
Yield: 12 slices
Calories: 140 without topping, 217 with topping
Of course, if you would like to keep the caloric content as low as possible but still not serve the cake plain, consider topping each slice with some fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries, with just a dollop of sugar-free, low-fat whipped topping.
- Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1978) “Tips for Angel Food and Chiffon Cakes,” New York: Golden Press
- Stradley, L. (2004) “History of Angel Food Cake,” retrieved January 9, 2011 from whatscookingamerica.net
- Recipe for angel food cake modified and adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1978) New York: Golden Press