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Angel food cake is a good base for summertime desserts. Grilled Angel Food Shortcakes can be topped with whipped cream and a mix of summer berries. (Associated Press)
Angel food cake is a good base for summertime desserts. Grilled Angel Food Shortcakes can be topped with whipped cream and a mix of summer berries. (Associated Press)

Angel food cake pairs perfectly with summer berries

It’s light, pairs perfectly with fresh berries and ice cream, and even is low-fat. It’s summer’s perfect dessert: angel food cake.

It’s also wonderfully easy to make. So to help you sweeten up your summer table, we’ve given you a master recipe for this egg white-based confection, plus recipes for different ways to serve it – grilled and topped with fresh berries or layered with sorbet for a cool and refreshing torte.

Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, divided

1 cup cake flour, sifted

12 egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of the sugar and the cake flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl use an electric mixer to whisk together the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium-high until very foamy. With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining cup of sugar. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Sift half of the flour-sugar mixture over the egg whites and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently fold into the egg mixture. Repeat with the remaining flour-sugar mixture. Transfer to an ungreased 10-inch tube pan or divide between 2 ungreased loaf pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes for a tube pan or 30 to 35 minutes for the loaf pans, or until a wooden skewer inserted at the center comes out dry.

Overturn the tube pan onto the neck of a wine or similar bottle and cool. Loaf pans can be turned on their sides or overturned onto cooling racks. To remove the cakes from the pan, slide a paring knife around the edge.

Yield: 1 tube cake or 2 loaf pans, 12 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 120 calories, no fat, 5 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, no dietary fiber, 95 milligrams sodium.

Grilled Angel Food Shortcakes

Eight 1/2-inch slices angel food cut from a loaf or round cake

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cups mixed fresh berries

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

Whipped cream, to serve

Heat a grill to medium-high. Lightly brush both sides of each slice of angel food cake with the oil.

In a medium bowl, toss the berries with the lemon juice and sugar.

Grill the angel food slices for 2 minutes per side, or until golden and toasty. To serve, top 4 of the slices with half of the berries. Top with the remaining slices of angel food cake, then the remaining berries. Serve with whipped cream.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 280 calories, 12 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 34 percent fat calories), 5 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, no dietary fiber, 100 milligrams sodium.

1 loaf angel food cake

1 pint raspberry sorbet

1 pint coconut sorbet

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate bits

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1 pint fresh raspberries

1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted

Spray the loaf pan that the angel food cake was cooked in with cooking spray, then line it with plastic wrap.

Use a serrated knife to slice the angel food cake horizontally into three long layers.

Soften the raspberry and coconut sorbets in the microwave, heating them on high in 10-second intervals until just soft enough to spread. Do not melt.

Place the bottom third of the angel food cake back in the prepared pan. Spread the raspberry sorbet over the cake, then top with the middle slice of the cake. Spread the coconut sorbet over the cake and top with the final layer of angel food cake. Freeze until firm.

When ready to serve, in a small saucepan over medium, heat the cream until simmering. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and corn syrup until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

To serve, using the plastic wrap to lift it, remove the torte from the loaf pan. Peel off the plastic wrap and place the torte on a serving platter. Pour the chocolate sauce over the top of the torte and arrange the raspberries and coconut on and around the torte. Cut into slices to serve.

Yield: 10 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 300 calories, 11 grams fat (7 grams saturated, 29 percent fat calories), 4 grams protein, 54 grams carbohydrate, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams dietary fiber, 70 milligrams sodium.