Healthy Angel Food Cake
Angel Food Cake has been on my Recipe Wishlist (or “Desserts to Healthify” list) for over two years now, before I even started this blog! Angel Food Cake is often seen as a guilt-free treat because it is naturally fat free… that means no egg yolks, no butter, no oil. But fat free does not necessarily mean healthy, especially when the cake is filled with bleached AP flour and white sugar.
Angel Food Cake is kind of like a crazy baker’s science experiment because it doesn’t contain the typical ingredients of any regular yellow cake or chocolate cake… that means no buttermilk, no (whole) eggs, no baking powder or baking soda. The leavening agents in Angel Food Cake are egg whites and cream of tartar (which you need to whip the crap out of to make the cake bake properly), and the structure is so delicate that you need to cool the cake upside down, otherwise it will sink in on itself and you will not have a very happy afternoon (What? How do I know that? Oh, I don’t know…)
I waited two years to bake this cake, hoping that someone else would healthify the recipe before I did so I wouldn’t have to encounter trial after trial of guaranteed failures in my own kitchen. Going years without an update on a healthy angel food cake, I finally overcame my fear of making this strangely unique recipe and baked it. I made the cake gluten free with oat flour and some arrowroot starch, used a healthier sweetener alternative and added some almond flavor and homemade vanilla extract for a better-than-the-original taste. If I overlooked the sad, sunken appearance and the absurdly crumbly texture, the cake was actually pretty good. It was perfectly sweet and had a great flavor. The next week I gave the cake one more try, this time adding xanthan gum and a little more almond flavor. The cake was amazing — soft and moist, sweet and satisfying, and it didn’t crumble like sand between your fingers (gluten-free triumph right there). You would never guess that a large slice has only 90 calories (opposed to 250 calories, like the original recipe!)