Healthy Angel Food Cake
One bite of this Healthy Angel Food Cake and you’ll be convinced you’re eating a light, fluffy, and sweet, dessert-like cloud. It’s perfectly sweet, perfectly moist, and perfectly flavored with vanilla beans. You’d never ever guess that this recipe is totally guilt free, sugar free, fat free, low carb, gluten free, and dairy free too!
Angel Food Cake has been on my Recipe Wishlist (or, my “Desserts to Healthify” list) since I started blogging. And that was in 2011…
*makes shocked face*
Why did I wait so long to make this cake? Because Angel Food Cake is kind of like a crazy baker’s science experiment. It doesn’t contain the typical ingredients of typical cakes… no baking powder, no baking soda, no (whole) eggs…
The only “leavening agents” in Angel Food Cake consist of egg whites and cream of tartar. You need to whip the crap out of the two to make a super voluminous, egg white cloud. The structure of this cake is so delicate that you need to cool the cake upside down, otherwise it will sink in on itself and you will not be a very happy baker.
What? How do I know that? Oh, I don’t know… -_-
Angel Food Cake is often seen as a guilt-free treat because it’s naturally fat free… that’s right. This cake contains no egg yolks, no butter, and no oil. But fat free does not necessarily mean healthy. Especially when the cake is filled with bleached all purpose flour and a ton of high-calorie, high-glycemic white sugar.
Because the method of making this cake is pretty advanced, and because the few ingredients the recipe does call for would be difficult to replace with healthier ingredients, I waited a LONG time to make this Healthy Angel Food Cake.
I was honestly hoping that someone else would healthify the cake before I did so I wouldn’t have to encounter trial after trial of most likely guaranteed failures in my own kitchen. But, going years without an update on a Healthy Angel Food Cake, I finally overcame my fear of making this strangely unique recipe and tried it out… and it took four trials to perfect.
I found a recipe online and swapped the flour with a mixture of gluten-free oat flour and arrowroot starch, swapped the sugar with all-natural erythritol, and added some almond extract for a better-than-the-original flavor. 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, but obviously needed work.
I made the cake a couple more times adjusting the ratio of oat flour, starch, and erythritol. I also tried adding xanthan gum to try and fix the dry and crumbly texture. Nothing worked.
Because oat flour tends to absorb a lot of liquid, xanthan gum tends to thicken too much, and too much erythritol (or sugar) can dry out baked goods, I updated the recipe completely. I swapped the oat flour with sweet white sorghum flour, omitted the xanthan gum, used less erythritol and compensated for the missing sweetness with the addition of stevia extract. IT WORKED. IT WORKED GUYS!!
This Healthy Angel Food Cake is amazing — soft and moist, sweet and satisfying, and it didn’t crumble like sand between your fingers (a gluten free triumph right there). You would never guess that a HUGE slice has 95 calories. Yes, only 95 calories (opposed to 250 calories in typical Angel Food Cake)!
Healthy Angel Food Cake
- 80g (½ cup, packed) Arrowroot Starch
- 64g (½ cup) Sweet White Sorghum Flour
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 355g (1½ cups) Egg Whites (fresh, not cartoned)
- 1½ tsp Cream of Tartar
- 144g (¾ cup) Homemade Vanilla Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Liquid Stevia Extract
- ¼ tsp Almond Extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl, add the starch, sorghum flour, and salt.
- In a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment, add the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on high speed for 5 minutes -- it will increase in volume and look like fluffy clouds.
- Reduce speed to low and slowly add in the vanilla sugar. Once that's added, add the vanilla extract, stevia extract, and almond extract. Beat for a total of 3 minutes. Mixture should be stiff and slightly shiny.
- Take bowl off the mixer and sift in the dry ingredients. Fold together, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Deflating some of it is inevitable, but just try to be as gentle as you can and fold as little as possible... you don't want to overmix this.
- Scoop the mixture into an UNGREASED angel food cake pan (I used a 9" nonstick angel food cake pan) and spread out the surface. Bake for ~40 minutes, or until surface is rounded, golden brown, and springs back when tapped. Let the cake cool upside down (so that it doesn’t deflate). Once completely cooled, use an offset spatula to loosen the cake from the pan. Slice and serve immediately.
A ⅛th slice of this cake has just 95 calories, 17g carbs, and 0g sugar! As a reference, a ⅛th slice of typical Angel Food Cake has 250 calories, 56g carbs, and 42g sugar.
Can you believe that difference?? Everyone thinks Angel Food Cake is healthy because it’s virtually fat free, but that is clearly not the case. Typical Angel Food Cake has around 42g of sugar in ONE slice. That’s gotta be a joke right? That’s nearly ¼ cup of sugar in a single serving! But not my Healthy Angel Food Cake, which is clearly the winner here. With 155 fewer calories, zero grams of sugar, and whole grain sorghum flour, you can’t go wrong with my cake. You can even have an extra slice (or two) now 😉
With love and good eats,
I have been looking for a perfect low sugar angel food recipe for quite a long time too. But being sugar free I think somehow make the cake “to wilt” after cooling. However I did tried one recipe that contains guar gum and protein powder, which turned out nicely. The cake did not sink, maybe those 2 ingredients had some doing while I baked?
Anyway, here it is. 🙂 http://www.pressherald.com/life/foodanddining/no-sugar-low-carb-angel-food_-can-do__2012-04-18.html
I was able to incorporate this with Jessica’s recipe. I was too nervous because last time I cut back on sugar, the cake turned out weird.
This time, however, the cake turned out nice. Thank you so much! I love Jessica’s recipe, and I love the tips to your link.
Could I use stevia instead of Erythritol for this? If so, how much would you suggest?
Thanks so much!
I followed this recipe today! Let me first say that the cake was absolutely delicious and I will certainly be making it again. The texture and taste – both wonderful, and did not betray the healthy ingredients.
Actually, in your recipe, you don’t mention when/where to incorporate the sugar (erithrytol). I realized this after already beating the egg whites, so I combined it with the dry ingredients before folding it all together, but I’m not sure if this was what you intended.
I’d say that the taste was nearly identical to typical angel food cake – maybe a little more eggy but hard to avoid that. Anyway, it was a big hit with my guests, and they didn’t guess that it was a healthy version. I really thank you for this recipe!
Hi Shannon, I’m so glad you got to try out the recipe! Sorry for any confusion, you add the erythritol to the egg whites after beating them (instructions #5)
I’m not an expert on Angel Food Cake, so I apologize for any egginess, but I guess that can be covered up by topping the angel food cake with some 100% fruit jam, honey/maple syrup, etc 🙂
I have baked this cake with Jessica and it is so good! All of her desserts are so scrumptious and it really is hard to believe that everything is so healthy. And yes, the rumors about her are true, she eats chocolate and cupcakes for breakfast. 🙂
Haha thaaanks for sharing that Julia!! 🙂
The ingredients do not say how much erythritol, actually it is not mentioned in the ingredients, but it is mentioned to add the erythritol before adding the vanilla, stevia & almond extract. How much and can I substitute stevia? Thanks.
The homemade vanilla sugar is basically erythritol 🙂
I wouldn’t recommend subbing the erythritol.
How many actual egg whites doe 1 1/2 cups translate to?
It should be about a dozen large. I’ve made this a few times, once I needed 10 egg whites and another 13… just depends on the size of your eggs 🙂
Totally will be making this cake again. Moist and does not taste gluten free.
Yay I’m so glad you liked the recipe Jan!
Hmmm… sounded rather good until i read the ingredients. I wouldn’t eat anything that has a name I can hardly pronounce 😀
Florina- You haven’t heard of oat flour, egg whites and vanilla? 😉 If you want, you can use corn starch instead of arrowroot starch. And like the recipe states, you can use any dry sweetener to replace the erythritol. It might help to know that all of the ingredients in this recipe are 100% NATURAL. Might sound strange, like chia seed, quinoa and kale, but that does not mean they are not bad for you.
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Thanks for sharing your recipe. I do however disagree that erythritol is “all natural.” It is highly processed and most times is made from genetically modified ingredients such as corn. GMO’s can still be called “all natural.” I do understand that Donna Gates of Body Ecology fame sells a non-GMO erythritol. Even so, to call is all-natural is a stretch because again, it’s highly processed.
I would love to try this recipe, but it isn’t here anymore 🙁 Totally bummed on that as I have a friend on gluten free dairy free and sugar free diet whose birthday is coming up. Are you going to post it again, and could you send it to me when you do? Thank you.
I don’t know if you saw my note but I’m revamping the recipe! I wasn’t 100% proud of my recipe before, but I just recently made the new and improved Angel Food Cake and it is TO DIE FOR! I have it scheduled to post October 9th — it’d be a shame if you tried out my old recipe when this new one is coming so, so soon!! 🙂
This looks amazing! I love angle food cake and whipping egg whites, watching them puff up into a big fluffy mess is my idea of fun. Weird, maybe but i don’t care.
Ahhhh so this means anyone can eat the whole cake, right?! Looks absolutely perfect! I would totally make this for my sister–she isn’t vegan but she’s really health conscious! 🙂
I know you’ve got everything down to an art here, but how much would it affect the final product if I subbed coconut palm sugar for the erythritol? Thanks. 🙂
Hey Elise! I haven’t tried coconut sugar here so I can’t be sure, but I’d say it’s worth a try. The color will definitely be brown, not white, and the flavor will be slightly different, but it’ll still be good I’m sure! Crossing my fingers it turns out for you 🙂
Just wondering if you tried it. If so how did it turn out using the coconut palm sugar.
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This is a “healthy” recipe in terms of ingredients but tastes as sweet, if not more so, as any “unhealthy” one. I can appreciate all the effort you’ve made to develop it, but you need about half the sugar substitute you advise to make an acceptable cake, in actual fact. I have just made this cake with the amounts and products you recommend (thinking wtf, but not being sure if the amount was necessary to the result or not) and it is sweet to the point of being horrible. It seems to me to be pandering to people who have a very unfortunate sugar addiction. I don’t really understand the thought processes behind making it taste like this. May as well just eat the “unhealthy” cake and be done with it! Nobody who eats good food all the time could really stomach this cake.
This is a dessert blog, I like sweets, and my readers like sweets. Therefore, I’m gonna make sweet treats. If you don’t like sweets, you probably won’t like my recipes. My entire goal is to make recipes using healthier ingredients that taste like the ORIGINAL.
“In actual fact” isn’t a fact, it’s your opinion. I’ve made this cake many times and loved it (which is also my opinion).
If you want a lesser sweet cake, you can try the cake using without the stevia 🙂
100% agree with you👍
I have yet to make it yet but I’m concerned about your comment that its sugar free. In your ingredient list it has “Homemade Vanilla Sugar” (which I’d never heard of before) so I looked up recipes for it. All recipes for “homemade vanilla sugar” contain sugar. Do you have an alternative recipe for this vanilla sugar?