A classic, homemade angel food cake is cut and layered with a deliciously light, sweet, and subtly zesty lemon curd filling (made with homemade whipped cream) and stuffed with strawberries to make this brilliantly summer-y, exquisitely delicious angel food cake.
My obsession with this cake goes beyond words.
This cake is more than just cake; it is the fleeting joys of life embodied in baked goods.
It is catching fireflies at twilight and letting them go, it is flashing a newly-minted driver’s license to the bartender for your first legal drink, it is a first crush and the first shy brush of your lips against theirs. It is delightful and innocent and as ephemeral as summertime itself feels in the dead of winter.
If I were told I could only eat one thing again for the rest of my life… well I’d probably choose something practical like chicken, but my heart would break often for loss of this cake.
For the loss of it’s sweet, (appropriately) heavenly, fluffy interior, snow-white and slightly sticky. For the melt-in-your-mouth texture reminiscent of cotton candy, and the way in which you can feel the sugars beginning to melt on your tongue the moment you take your first bite. For the delicately browned exterior, and for the slightly tangy strawberry-filled cream that takes the cake to an entirely new level of flavor, creating a symphony of flavor and texture with soft notes of almond extract against a clamor of strawberries, and a melody of classic angel food orchestrated by a gentle zest of lemon .
The recipe for this cake (not the filling) is my mom’s.
That’s not exactly true; it originated from a Good Housekeeping cookbook that is now so well-used the spine is now duct-taped and each time you open it pages fall out in a flurry of well-loved recipes, too tired to hold on to their binding any longer.
But my mom has made this recipe countless times (mostly to use up a surplus of eggs from the chickens she and my dad raise), making it her own, and just like my great-grandmother makes the best fettuccine sauce and my grandmother makes the best chicken pot-pie in the world, my mom makes the best angel food cake. It’s requested with fervor, devoured within moments at parties, and each year on my birthday I ask her to make it for me.
Now, I’m sharing the recipe with you, dressed up with my own strawberry and lemon cream filling, and I sincerely hope you try it out for yourself.
Homemade Angel Food Cake is not to be compared to supermarket store-bought nor to those contrived from a box. There is simply no comparison. Homemade, from scratch, is superior in every way and only this food could ever compel me to write about it so passionately.
So long as you understand the meaning of “stiff peaks” (and if you don’t, I’m sure you know how to google) it’s really very easy to pull together, so long as you don’t mind taking the time to crack and separate almost a dozen eggs.
Make it. Taste it. Share it. Try to hold onto it, but remember this cake is as deliciously sweet and fleeting as strawberry season and disappears in the blink of an eye.
Lemon Layered Angel Food Cake
Angel Food Cake
- 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups egg whites at room temperature 10-12 egg whites
- 1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar granulated
- 1 pint strawberries
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup lemon curd homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup +¼powdered sugar divided
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ tsp vanilla
Angel Food Cake
- Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine powdered sugar and flour and set aside.
- In KitchenAid mixer, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla and almond extracts and salt. Mix well.
- With mixer on high, beat in sugar, about 1 Tablespoon at a time, adding more only once the previous tablespoon has been dissolved (As you add the sugar, you should be able to hear the faint sound of the granules scraping against the metal bowl. Once you no longer hear this, the sugar has been dissolved). Do NOT scrape the sides of the bowl as you are doing this, just keep beating.
- Beat until stiff peaks form (stiff peaks exist when you can dip a knife or spatula into the mixture and the peaks that form when you remove the utensil hold their shape firmly without the point of the peak folding or receding back into the mixture)
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in sugar/flour mix, about ½ cup at a time. Do not over-mix; fold only until the flour mixture is combined with the egg whites mixture.
- Pour mixture into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan and use a knife or spatula to cut through the batter to break through any air bubbles that may exist.
- Bake the cake for 35 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched. Any cracks on the surface should look dry.
- Immediately upon removing from oven, invert the cake onto a bottle or funnel and allow it to cool completely
- Once cake has cooled, place right-side-up and run a knife inside the rim of the cake pan. Invert cake onto serving platter. Carefully, using a sharp serrated knife, cut the cake crosswise into thirds.
Strawberry Lemon Filling
- Reserve 9-10 whole strawberries for top of cake. With the rest, remove tops and slice. Set aside.
- In KitchenAid, cream together cream cheese and lemon curd on medium speed until combined.
- Gradually stir in 1 cup powdered sugar on low speed, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl
- In separate bowl, combine heavy cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat by hand or with handheld electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Stir whipped cream mixture into lemon/cream cheese mixture until just combined (be sure to scrape down sides of bowl)
- Spread lemon mixture between layers and on top of angel food cake. For the bottom two layers, top with strawberry slices and use whole strawberries on top of cake.
- Slice using sharp serrated knife and serve.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Good day to you!
Can I make this recipe using gluten free flour?
Hi Judith! Honestly I have not tried it so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out. If you do try it I would love to know how it goes. 🙂
I made this for Mother’s day this year and we’re still all talking about it! Perfect for strawberry season!
I am so glad everyone enjoyed it so much! 🙂
Obsessed! Best dessert yet. Feel free to substitute other “curds” for filling and any fruit at all! Perfect for every occasion!
I am so glad you enjoyed it so much, Mara! 🙂
Having never made Angel Food Cake before & living at altitude, I was a little apprehensive making this. I think the cake was a little ‘denser’ because of altitude issues, but I had several people tell me this was the best dessert they had ever eaten. Thank you for the recipe and the very clear directions, I will be making this again. It’s a showstopper without being terribly difficult.
I am so glad everyone enjoyed it so much! 🙂
Hi!! Super excited to make this!!
Could I split up the cake batter into 3 standard cake pans and bake the cake that way instead of using a tube pan –– and if so, do you have any recommendations for adjusting the baking time and/or temperature to accomodate?? Thank you <3
Hi Mikes! unfortunately I’m not sure how this will bake in a standard cake pan, the tube pan is pretty critical for getting the lift that the angel food cake needs and for cooling it upside down.
I made this cake for our Sunday Family Dinner and it was a hit! Thank you!
I felt 3.5 cups of sugar over all was too much so I cut the sugar in the cake by 1/4 cup, and in the filling used only 1/2 cup. I made my own lemon curd -(which had even more sugar!) that was very tangy, but even so next time I would increase the lemonyness in the filling by increasing the added lemon curd to at least 1/2 cup, if not more! I used 2 lbs of strawberries! Also, why use only 1.5 cups of heavy cream instead of the whole pint?! Just dump it in, the more the merrier!
This served 9 people with about 2 large portions leftover for the birthday girl to take home. Really delicious and festive!
I am so glad you enjoyed! Thank you for commenting, Sarah!
Hello! I’m thinking about making this for a large family gathering at Christmas. I’m curious how far in advance the cake can be made, and how I should store it. I’m also wondering if the whipped topping will store well, or if I need to make it at the gathering. Can the cake be assembled in advance, or should I assemble it just before eating? Final question, we have some nut allergies in the family, so what do you think about substituting vanilla bean paste for almond extract? Thanks for your help!
Hi Kathleen! I hope I’m not too late getting back to you! The Angel Food Cake can be made 1-2 days in advance, store at room temperature in an airtight container (like a cake carrier), or wrap well/store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. I’ve never had any problem making the whipped topping in advance, I think you’ll be fine to make it a day or two beforehand, just store in an airtight container refrigerated and if any separation occurs you can just stir it before putting it on the cake.
I’ve assembled the cake in advance, since it’s so soft I’d probably not do it before the morning of the day you plan to serve it, and if you need to transport it and have a bumpy ride it may be best to just assemble it when you get to the location as the layers may slide under those circumstances.
You can definitely substitute vanilla bean paste for almond extract, or just leave out the almond extract and sub a little extra vanilla extract, that’s not a problem at all.
I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂
Hi, Sam! Thank you so much for this recipe. I have to say, I made this cake yesterday, and it is my new favorite dessert. The lemon, the strawberries, the cream cheese, the sweetness…the balance of flavors is perfect! Thanks again!
Debra I am so glad to hear you love the cake so much, it is one of my favorites as well. Thank you so much for letting me know how it turned out for you 🙂
I love this recipe. I do believe that people devour it immediately. But……I just noticed something that I had not read before.
The recipe lists “powdered sugar” for the cake as well as the lemon filling. I interpreted “powdered sugar” to mean Confectioners powdered sugar, yet you made reference to hearing “granules’ when the sugar is spooned and mixed into the cake batter. Could you clarify for me please? Is it granulated, sugar for the cake and confectioners powdered sugar for the filling?
Can’t wait to try this recipe!!! Thanks so much for sharing it!!!
This recipe actually uses both powdered sugar (yes, confectioners sugar) AND granulated. The powdered sugar gets mixed in with the flour, and then you’ll see that the granulated sugar is added into the egg white mixture. I hope this helps, and I hope that you love this cake as much as I do! 🙂
Oh Sam, it’s not just looks good, but also very tasty! I love cakes with fruit. Look at my exeperimental with strawberries http://tastynice.com/prostoj-pirog/, a simple pie.
Thank you Sam
Thanks Julia! 🙂
Thao @ In Good Flavor
It’s amazing how certain foods conjure up such fond memories…and they are memories that you carry throughout your life. This cake is beautiful and I know tastes just as good!
Indeed it is amazing. Thank you so much Thao!
😀 Thanks so much Sues! 🙂
Um yes, this cake is totally “the fleeting joys of life embodied in baked goods.” I love this post!!
Beeta @ Mon Petit Four
I’m so excited you’re sharing this recipe, Sam! I tried an angel food cake once and I ended up with a sunken cake that was slightly unbaked on one side. Needless to say, I was turned off by making a homemade angel food cake again. That and the fact that I was hesitant to try a random Pinterest recipe since there’s so much sifting and eggs involved. But I love your recipes so I’m going to definitely give yours a try – thank you so much for sharing! Your cake looks gorgeous! <3 XO
It’s all in the egg whites, you gotta beat them til they’re stiff and taking up most of the mixer bowl… you’ll get a knack for it. Let me know how it turns out Beeta, and Thanks! 🙂