Gluten Free Angel Food Cake & Boiled Icing Recipe

My family celebrates “fake” holidays now, since we aren’t always in the same city for the real ones.  Sunday was Fake Jen’s Birthday (me!), and it was glorious.

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to Whole Foods to see if I could find some flours I’ve been looking for (Garbanzo-Fava and Arrowroot).  I haven’t been there since one of my friends worked there when I was in university.  IT WAS MAGICAL.  So expensive, but full of food I can eat.  They even had samples of fresh gluten-free bread from a local bakery, Aidan’s.  I was skeptical, having tasted other gluten-free “bread”, but this one was delicious!  I bought 2 loaves of bread and a bunch of supplies to make chili.  And $30 of raw coconut oil, but we don’t have to talk about that.

On Sunday, I went to my parents’ place and my mom and I made Angel Food Cake.  My grandma used to make this with boiled icing when I was a kid.  It was my favourite, but I haven’t had it since before she died, so at least 7 years.  We found a gluten-free recipe and my mom dug up my grandma’s old icing recipe.

The cake recipe calls for a 10″ tube pan.  That’s TEN inches.  So if you happen to have taken possession of your grandma’s old angel food cake pan, measure it because it might be only 9″ and then this will happen:

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
Adapted from this recipe.

1 2/3 cup egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup + 2tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk together potato starch, corn starch and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla.
  4. Beat on high speed with electric mixer until mixture is stiff and stands in peaks, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not over beat.
  5. Reduce the speed to medium-high and sprinkle in the 1 cup of sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, for about 1 minute.
  6. Put mixer on lowest speed and slowly add the sifted flour and sugar mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, carefully pour out the mixture into an ungreased 10″ tube pan.  Bake for 35 minutes.
  8. Invert and suspend the pan and let cool completely.

Inverting is the tricky part.  My grandma used to balance the lip of the pan on 2 Coke cans, but since our cake basically exploded out the top of the pan we needed something that wouldn’t touch the cake.  We ended up using a paper towel holder:

Which was great until I turned around and this happened:

You can also use:

  • The neck of a bottle
  • Clothes pins clipped around the edge of the pan

Boiled Icing Recipe

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan; stir until well blended. Boil slowly without stirring until mixture will spin a long thread when a little is dropped from a spoon (hold the spoon high above saucepan), or it reaches 238 – 242 degrees F (114 – 117 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer until they are stiff, but still moist. Pour hot syrup slowly over egg whites while beating. Continue until mixture is very fluffy, and will hold its shape. Add vanilla, and beat until blended.

The icing was PERFECT.  As soon as I ate some I had a massive flashback to my childhood.

The cake was good too, despite the “too small pan” fiasco.  When we covered it with icing, you couldn’t even tell there was a destroyed pile of angel food cake underneath!

Yum.  Fake birthday: successful.


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