Lemon Meringue Angel Food Cake: Light and lovely with a twist

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Lemons are yellow, but color me green with envy right now.

Despite the several inches of snow we still have in our yard here in Vermont, I know there are parts of the country where folks are already starting to harvest fresh fruits and veggies. Boy oh boy, what I wouldn’t give to see even a few green buds at this point.

I’m not going to let myself succumb to the green-eyed monster, though. In fact, I’m going to give him a makeover and turn him into a golden-eyed angel, in the form of light and lovely angel food cake. To take it one step further, he’ll get a new hairdo of lofty meringue, too, and become the envy of the heavenly choir.

Let’s make Lemon Meringue Angel Food Cake.

First, preheat your oven to 325°F.

IMG_4640Place 12 eggs whites – or substitute 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) dried egg whites + 1 1/4 cups cold water – in the bowl of your mixer. Use the whisk attachment to beat on low speed until a frothy foam develops.

Anyone else seeing bubble bath here?

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Once the base of foam is well established, you can start to gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Increase the speed to high and whip until the batter is thick and stiff.

Now we’re talking shaving cream instead of bubble bath.

2-DSCN1435Remove the bowl from the mixer and use the whisk by hand to mix in 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest. Be sure to use fresh zest for this recipe; dried zest isn’t going to give you the same depth of flavor.

IMG_4676Grab a large spatula. Place 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour in a sieve. Sift this over the cake batter in three portions, folding the dry ingredients into the whipped whites each time just until no dry streaks remain.
Spread the batter in an ungreased angel food pan, either round or rectangular (like that shown in the photo at the top).

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Don’t be surprised if the cake rises quite high in the oven, then sinks a bit towards the end of baking. This is normal for angel food cakes.

Cool the cake upside down, according to your pan’s directions (if you still have any directions). I like the pans with the little feet built right in; it saves me from looking for a bottle to balance it on.

When the cake is completely cool, remove it from the pan and place it on your serving plate while you make the meringue. Remember, once that meringue is added, you won’t be able to move the cake without encountering a very sticky situation!

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For the meringue, you’ll follow the same steps of whipping the whites, then adding the sugar and cream of tartar as described previously. Bubble bath to shaving cream, but in a small version:

3 large egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (this adds stability to the whites)
1/4 teaspoon salt (for flavor)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread the meringue in a nice, thick layer all over the cake, and break out the torch! If you don’t have a torch, place the cake carefully on an oven-proof platter or baking sheet and toast the meringue under the broiler.  The sides will not get as browned, but that’s perfectly all right.

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A dessert you’ll be proud to serve no matter what the season. Gabriel, cue the horns and take it away!

Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Lemon Meringue Angel Food Cake.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. JuliaJ

    How did you end up with a rectangular cake? Did the kitchen gremlins
    gobble up the rest of your tube pan cake?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Either a round angel food cake or angel food loaf pan will work well. Happy baking. Jon@KAF

  2. Julie

    looks gorgeous, but I’m confused – its in a tube pan and then in the final picture it looks like it was baked in a loaf pan? did I miss something!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You can actually use both, either a round or loaf shaped angel food pan. Jon@KAF

  3. Carol S

    I am confused by the photo. It sounds like you used a regular tube pan but the finished product is a different shape. Which is correct?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Both are correct! This recipe can be made in a tube pan or a loaf pan, both can be found for making angel food cakes. Jon@KAF

  4. waikikirie

    MJ, you crack me up. “according to you pan’s directions (if you still have any directions)”…teehee. A week late with the post. I made homemade ice cream last weekend. Needless to say, egg white omelets were had (even the dog had his own). Where did you get the long angel food cake pan?? I know KA must not sell it because there is no link.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We used to carry this pan, but do not currently. I would search for an angel food loaf pan. It is important that it not be nonstick. Barb@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The cake itself can be made and frozen for 2-3 months. However, the meringue topping will greatly shorten how long it will keep. I would say maybe 2-3 days before the meringue starts to fall. Jon@KAF

  5. Jean

    What can I use as a substitution for cream of tarter? I’m allergic to sulfite and cream of tarter comes from wine barrels.

    Also, what can I use to substitute cornstarch? Potato or tapioca starch?

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      HI Jean,
      Just 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice will do the trick. Enjoy! ~ MJ

  6. dbl452

    Thank you so very much for your instructions and recipe. This Angel Food Cake must be delicious!
    Dorothy

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      HI Sheila,
      Lemon curd, raspberry curd, pastry cream and homemade ice cream are all great ways to use up leftover yolks. ~ MJ

  7. Nell

    “color me green with jealousy”

    Sorry to be all English-majorish and everything, but it should be ‘green with envy.’ ‘Envy’ is bitterness or resentment because somebody ELSE has got something you don’t have. (It’s one of the traditional seven deadly sins.) ‘Jealousy’ is possessiveness of something YOU have (for example, KA’s proprietary mixes might be ‘jealously guarded secrets’).

    Now that I’ve vented that, I can go back and read the post.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Nell,
      I’m all for learning the in’s and out’s of the language. I never really knew there was such a difference. I’ve gone in and changed that first sentence. Thanks! ~ MJ

  8. Nell

    I like the pans with the little feet build right in

    Built.

    Will this cake have a really lemony lemon flavor? Or is it more delicate? I think you have some lemon (or is it lime) powder in the store. If that were added to an angel food cake – mixed in with the flour and sugar – would that give a real zingy flavor? Or would it react with the egg whites, etc. and result in disaster?

    And what about splitting it and adding a layer of lemon curd?

    Can you tell I love lemon?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      HI Nell,
      First, I fixed the typo, thanks. Funny how some of those sneak right by all of our proofers until the blog is live and someone spots it ASAP.

      For the cake, I think it has a nice lemon flavor, not too light and not too puckery. If you have the lemon powder, adding 2 tablespoons can boost the flavor even more without any negative effects. For splitting with lemon curd, you absolutely can. Check out some of the other blog comments, others have remarked on how they do it. ~ MJ

    2. Nell

      MaryJane, I’m an English teacher. I work in a college that trains people to be English teachers, so I’ve got to get things absolutely correct or there goes my credibility with my eagle-eyed students. MY typos always show up when I’m looking over the second side of photocopy number 45 out of a batch of 50. By the time I’ve said, ‘Oh, crumbs!’ copy number 50 is rolling out of the machine.

      Of course, teachers always have a clever solution for such situations. I pass out the copies and say, ‘Now, there’s at least one mistake hidden on this copy. Bonus points for the person who spots it.’ It works even better than the old, ‘Why don’t you go home and look that up and write me a report about it?’ when you don’t know the answer to a question. :-)

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      That is SUCH a great idea Nell! That comes from years of experience! I will be sure to fill MJ in on your post! Elisabeth@KAF

    4. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Brilliant Nell, just brilliant! Back when I was teaching 5th grade, there was a lot of hub-bub on a Monday morning because two of the students had kissed at the dance on Friday night. Guess what the bonus question was on our pop quiz that day? And yes, everyone got it right. ;) ~ MJ

  9. Cyndi

    I have the pan with the little feet and I will make this cake for Easter. Can I use powder suger to sprinkle on top?

    Reply
  10. Joy

    If one does not possess an angel food loaf pan, would a super clean glass loaf pan work? If not, no worries as I have my Mom’s 60+ year old, always trusty angel food cake pan! But the loaf concept is very appealing. Thanks for advice and the yummily recipe!!! :)

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Joy,
      I think the full batch is too big for one regular loaf pan, but a half-sized recipe should work out fine. Try scrubbing the pan with a paste of baking soda and lemon juice for a squeaky clean feel. ~ MJ

  11. ML

    I cannot seem to find the Angel Food Loaf Pan among your inventory of loaf pans. I have two different sizes of pan de mies. Can they be used and if so, what size is the pan that you used? I love the different shape for the Angel Food cake. I’ve always used the tube pan. The meringue takes it over the top…Thx

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      HI ML,
      We have carried the loaf pan in the past, but don’t have it in stock currently. Any angel food pan would work well. The pain de mie pans have a coating on them, so they may not work well for angel food. I know the loaf pan was not exclusive to us, and I believe Wilton had a version too. ~ MJ

  12. Nicole

    Here’s an awesome modification for you:

    Once cake is cool, cut horizontally either once or twice, thereby giving you two or three layers. Get a jar of tasty tasty lemon curd (or make your own with the leftover yolks from the cake), then spread a layer of curd (thickness is up to personal preference) and stack the cake again.

    Then proceed with the meringue. Cut carefully with a serrated knife when serving (the curd can make the layers a bit slippery, but not too bad).

    It’s our traditional spring cake as it looks like sunshine on a plate.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Nicole,
      I definitely want to give that a try, thanks for the tip. I love “sunshine on a plate”! ~ MJ

  13. Bev

    I love the look of the angel food cake..and I do have the round cake pan, exactly like this one in your photo. I will be making one again soon, I will also turn mine into a Chocolate Fudge Tunnel Cake. I will come back with pictures and recipe for this once I’ve completed it. I love K.A.F. for all the recipes you give out, and your step by step photo instructions are wonderful. However, I get very frustrated by the amount of people in your blogs who apparently don’t bother to read or follow your blog correctly. They continually ask you to repeat your instructions in their comments….How about going back to the beginning and re read K.A.F. instructions people????!!!!!!
    You explained to your readers that you may use an angel food cake pan ( round version) OR a loaf pan, shown in your photo also. What is it exactly that these readers are not understanding? How to read and follow directions? Or are they looking to receive an answer from you personally ???? Thank you K.A.F. for all your wonderful help….keep up the good work!!!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Thanks Bev, I can’t wait to hear about the Chocolate Fudge cake. I know we’ve all jumped the gun before and asked before looking. I hope it’s just folks anxious to give the recipe a try this spring! :)
      ~ MJ

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I’m sorry Carol, we do not. I imagine it will be rather hard to create a vegan version of this recipe as egg whites are the foundation for both the cake and the meringue. Good luck on your search and happy baking! Jon@KAF

  14. Jen

    Is there a specialty “cooking” torch, or do I simply head out to my hubby’s workbench in his shed and grab his propane blow torch (cleaning off all of the oil, grease, dust that accumulates in a man cave)? Actually, lemon is his favorite flavor, so if he wants the cake make, I’ll make him clean up the torch! Seriously, do they make a torch for the kitchen – not so big and clunky?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I personally have only used the large torches in kitchens. However, they do make “mini” versions that are a bit easier to use at home. Jon@KAF

  15. HRN

    I’ve made angel food cakes (not this particular recipe, but also a 12 egg white recipe) in my KAF Pullman loaf pan, they’ve always come out great. I line the bottom with parchment and do not grease the sides, the batter climbs up nicely. Invert onto four glasses, since the pan doesn’t have feet. I’m a little surprised at the amount of sugar in this recipe. Even for an angel food cake, which is generally quite sweet, that seems like a very large amount. I love the meringue coating idea.

    Reply
  16. hulagaga

    Made this ‘cake’ today, using the ChefMaster meringue powder substitute as cited in the “tips” section of the recipe. Too late for your April Fool’s Day pictures! What a disaster. When I turned the pan upside down to cool, it was like a mudslide onto the rack. The cake rose as expected,
    was nicely browned, but that’s where it ends. I tried tasting the done part that was in the pan, and it in no way tasted like angelfood cake. More like a yucky aftertaste. It’s the first time I used the powdered egg whites in a recipe, and it definitely will be the last. What a waste of my time and all those ingredients!

    Reply
  17. Cassy McGuinness

    Can I use liquid pasturized egg whites in the cake recipe? We are making this cake for Easter dinner and will try the lemon curd layers as well as some strawberries on the side.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Carla,
      Unfortunately, those paper pans have a silicone non-stick coating that won’t let the batter cling and rise so I don’t think they are a good option for angel food. Sorry. ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Gerry,
      I’ve never added cake enhancer to an angel food cake, I think the fatty acids may actually weigh it down. ~ MJ

  18. Robin Mitnick

    I read the recipe and got excited about making it. It’s looks delicious and so pretty. Then, I realized about the discrepancy between the round cake in the recipe and the loaf space in the photo. I think it would be hard to ice a round angel food cake with the meringue and also to brown it properly. In one response, KAF recommended a loaf pan but then went on to say you don’t carry it. This is very disappointing. How can I make the cake properly in a loaf shape?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      A half batch of the recipe should fit in a standard loaf pan. Please choose one that does not have a non-stick finish.~Jaydl@KAF

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