Enjoy a slice of heaven with lightened-up angel food cake

This Jan. 31, 2018 photo shows a lemon and vanilla bean angel food cake in Bethesda, Md. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP) MDMA101
Published March 30, 2018
Updated March 29, 2018

s there anything dreamier than the tender crumb of a light-as-air angel food cake? I’ve loved angel food cake ever since I first tasted it as a child. It reminded me of cotton candy. No wonder: Angel food cake is essentially a fluffy blend of a super-sugary meringue laced with just enough flour to give it a little structure.

In the ’80s, low-fat became the "healthy" battle cry, and angel food cake came into vogue, with no fat weighing it down, but plenty of white processed sugar fluffing it up. In fact, fat-free-but-sugary baked treats were practically a diet fad unto themselves for well over a decade. Of course, modern science and common sense tell us that we could all benefit from cutting down on processed sugar.

So how to bring back the flavor and texture of the angel food cakes I adored as a child without throwing our blood sugar levels out of whack? Today’s recipe is the solution.

First, I cut the sugar down by about 25 percent over typical recipes and it worked great. Second, I skipped purchasing "superfine" white sugar and tried less-processed organic versions. I pulsed the coarser sugar in the blender myself to make it powdery-fine.


Instead of using super-starchy, lower-protein cake flour, I pulsed up regular flour in the blender to mimic the lightness. Also, I made the cake in a loaf pan, which resulted in us eating smaller slices versus the tube pan version.

For flavor, I added lemon zest and lovely speckled vanilla bean. I served it with a quick lemony glaze made from Greek yogurt that my family loves, but that you can consider optional if you are an angel food cake traditionalist. You could also try a slice of this cake with a tiny square of dark, bitter chocolate for a perfect pairing.

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