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Step by Step Directions for Gluten Free Angel Food Cake

My daughter recently turned 18 and for her birthday she requested an angel food cake.  Honestly, getting over the fact that my daughter is 18 was harder than making this gluten free cake.


 It has been a journey to reach the point where we are now.  When we were first diagnosed with celiac disease, the one thing that upset me the most was the perception that my daughter would not have a “normal” life. 


Celiac Disease was considered rare then.  And even though it seems more commonplace now, the fact is that she has a life long, life changing, autoimmune disorder.  


And back then eating gluten free was far from the norm.   To me who had never even heard the word “gluten” before, the life that we would have to lead seemed far from normal.  No more bread?  No more pasta?  No more travel?  No more eating out?


I literally spent a day locked in our guest bedroom in the basement crying over what I thought was the loss of our “normal” life. 


The early years were challenging for my daughter as well.  If you have read my blog, you know I try really hard to put as positive of a spin on things as is possible, but being gluten free back then was very hard.


There was no GF bread – lunch was served on corn thins. 


And there certainly was no GF pizza or hot dog buns or hamburger buns. 


And every time there was some kind of event, Alex had to show up with her own food.  It was tough going and I know that my daughter felt “different” and “left out” at times. 


A year or two after diagnosis we traveled to New York City together – our first really big trip out of town gluten free.  My daughter was around 13 years old and dreamed of living in NYC someday.   It was a ton of work to prepare for this trip, as it was the first time we would spend a few days in a different city, eating out for every meal.  But we wanted to travel and did not want our diets to stop us. 


We had a great trip and enjoyed seeing the shows and Broadway, shopping and eating out at all of the great gluten free restaurants in NYC


One afternoon, we were sitting in Risotteria devouring the breadsticks (best we had ever eaten) when this really beautiful young lady and her date walked in to sit next to us.  Picture Blake Lively just walking off the set of Gossip Girl.  Being a teenage girl, my daughter’s eyes grew large and sparkled when she saw her.  This young lady was more than “normal” to my teenage daughter.   She was young, creative, confident, extremely hip and living in NYC.   


Rissoteria is a tiny restaurant and at some point it is really difficult not to hear the conversation next to you.  This young lady and her boyfriend were talking about the food at Rissoteria and after a few minutes, it became clear that she was gluten free.


And even better yet, it turned out she had celiac disease too.


This may seem like a small incident, but to my daughter (and me for that matter) who had not met that many people with celiac disease, this was a huge moment.  It was a “wow, I can have celiac disease and have a great life too” kind of moment.  It was a glimpse into the future and a moment of hope.


Things have really changed since the “good old days” of being gluten free – even to the point that in some circles eating gluten free is normal.


And now as I look at my daughter on her 18th birthday, I have to sit back and wonder what I was so worried about.  My daughter is beautiful and incredibly gifted and smart and funny.  And she is very, very normal.  And I am incredibly proud of her.





Enough bragging, here is my Gluten Free Teen’s Favorite Angel Food Cake. 

Step-by-Step Directions for Gluten Free Angel Food Cake





  • ½ cup gluten free tapioca flour
  • ½ cup gluten free potato starch
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1½ cups sifted bakers sugar
  • 12 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract



  • Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Have ready an ungreased large tube pan. If the pan bottom is not removable, line it with parchment paper.






  • Whisk together the tapioca flour, potato starch and xanthan gum.  Sift the flour.





  • Whisk the flour and ¾ cup of the sifted sugar in a small bowl. Place the remaining ¾ cup sifted sugar in another small bowl next to the mixer.


  • If your eggs are coming out of the refrigerator, place them in a bowl of warm water to bring to room temperature. 






  • Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer at low speed until just broken up and beginning to froth. Add the cream of tartar and salt and beat at medium speed until the whites form very soft, billowy mounds.





  • With the mixer still at medium speed, beat in the remaining ¾ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites are shiny and form soft peaks.










  • Add the vanilla, lemon juice and almond extract and beat until just blended.






  • Sift the flour-sugar mixture over the whites, about 3 tablespoons at a time, and gently fold in, using a large rubber spatula.






  • Gently scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top with the spatula, and give the pan a couple of raps on the counter to release any air bubbles.






  • Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when pressed firmly, 50 to 60 minutes.


  • If the cake pan has prongs around the rim for elevating the cake, invert the pan onto them. If the pan does not have prongs, invert the pan onto the neck of a bottle or funnel. Let the cake cool completely, 2 to 3 hours.





  • To unmold, run a knife around the edges of the pan, being careful not to separate the golden crust from the cake. Slide the cake out of the pan and cut the same way around the removable bottom to release, or peel off the parchment paper, if using.


  • Place the cake, bottom-side up, on a platter. Cut slices by sawing gently with a large, serrated knife.





Top with Whipped Cream and Strawberries or Frost for a decorated cake. 



My daughter wanted her cake frosted, so here is the finished version.





 This recipe was shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays.Screen_Shot_2014-03-19_at_1.55.54_PM.png


Posted by Angie McCullagh in Seattle on
Thank you for this! My daughter was diagnosed earlier this year (at age 8). Even though times are much easier now to be GF, I've had my share of melt-downs and heart breaks. One of my first "Oh nos!" was that my daughter had never tried angel food cake. I don't know why that meant so much to me. I'm very excited to make this for her as her birthday is next week. I'm going to read her this post and share the photo of your daughter. She will seem old and wise and glamorous to her. :) Thanks again!
Posted by jamie on
HI Angie! I really do understand the melt-downs and never hads. It can be really tough at times. I guess that is why I do this blog. Just be sure and sift the ingredients - otherwise the flour will clump when you add it to the egg mixture. Good luck and let me know if you ever need anything.
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