Angel Food Cake originated in the US as a way to use up egg whites when the yolks had been used for making pasta and noodles.

It is a very light cake, which contains no fat and is lower in calories than most sponge cakes. It is sometimes covered in American frosting, but this makes it very sweet and, in my view, is better served with fruit including summer berries or tropical fruits. In the winter you can use frozen berries to make a colourful compôte to serve with the cake.

Some recipes do not use flour, but cornflour or arrowroot instead, which is useful if you are looking to make a gluten-free cake. The texture will, inevitably, be a little different.

In this recipe, the basic sponge mixture is flavoured with lemon zest and rosewater. The fruit compôte can also have a teaspoon of rosewater added. Alternatively, try it with orange zest and orange blossom water and a hint of mixed spice.

Lemon and Rosewater Angel Food CakeIngredients

Plain flour100g

Icing sugar80g

Egg whites7 (200ml)

Pinch of salt

Caster sugar80g

Grated lemon zest5g

Cream of tartar5g

Distilled rosewater5g


1. Grease and base line a 23cm round cake tin. Sift the flour and icing sugar together and put to one side. Put the egg whites in a large bowl with a pinch of salt and whisk until they hold their shape. Gradually add the caster sugar and whisk until thick and shiny. Whisk in the lemon zest, cream of tartar and rosewater.

2. Carefully fold in the flour and icing sugar in three batches and pour into the prepared tin. Place in the preheated oven and bake at 180C for 3035 minutes. It should feel firm to the touch, be golden brown and a skewer will come out clean when inserted into the cake.

3. Leave it to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

4. Serve cut in slices with a rosewater flavoured fruit compôte.