The two most defining characteristics of an angel food cake are its light fluffy texture and height.
What would happen if there were no leavening agents like cream of tartar or baking soda added to angel food cake? Most of the leavening is dependent on the egg foam of the recipe, so can it maintain its fluffy texture without any additional leavening?
The answer is: yes… but not really
If there are no leavening agents used in this recipe, there is no stabilizer protecting the air pockets within the egg foam that creates a tall and tender structure. The cake will become denser and have a darker crumb, which is not desirable for an angel food cake. Instead, cream of tartar or baking soda should be added to ensure there is no loss of air bubbles.
Another important aspect of this cake is how whipped the batter is. There is a drastic difference between cakes that are whipped to form soft peaks versus stiff peaks.
In the featured photo above, the slice on the left represents the batter that was beaten to stiff peaks. It collapsed significantly more than the other method which remained tall and fluffy.
All images and information on this post are from Jacob’s Job.
“Simple Angel Food Cake Recipe for Beginners.” Jackson’s Job, 4 Nov. 2021, https://jacksonsjob.com/angel-food-cake/.