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Martha's Favorite

Classic Angel Food Cake

Plan ahead: Allow at least two days for the elderflower syrup to sit at room temperature before starting the cake.

  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12
Classic Angel Food Cake

Source: Martha Bakes, Episode 1006


For the Elderflower Syrup

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 20 elderflower heads
  • Skin and juice of 2 lemons

For the Cake

  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 14 large egg whites (1 3/4 cups), room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Serving

  • Whipped cream
  • Berries


  1. Make the elderflower syrup: In a heavy saucepan, combine water and sugar and bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally until simple syrup is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

  2. Remove the elderflower heads from their stems, discarding stems and placing heads in a large heat-safe bowl. Add lemon skin and juice to bowl and pour simple syrup into bowl, stirring to combine.

  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 2 days and up to 4 days. Strain syrup through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and discard solids. Syrup can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a fine sieve, sift together flour and 3/4 cups sugar four times.

  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat together egg whites and water until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium-high and sprinkle in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff but not dry.

  6. Transfer to a large bowl. In six additions, sift dry ingredients over meringue, folding in quickly but gently.

  7. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom. Smooth top with an offset spatula. Run a knife through batter to release air bubbles. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch.

  8. Invert pan on its legs or over the neck of a glass bottle and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Carefully run a long offset spatula or knife around the inner and outer perimeter of the pan to release cake. Place on a plate, bottom side up; cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

  9. Serve each slice with some elderflower syrup poured around the base and whipped cream and berries on top.

Reviews (2)

  • marissa hurst 20 Oct, 2015

    Oh my goodness this looks great and sounds great just by these words soft and fluffy this is five star cake thank you Martha stewarts for your great food recipes

  • sharon44 14 Mar, 2015

    divine. Somehow I was out of vanilla, so I substituted almond extract and a little vanilla bean... it was perfect. I hope that I can replicate it. One thing I 've learned is that the tube pan needs to be pristine for the cake to rise well.

    A few berries and freshly whipped cream and you have an elegant dessert.

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