The Story of Angel Food Cake

Bible and Torah Describe Manna as the Bread of Angels

angel food cake
Angel food cake has spiritual significance that ties in with the story of the famous manna miracle from the Bible and Torah. John Hay/Getty Images

Angel food cake has spiritual significance that ties in with the story of the famous manna miracle. The white, sweet food that God provided supernaturally to human beings as manna is the bread of angels, according to the Bible and Torah. Not only is angel food cake reminiscent of the manna that angels may eat in heaven, but it's light and fluffy texture reminds people of angels’ ethereal beauty. So angel food cake got its name because it seems like the closest equivalent to an angelic cake that humans could bake.

The History

Angel food cake first appeared in the United States during the 1800s and became popular after mechanical egg beaters were invented. Since the cake requires lots of fast mixing to whip the egg whites, it’s difficult to make without the help of a machine to beat the egg whites properly.

Religious Significance

Jews and Christians sometimes use angel food cake to symbolize manna, the heavenly food that God miraculously provided for the Israelites during their 40 years in the desert.

Psalm 78 describes the manna that God miraculously sent the Israelites as “the bread of angels."

Exodus 16:31 of the Torah and the Bible says that manna was white and “tasted like wafers made with honey,” which reminds people of angel food cake’s light appearance and sweet taste.

Good Versus Evil

This “angelic” cake has a “sinful” counterpart.

Angel food cake features a light white or yellow color, fluffy texture, and sweet taste.

In contrast, devil’s food cake features a dark brown color, thicker texture, and rich chocolate flavor. Angel food cake usually has no fat content, while devil’s food cake is often loaded with fat.

Angel food cake represents the purity of good angels who are faithful to God, and devil’s food cake represents the decadence of sin in which evil, fallen angels may tempt people to indulge.

However, you may consider both types of cakes good to eat or sinful to indulge in, depending on your personal taste.

Recipe Ingredients

Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need to make angel food cake:

  • 1 ½ cups egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sugar

 

Recipe Directions

Place egg whites in a mixing bowl and let them sit there at room temperature for 20 minutes. While you’re waiting, mix the flour and sugar, sifting them together three times and then setting them aside.

Once the egg whites are ready, add the cream of tartar and vanilla and almond extracts to them and beat them at high speed. Then gradually add in the remaining sugar while continuing to beat at a high speed, until the sugar dissolves and the eggs form the stiff peak shapes in the bowl.

Sift in the flour and sugar mixture ¼ cup at a time while beating at low speed until fully blended. Then gently spoon the batter into an ungreased, 10-inch tube pan. Remove any air pockets by cutting through the batter with a knife.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and have it come out clean.

As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, turn the pan upside down for the cake to cool. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. If you’d like, frost the cake with vanilla icing.