Preview: This recipe for coffee angel food cake uses a cake mix. No separating of egg whites, no layers, and no guilt-inducing leftover egg yolks.
Helen Corbitt billed her from-scratch recipe for Coffee Angel Food Cake as “the most talked-about cake at Neiman Marcus.”
But despite many attempts, my scratch angel food cakes often turn out to be underachievers who can’t seem to reach the top of the pan. Cake mix, please.
And here’s more good news: no separating of egg whites, no layers, and no guilt-inducing leftover egg yolks.
My first introduction to this cake came on the first day of my first job out of college at the downtown Dallas Neiman-Marcus store (minimum wage–my parents were not impressed).
Every day, I was “forced” to walk by the snack bar strategically placed under the escalator. The coffee angel food cake they displayed under glass tempted me as much as the discount deals I often found on the “Last Call” rack.
Thankfully, I can now make this treat myself, and you can, too. By the way, you can still see the original scratch recipe in Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook (paid link).
Let’s start at the very beginning…
Ingredients and Substitutions
- ANGEL FOOD CAKE MIX: As it turns out, angel food cake mixes always rise higher than my scratch cakes, and they’re quite tasty. Adding flavoring, such as instant espresso, improves them considerably.
- INSTANT ESPRESSO: Instant espresso is my substitute for coffee. You can try instant coffee if you need a substitute. Be sure to dissolve it in the water called for by the cake mix before adding it. Otherwise, it may not completely dissolve in the cake mix.
- BUTTER: I can’t recommend margarine as a substitute for butter. Do what you must.
- POWDERED SUGAR: No substitutes for powdered sugar in this icing recipe. You can make your own powdered sugar from granulated sugar with a powerful blender.
- MILK: Whole, 2%, or skim milk will all work with this icing. Even creamer or half and half could be used, but it will make this frosting super-rich.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: You could leave this out if you don’t have it.
- ALMONDS: I like to use sliced almonds. In my book, they must be toasted for the best flavor. You can do it in 2-3 minutes with a paper plate and a microwave oven. (Stir after every minute.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I freeze this cake?
Yes. Store cake slices in a plastic storage container so the the cake won’t get squashed. Supposedly, you can keep angel food cake from 4-6 months. I haven’t tried it myself.
How should I store coffee angel food cake?
Because of the butter icing, keep the cake well-covered in the refrigerator.
Also, chilling the cake makes it easier to cut neat slices.
Speaking of neater slices, use a serrated knife and “saw” the same way you do bread. See the recommended products below for my favorite knife for this purpose.
What kind of pan should I use if I don’t have an angel food cake pan?
Use a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Your cake will rise higher when the surface is NOT non-stick. Don’t grease the sides.
Cut wax paper or parchment paper to fit the bottom (not the sides) of the pan. The paper will help you remove the cake from the pan after it cools.
Is one cake mix better than another?
Probably. You can read different opinions on the web.
In my experience, the grocery stores I frequent only carry one brand of angel food cake. I buy what I can get.
If I want to make the angel food cake from scratch instead of using a cake mix, how should I modify it for this recipe?
Since you won’t be using water as you would with a cake mix, fold in the instant espresso when you fold in any flavorings such as almond or vanilla extract.
How to make Coffee Angel Food Cake:
Making the coffee icing:
Interested in more coffee-flavored treats?
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Hope to see you again soon!
p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.