Heartbeet Kitchen
Mini Gluten-Free Angel Food Cakes with Strawberries and Lemon Cream
April 28, 2016 in Gluten-Free · Nut-Free · Summer · Sweets · 21 Comments

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream & Strawberries

When you mention Mom and berries in the same sentence, the first thing that comes to my mind is Mom’s angel food cake. Her signature style of serving it, with crimson red strawberries she’d somehow sliced perfectly using a scraggly pairing knife. She’d let them sit amongst a dusting of sugar, coaxing out their sweet juices that begged to be absorbed by the light and airy cake. The tender, juicy strawberries nestled atop homemade whipped cream, it was my favorite summertime delight.

I’d beg it her to cut me a piece as the smell of marshmallows floated through the house, but she insisted it had to spend hours turned upside down, balancing on a bottle of worcestershire sauce, which I can still picture clear as day. She took me through the reasons, emphasizing that removing it too soon would be the detriment to it’s tall and staunch height. Even though she made hers from a boxed mix, it was still homemade in my eyes. She didn’t buy it in a store, she baked it in her oven and it turned out perfectly every.single.time.

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream & Strawberries

It had been years since I’d had a slice of it, waiting for the day I’d stumble upon a gluten-free angel food cake, but that never came to fruition. And when California Giant Berries asked me to share my Berry Story, I knew I couldn’t do it without this cake. My mind went to work, thinking of how to create the firm, yet soft structure without gluten, or gums. And I needed to learn the phases of egg whites so that I could get them firm and glossy, a must for it’s lift and airy quality.

After several trials, this “from-scratch” version is one that I’m confident you can do! Because I didn’t think many people had an angel food cake pan (in the 1980’s, yes – but not anymore), I decided to make them into minis using a standard muffin tin. A mix of tapioca and cassava flour (which makes them grain-free too!) was the perfect equation, light enough to let the egg whites do their thing, but starchy enough to get away without using gums.

Angel Food Cake 4
Angel Food Cake 3
Mini Angel Food Cakes {gluten-free}Mini Gluten-Free Angel Food Cakes {made with cassava flour}Three days and five dozen eggs later, here are the most important things I learned:

  1. The pictures above show what firm and glossy egg whites look like. To be sure they whip, use room temperature eggs and make sure your bowl is completely clean. No speck of egg yolk should enter the bowl either.
  2. You must use super-fine sugar and since I don’t ever hand this on hand, I made my own by putting into my blender and whizzing until it was very fine, like sand. They do sell super-fine sugar, but I haven’t ever found an organic one. By making my own, I could use organic evaporated cane sugar, and save a tripe to the store.
  3. You must sift your dry ingredients (flour & sugar mixture).
  4. To keep a smooth consistency, you add the flour mixture literally 2 tablespoons at a time, folding by hand to mix, not stirring. It is the step that takes the longest, but it is essential.

You’ll let your berries sit in a bit more of the superfine sugar as the cakes bake and cool, or even better, do this step the night before. This is where the juiciness comes from, macerating so that they create their own “simple syrup”. The best.

I can’t quite describe how wonderful it was to have angel food cake again, just as I had remembered when Mom made it. The way the minis absorbed the strawberry juices, and held it there until fully saturated, kind of like a sponge…. divine. They had just the right amount of toasty crunch on the outside, and cloud-like fluffiness on the inside. And a dollop of homemade whipped cream brightened with lemon extract, certainly a dessert from the heavens.

Grain-Free Angel Food Cake with Strawberries & Lemon CreamMini Angel Food Cakes {gluten-free, grain-free}

Happy Mother’s Day, a little early, to all of you, whether you are a mom to children, pets, or the other women that you build up and give confidence to. Those are all important roles, and much needed.

Thank you to California Giant Berries for sponsoring my Berry Story, and the wonderful, fresh strawberries that you can find in many different stores nationwide. I’d love to hear your berry story too. xo

Mini Grain-Free Angel Food Cakes with Lemon Whipped Cream and Juicy Strawberries
Author: 
Recipe type: gluten-free, grain-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16 mini cakes
 
This VIDEO shows exactly how your egg whites should look at the firm and glossy stage, as well as how to add in the flour mixture gently. -- To make a less processed version of super-fine sugar. Take ¾ cup organic, evaporated cane sugar, and blend in a blender until super-fine. (pictured above)
Ingredients
  • Cakes:
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) superfine sugar, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cassava flour (70 grams)
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch/flour (25 grams)
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Strawberries and Cream
  • 2 cups sliced California Giant strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (regular will work, or you can use leftover superfine)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (regular will work, or you can use leftover superfine)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest of one lemon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place flours, ½ cup superfine sugar, and salt in a sieve set over a bowl. Sift into bowl and set aside.
  2. With a mixer, beat egg whites on medium-high until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Continue to beat, gradually adding remaining ¼ cup superfine sugar; beat until firm and glossy stiff form, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla; gently beat just to combine.
  3. Remove bowl from stand mixer. Add the flour/sugar mixture In five batches, using the sieve or gently sprinkling over the egg whites, folding in gently each time. You'll use a rubber spatula to fold in the mixture by cutting down the center and coming up the sides.
  4. Gently spoon batter into a lightly greased, 12 cup muffin tin, filling each one to to the top. (You'll have leftover batter, which I put into more muffin tins and bake after the first round is done.) Cut a knife or small spatula through each muffin cup to release air bubbles. Bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees, then turn heat down to 325 degrees and bake for about 15 minutes, until cakes are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.
  5. Let muffin pan cool completely. Run a knife around the inside of each little cake to release and unmold.
  6. Stir together the strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar, let sit for at least 30 minutes. To make the whipped cream, use a handmixer or whisk to whip the cream with 1 tablespoon sugar, and lemon extract in a bowl, until soft peaks form.
  7. To assemble place each cake on a plate and top with whipped cream, and strawberries on the side and a bit on top. Sprinkle with lemon zest. (I added more strawberries to the top of mine after photographing, so the juices really sank in).
  8. Cakes are best eaten the day they are made, but will last another day in an airtight container, out of the refrigerator.

Grain-Free, Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake with Lemon Whipped Cream & StrawberriesAmazon Affiliate links in this post may result in me making a small commission from them should you decide to purchase. 

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21 thoughts on “Mini Gluten-Free Angel Food Cakes with Strawberries and Lemon Cream

  1. Faith (An Edible Mosaic)

    I love food like this! I have similar memories of my mom cooking as a kid and I love recreating her foods as an adult in my own kitchen. Your angel food cakes are gorgeous, that texture looks perfect! And those fresh, beautiful strawberries on top. <3

    Reply
  2. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    This post made me teary-eyed. Our maternal memories are primal imprinting themselves deep within us. Thank you for sharing your memories and I love how you salute all female mentors, so true. These little cakes are simply beautiful, x.

    Reply
  3. Tessa | Salted Plains

    This is glorious! I am SO excited to make these. Love that it only took tapioca flour and cassava flour. Funny, my mom would serve angel food cake with strawberries all the time through the summer months and I don’t think I’ve had any since I went off to college. xoxo.

    Reply
  4. Sara @ Cake Over Steak

    I love thisss!!! (And I love the photos too.) I seriously appreciate all of the hard work you put into this recipe. Isn’t that just the best when your vision finally comes to life?! Ah! Just beautiful. I also associate simple cake and strawberries with my mom – it’s one of the only desserts she ever made consistently while I was growing up, and it was usually for my birthday. Love!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      your story sounds so similar to mine – mom’s dessert for all occasions! i can’t see the word angel food cake without thinking of her. and yes, the beauty of testing a recipe so many times to finally get it right, that’s a good feeling. as i know you can attest with your chocolate chip cookie recipe! xo

      Reply
  5. Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek

    Whoaaaa girl this looks amazing! I love the story (and appreciate the five dozen eggs that it took ha!). I have to say that I associate “simple” desserts like this as well as flavors like lemon and strawberry with the summer months. Honestly just looking at this is making me crave the sun! xoxo

    Reply
  6. Cassie

    Beaten egg whites just baked with sugar TERRIFY me because I’ve never had them before! Angel food cakes are known to be quite light and fluffy, so I bet that they HAVE to taste good right? These mini cakes look AMAZING with the cream and strawberries on top!

    Reply
  7. Amelia @ Eating Made Easy

    I’m so impressed by these little cakes, Amanda! I would have never guessed you could make Angel Food Cake gluten-free…but of course YOU can. Yum. I’ll definitely make thse next time our very good gluten-free friends come over!!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      I think you’d love them, and your gf friends! You really can’t tell the difference, which was my end goal. Happy Mother’s Day to you as well! xo

      Reply
  8. Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures

    Love reading about your childhood food memories with your Ma. The instances where I didn’t understand having to wait for something to be ready came flooding back when I was reading that. Oh and these little cakes – oh my!

    Reply
  9. Sherrie

    Because I have a summer birthday, I requested a very similar dessert like this every year for my cake. I even had it as my wedding cake too because I have such a special place for it in my heart. I loved reading your berry story. Ones like these are what I live for. I have never attempted angel food cake. I’m really not a baker and it always seemed really overwhelming. But I have a bag of cassava flour and I think your recipe is the perfect one to put it to the test. xx!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      yes, aquafaba as the whipped cream would be so fun! if you give it a try, let me know. am fascinated by that concept after playing around with it at a culinary class in january.

      Reply
  10. Pingback: 15 Heavenly Takes On The Classic Angel Food Cake - Buzz And Gossip

  11. Robin Burgess

    I’m so excited at the prospect of having Angel food cake again! I am actually one of those weirdos who does own a real Angel food cake pan, and before I went gluten free I used it a great deal. Have you done the math to convert your recipe to a full sized recipe?

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi Robin! I still have not made it in a regular angel food cake pan. You could certainly try though, as this makes about 20ish minis, so I think it would be about right for a regular sized one.

      Reply

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