Angel food cake. Any way you slice it, you’re in for a trip down memory lane. Although the light, airy cake isn’t just the fluffy stuff of sweet memories. It’s still in fashion—and still fashionably simple to whip up. And when you add coconut? Truly heaven sent.–David Leite

Why is my angel food cake rubbery?

It all comes down to the beating of air into the egg whites. If you beat until they’re too stiff, incorporating the dry ingredients will require extra folding and the batter will lose its lofty volume. Also, the overextended air cells are more likely to collapse in the oven which means the cake will be tough and chewy rather than melt-in-your-mouth tender. Conversely, if you don’t beat those egg whites enough, you’re not going to get enough structure and the whole thing is just going to deflate. You want to beat the eggs until they’re fluffy and sky-high but not until they get dry.

A 3-layer coconut angel food cake covered in white frosting on a white cake stand

Coconut Angel Food Cake

5 / 2 votes
This is a classic. An incredibly light and airy three-layer angel food cake is filled and frosted with a billowy egg-white frosting and dusted all over with shredded coconut. Easy as can be. Add fresh berries for a tart counterpoint.
David Leite
Servings10 servings | makes 1 layered cake
Calories258 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 11 large egg whites, (yes, 11)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Angel White Icing
  • 2 to 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut, (Catherine uses Baker’s Angel Flake) or sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C).

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cream of tartar. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry, about 11/2 minutes. Use a spatula to slowly and gently fold the sugar into the egg whites. Do not beat. Add the vanilla and mix just until combined. Then add the flour mixture to the egg whites, a little at a time, stirring gently. Scrape the batter evenly into an unbuttered standard angel food cake pan.
  • Bake the cake for about 50 minutes, until the surface springs back when you touch it with your fingertips. Gently invert the pan on a wire rack or on top of a bottle, situating the center hole of the inverted tube pan on the neck of the bottle. Let the cake cool completely.
  • Slice the cooled cake horizontally into three layers. Place one cake layer, upside down, on a serving platter and spread icing over the top and sides, being especially generous as you spread the icing over the top as this will end up as filling. Sprinkle the icing on top with some of the coconut. Place the middle cake layer upside down on top of the bottom cake layer and spread icing over the top and sides, again being generous with the top layer. Sprinkle coconut over it. Place the third cake layer right side up on top of the other two stacked layers and frost the top and sides. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the entire cake, covering it evenly. Slice and serve as soon as possible. Originally published March 30, 2012.
Sugar, Sugar

Adapted From

Sugar, Sugar

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 258 kcalCarbohydrates: 49 gProtein: 6 gFat: 5 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2 gSodium: 109 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 37 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Kimberly Reiner | Jenna Sanz-Agero. Photo © 2011 Sara Remington. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This coconut angel food cake was amazing with almond extract, but I am looking forward to making it with vanilla and without coconut. It was a huge hit with my family, and I will add it to my file of awesome recipes!

Lovingly made by my Grandma with fresh farm eggs from her hen house, angel food cakes appeared for every family birthday celebration during my childhood. I hadn’t baked an angel food cake for many years until this recipe tempted me down the path of whipping egg whites into a fluffy frenzy and creating a cake that has to cool upside down.

I followed the directions as written, remembering to fold the flour mixture very gently into the egg whites. My cake was golden brown and the surface was springy at 50 minutes of baking time. I cooled the cake upside down (without the bottle because my pan has feet to support it off the counter) for one hour. Then I released it from the pan using a thin metal spatula. If you’re having difficulty releasing your cake, run a thin bladed knife or metal spatula all the way around the edge of the cake and pull from the pan. Then gently cut the cake off the insert bottom, turn the cake upside down and pull it off the tube. The center should release. If not, gently cut around the center tube.

The angel white icing frosted cake dusted with coconut was a beautiful sight perfect for any celebration, birthday, or potluck contribution. It’s sure to get rave reviews. After we sliced off our dessert pieces, I covered the remaining cake with a very large Tupperware bowl and left it on the counter. The next day it was still perfect, however, it won’t last long before being devoured!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Spaghetti Carbonara

This spaghetti carbonara recipe tosses pasta with eggs, cheese, guanciale, pancetta or bacon, and pepper to form a creamy sauce. Quick and easy.

25 mins

Ina Garten’s Mashed Potatoes with Lemon

If Ina believes mashed potatoes need a little acidity to smooth out the richness, so be it. Here’s our new go-to approach to this oh-so-comforting side dish.

40 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. I love desserts with coconut. I recently made ​​raffaello and bounty and I’ll try to make this cake too

    1. Hi KR, think you will love this cake! The frosting is so easy and works so well with the coconut. If you want a fun variation, try lemon curd between the layers.

  2. This cake dazzles and delights me: so beautiful, and just brilliant. And my mother had that fur-wrap-thang, which I found both fascinating and macabre. Good practice for my new pastime of watching Mad Men. My own grandmother was very different (outfit, Christmas morning routine, coconut cake rendition); and she was also exactly the same, in having a way she appeared in the world, a dedication to kitchen traditions that flowed right into my heart and still lives there, and a marvellous way with coconut and cake. Cannot wait to make this, and to get a hold of this book. The title alone made me nod, “Yes!”

    1. Nancie, what else is left for us to say, other than many, many thanks for sharing a glimpse into your world and we look forward to hearing what you think of this little taste of heaven…?

  3. 5 stars
    Loved this receipe and Ma Ma. Those mink thingies probably were Stone Martens which were quite the accessory way back when in my mother’s time, who was born in 1916.