Lemon angel food cake with strawberry-balsamic compote

Total Time
2 hr 20 min
30 min
20 min
Mile-high slices of fluffy angel food cake paired with this sweet-tangy topping is the fancy dessert you may not have known you needed. The beaten egg whites are the basis for this cake, giving it its signature texture and height. To achieve this, you need to start with a clean bowl and beaters and egg whites that are free of any yolks—any residual fat or residue will inhibit height. The cream of tartar helps stabilize the whites and add volume. Additionally, you want the tube pan to be ungreased so that the batter can stick to the sides, getting some extra help to rise.



1 cup(s)

Lemon zest

2 tsp, finely grated

Egg whites

12 large, at room temperature

Table salt

¼ tsp

Fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp

Vanilla extract

1 tsp

Cream of tartar

¾ tsp

Cake flour

1 cup(s)


1½ pound(s), hulled and quartered


1 Tbsp

Store-bought balsamic glaze

1 Tbsp


  1. To make cake, preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir together 1 cup sugar and lemon zest in small bowl. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites and salt in large bowl until foamy. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Add sugar mixture, a few tablespoons at a time, to egg -white mixture, beating until stiff peaks form. (If lemon zest sticks to beaters, scrape it down to incorporate.)
  3. Fold in flour with rubber spatula ¼ cup at a time. (Be careful not to overmix.)
  4. Pour batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Bake until cake springs back when lightly pressed, 20–25 minutes. Invert pan onto its legs or neck of bottle and let cool completely.
  5. Run thin knife around edge of cake to loosen it from side and center tube of pan. Remove cake from pan and put on serving plate.
  6. To make compote, combine ½ pound of strawberries and 1 tablespoon sugar in large bowl; coarsely crush strawberries with large spoon or potato masher. Stir in remaining strawberries and balsamic glaze.
  7. Cut cake into 16 slices and place on plates. Spoon compote evenly over each slice.
  8. Per serving: 1/16 of cake and 1/4 cup compote