You Don't Need A Special Pan To Make Soft, Light Angel Food Cake

There's something marvelous about a soft, just-sweet-enough angel food cake that makes it a special treat. It has a notable springy texture that comes from the air that's incorporated into it during the baking process. Not only does this cake incorporate less flour and no butter to make it significantly different from traditional cakes, but there's also the need to use the right type of pan for it.

Typically, an angel food cake is baked in a special pan that has a tunnel or tube in the center, creating a ring shape instead of just being round. It looks a bit like a bundt cake pan, but with flat sides so that you can run a knife around the edge to cut the cake out. That tunnel is the secret to success with the angel food cake because it provides added structure to support the rising of this egg-white-heavy cake batter. However, there is a trick to getting around using an angel food cake pan that can support the cake rising properly and maintaining that soft texture. The hack is using a beverage can, parchment paper, and a round cake pan to create the right structure.

Use a can for your angel food cake

Mary Berry, cookbook author and respected baker, shared this simple tip for going without an angel food cake pan on "The Great British Baking Show Masterclass" season 2. You can replicate the pan's interior shape by using a taller, empty drink can, such as one that flavored alcoholic beverages come in. Tightly wrap a piece of parchment paper around the can, cutting the paper to shape (you can use double-sided tape to keep it together). Fill the can with something heavy enough to keep it in place — pie weights would work, or even water.

Choose a round cake pan with removable sides, like a spring form pan (avoiding non-stick pans). The recipe should indicate what size you need. Then, cut out a piece of parchment that's the same diameter as the cake pan, cutting out the center to allow for space for the can to sit.

Place the parchment at the bottom of the pan, then the can in the cut-out hole. Start filling it with cake batter, leaving room for the cake to rise (about a third of the pan's height will do). Finally, bake as directed. Invert the cooled cake to allow it to pop right out, giving you a true angel food cake without the stress of having the right pan.