Chocolate Angel Food Dream Cake

updated Feb 11, 2021
Chocolate Angel Food Dream Cake

This vintage chocolate cake is light, airy, and filled and frosted with whipped cream.


Prep30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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someone is sprinkling cocoa powder on the cake on a cake stand
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

I’ve always loved angel food cake. I love its impressive height, its tender, delicate crumb, and its endlessly adaptable nature. But despite having so much going for it, I had never actually made one from scratch until I began research for my cookbook The Vintage Baker.

As I scoured old-fashioned recipe booklets for sweet and savory treats, I continued to stumble across angel food cakes. But they weren’t just any old angel food cakes — they were angel food dream cakes, a “vintage” preparation that calls for slicing the cake in half horizontally and filling and frosting it with whipped cream. After playing around with them in the kitchen (ultimately, I went with a blueberry flavor for my cookbook), I’ve never looked back: If you want to make angel food cake, this dreamy vintage version is the only way to go.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

The Lightest, Fluffiest Chocolate Cake

Most recently, I’ve been obsessed with this chocolate iteration — perfect for Valentine’s Day or for the chocolate-lover in your house. The light and fluffy cake is flavored with cocoa powder (and optional espresso powder), and gets filled and frosted with a deeply chocolate-y whipped cream — neither of which are overly sweet. The textural contrast of the cake and cream is quite literally that of which dreams are made of. And although it looks like a showstopper, it’s actually a breeze to prepare and assemble.

Chocolate Angel Food Dream Cake

This vintage chocolate cake is light, airy, and filled and frosted with whipped cream.

Prep time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Serves 16

Nutritional Info


For the cake:

  • 12

    large egg whites (about 1 2/3 cups), at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup

    cake flour

  • 1/4 cup

    Dutch process cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s Special Dark

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    espresso powder (optional)

  • 1 2/3 cups

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    cream of tartar

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

  • 4 cups

    (1 quart) cold heavy cream

  • 2/3 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    Dutch process cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s Special Dark, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt


Make the cake:

  1. Place 12 large egg whites (about 1 2/3 cups) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and let sit until room temperature. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, remove any racks above it, and heat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Sift 3/4 cup cake flour, 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, and 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder if desired into a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and whisk to combine.

  3. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.

  4. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time until incorporated. Continue beating until stiff, moist, glossy peaks form that flop just a bit at the top when the whisk is turned upside down, 5 to 10 minutes total.

  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift a third of the flour mixture over the whites and gently fold in with a flexible spatula. Repeat with sifting and folding in the flour mixture in two more additions. If your sifter is super fine, the sugar may not pass through it — just add any unsifted sugar into the bowl.

  6. Transfer the batter to an ungreased 10 to 12 cup tube pan, preferably with legs. Run a small offset spatula or butter knife through the batter to break up any air bubbles and smooth the top. Bake until the top of the cake is dry and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with a moist crumb or two, 30 to 35 minutes.

  7. If the pan has legs, place upside down on a heatproof surface. If the pan does not have legs, flip the pan over and position the tube onto the neck of a wine bottle. Let the cake cool completely upside down, about 1 1/2 hours. Run a thin knife around the sides of the pan and the tube to release the cake. Invert the cake onto a serving plate and remove the pan.

Make the whipped cream:

  1. Place 4 cups cold heavy cream in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium to medium-high speed until the cream begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Add 2/3 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and continue beating until medium peaks form, about 2 1/2 minutes.

  2. Using a large serrated knife and a sawing motion, gently slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. Remove the top half. Spread about 1/4 of the whipped cream onto the cut side of the bottom half. Place the top layer on the whipped cream cut-side down. Decoratively spread the remaining whipped cream over the sides and top of the cake. Dust with cocoa powder and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  3. Using a serrated knife, slice the cake. Serve slices with an additional dusting of cocoa powder and a few mixed berries.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: Bake the cake up to 1 day ahead. Cool, remove from the pan, wrap in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature.

Storage: The cake is best the day it is made, but leftovers will keep refrigerated, lightly covered in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.