Strawberry Filled Angel Food Cake is undeniably the perfect summer dessert. An airy, delicately sweet angel food loaf cake is filled to the brim with a fresh strawberry filling and is frosted with irresistible whipped cream! This small-batch cake is made without gelatin, too, so it’s vegetarian-friendly!
May I present to you the most perfect summertime cake? It’s light and airy and just the right amount of sweet, AND it’s bursting with fresh strawberries. Paired with a whipped cream frosting? There is honestly nothing better.
It’s uber impressive to take to a party with friends or to a potluck BBQ. There is also zero judgment if you decide to enjoy it with you, yourself, and no one else. There are no rules about sharing here, and once you try a slice of this heavenly cake, you’ll see what I mean.
This strawberry-filled cake was (is?) 10-year-old-Becca’s kryptonite. I would do anything for it, and for the (maybe) day it lasted, I would go to bed with a very, very full tummy that some might call a stomach ache because I could not stop.
I couldn’t stop eating it once I dove in, because this cake for me only came around once or so a summer. Those summers I spent with my grandparents, each set only a few blocks apart, spent jumping in pools, laughing with my cousins, and eating – literally all – of the Angel Food Cake that my grandma added extra strawberries to, just for me.
At least that’s what I like to think. She may have just been following her recipe, but I am pretty sure she helped me live out my strawberry dreams. Back then, this angel food cake was made in a full-sized bundt pan. As you can see, my updated recipe has transitioned into a small-batch recipe and is in a loaf cake pan instead of a bundt pan (mostly because I lack self-control around this cake).
What You’ll Need to Make a Stuffed Angel Food Cake
It might be a small batch recipe, but it’s not small batch for anything else. It marks each and every must-have angel food cake criteria. This homemade cake is light, airy, sweet, and soft. And you cannot beat it when it’s filled with sweet, juicy, fresh strawberries. Even better? The filling is made without gelatin or Jell-O, making it vegetarian-friendly, too!
In all this gloriousness, there are a few simple ingredients to make this magical cake. Here’s what you’ll need. As always, be sure to see the recipe card below for the full recipe.
- The Dry Ingredients: all-purpose flour, corn starch, and sugar are our basics. The corn starch and flour create a cake-flour like texture for the angel food cake.
- Egg Whites: the ingredient that makes angel food cake what it is, egg whites provide the light and airy texture in the cake. They’re folded in after they’ve been beaten with cream of tartar to stifin.
- Vanilla and Almond Extract: the two create a just divine flavor in the angel food cake.
- Strawberries: grab the freshest, most ripe, juicy berries you can find!
- Agar-Agar: a plant-based alternative to gelatin, it’s made from algae, and while it’s not a perfect substitute for gelatin or Jell-o (it doesn’t get quite as jiggly), it as very similar properties. Agar comes in flake or powder form, and for this recipe I recommend using agar flakes, as that’s what this recipe has been tested with. If you use agar powder, I recommend reading the package directions for converting from flakes, as it is more concentrated in powder form. See FAQ below for where to find it!
- Heavy Cream: to whip into the whipped cream frosting.
Tips for Making Small Batch Angel Food Cake
Making homemade angel food cake does require a few more steps and care than a traditional homemade cake (and ok, a few more than using a boxed mix) but it’s 100% worth it.
PREPARING THE PAN
If your loaf pan is non-stick, you will need to line it with foil to help the cake rise while baking. Otherwise, the non-stick coating is too slippery for the batter to rise, resulting in a dense cake. The foil helps the cake “crawl” up the pan.
BEATING THE EGG WHITES
I will warn you now, it’s tempting to keep beating egg whites to make sure they are formed into stiff peaks. But resist! You don’t want to overbeat the egg whites or the cake will end up flat. Beat the egg whites just until stiff peaks form.
FOLDING THE BATTER
Fold the flour mixture into the stiffly beaten egg whites until no lumps remain. Do so carefully, continuing to fold the entire time. The process could take up to 5 minutes, so be patient!
COOLING THE CAKE
Here’s a trick for keeping your angel food cake tall and light: cool it upside down in the pan. I recommend placing the cake pan upside down with two cans on each side holding it up, for at least an hour before removing it from the pan.
How to Fill an Angel Food Cake
As the cake is cooling, prepare the filling by boiling juice from the macerated strawberries with the agar-agar. Once it’s boiled together, combine the strawberries and sauce and allow to cool to thicken slightly.
Now that each part is made, it’s time for the fun part: filling the cake
Once the filling is set and the cake is completely cooled, use a serrated knife to gently cut approximately 1/4 of the cake off of the top (photo 1). This will likely be about an inch and a half or two inches off of the top, but will depend on your exact cake.
Carefully remove the top and set it aside. You’ll be using it later, so keep it safe! With the base of the cake, you’re going to cut a rectangle out of the center.
Go approximately an inch and a half inside from the edge of the cake and use the serrated knife to cut a rectangle that is approximately 1 inch down into the cake (photo 2). Don’t go all the way through, as you want cake surrounding the entire filling.
Once you have the perimeter of the rectangle sliced into the base of the cake, use your (clean!) hands to remove the inside of the cake, again, being careful to not go too deep into the cake (photo 2),
Once the center of the cake has been removed, it’s time to fill the cake! Pour the strawberry filling into the rectangle (photo 3). Spread whipped cream along the exposed cake edge of the rectangle, then place the cake top back onto the cake, adhering it with the whipped cream (photo 4). Continue to frost the cake with the whipped cream and garnish with all the strawberries you’d like! I recommend letting the cake set in the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
This cake should be stored in the fridge. If you’ve already cut into it and are saving the rest, place a piece of foil or plastic wrap against the cut edge.
Yes, I would recommend making it no more than one day in advance. It really is best when served the day you make it. If making the cake ahead of time, wait to garnish with strawberries until right before serving so their juices don’t leak out onto the frosting.
I have seen agar popping up in bigger grocery stores. I usually buy it at Whole Foods, but if you can’t find it there you can check out a local Asian supermarket or purchase it online. I use this agar-agar and you can find it on Amazon.
More Strawberry Dessert Recipes
Angel Food Cake with Strawberry Filling
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 cups quartered strawberries, ~9 large strawberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water, approximate, depending on strawberry juice
- 1 Tablespoon agar agar flakes
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1-2 tsp powdered sugar
Angel Food Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8.5×4.5 inch loaf pan with foil (if it's a non-stick pan). This ensures the cake will rise in the pan as the foil helps it"crawl" up.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornstarch, and half of the sugar. It's ok to eyeball half of the sugar; otherwise, measure out 6 tablespoons (which is half of 3/4 cup).
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand-held mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, both the vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on high for approximately 2 more minutes until stiff peaks form. Be careful to not over-mix here, just beat until stiff peaks form.
- Add the flour mixture into the egg whites in batches, folding it in completely until no lumps remain. This may take up to 5 minutes to fully combine the two. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake the cake for 32-36 minutes until the top is golden brown and is not sticky to the touch. You can also use a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean.
- Once the cake is baked through, place it, still in the pan, upside down with the edge of the loaf pan resting on top of two cans. Let the cake cool completely for approximately 1 hour.
- As the cake cools, combine the strawberries and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Let the berries sit for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid off of the strawberries. You should have approximately 1/4 cup juice. Add water until you have 1/2 cup liquid total. It's ok if you have more strawberry juice, just add less water to make 1/2 cup.
- Add the strawberry juice mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the agar-agar flakes and whisk until dissolved. Continue to boil for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries, slightly mashing them as desired. Set the mixture aside to cool and thicken for 20-30 minutes.
- In a chilled mixing bowl, use a standing mixer with a whisk attachment or an electric hand mixer, add heavy cream and powdered sugar. Beat until soft peaks form, approximately 3-5 minutes. Store in fridge if not using immediately.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, remove it from the loaf pan. Use a serrated knife to cut off 1/4 of the cake top, approximately 1-2 inches. Set the top aside.
- In the base of the cake, use the serrated knife to cut a rectangle in the center, leaving approximately an inch and a half of an edge around the cake. Cut the knife about an inch deep or so, because you will pull out the rest of the center.
- Use your hands to scoop out the center of the rectangle, creating space for the filling. Don't go all the way to the bottom of the cake, but leave approximately 1 inch at the bottom.
- Pour the strawberry mixture into the rectangle center. Spread whipped cream along the exposed edges of the cake, then add the top back on, using the whipped cream to adhere it. Then, frost the exterior of the cake with the remaining whipped cream. Let the cake set in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, then garnish as desired right before serving. Use a serrated knife to cut for the best results.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
I love your story about this cake and your grandmother making it! It’s really beautiful in loaf form – homey and elegant at the same time.
Thanks so much, Karen! It’s very nostalgic for me, and for the sake of growing older I’m glad I’m not tempted by an entire bundt pan of it anymore! 😉
Would love to make this cake however I’m confused, the Strawberry Filling recipe calls for 1/ cup water (approximate) however the instructions say to be sure to have 1/2 cup of either water or juice or a combination thereof. Which amount of liquid is correct?
Hi Arva! You want 1/2 cup liquid total. The strawberries will release their juices, which will contribute to the 1/2 cup. For example, the strawberries will release approximately 1/4 cup juice, then add 1/4 cup water to total 1/2 cup liquid. What I like to do is add the juice to a measuring cup, then add water until it totals 1/2 cup. I hope that makes sense. Please let me know if you need any more clarification.
So sorry for the typo 1/ cup should read 1/4 cup.
Would love to make the cake but haven’t yet due to being allergic to corn and corn products. Is there a substitutional equivalent for the recipe that can be used instead of cornstarch? Thanks so much for your time in delivering these blogs each week.
Hi Lois! I’ve heard potato starch is a good substitute, but I haven’t used it myself so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out in this recipe. If you give it a try let me know how it goes!