What can you add to angel food cake?

Quick Answers

There are many delicious additions you can make to classic angel food cake to enhance the flavor and create exciting new twists. Some quick answers for what you can add include:

  • Fresh fruit – berries, mango, pineapple, etc.
  • Extracts – almond, vanilla, lemon, etc.
  • Nuts – slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.
  • Chocolate – chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, cocoa powder, etc.
  • Crunchy toppings – toasted coconut, crushed candy, sprinkles, etc.
  • Drizzles/sauces – caramel, chocolate sauce, fruit purees, etc.

The light and airy texture of angel food cake makes it the perfect canvas for all kinds of creative toppings and mix-ins. The options are endless!

Fruit Additions

One of the most popular and delicious ways to enhance basic angel food cake is to add fruit. The sweet, moist flavors of fruit pair perfectly with the light and fluffy crumb of angel food. Fresh fruit adds beautiful color, flavor, and texture. Some fruit options to consider include:

  • Berries – Choice of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries. Fold whole berries or a fruit puree into the batter before baking, or gently mix in after cake is baked.
  • Stone fruits – Diced peaches, nectarines, plums, or apricots add summery flavor. Best if folded into batter raw.
  • Tropical fruits – Mango, pineapple, papaya, guava, and kiwi all add bright, tropical flair. Puree before adding to cake.
  • Citrus fruits – Fold in segments of oranges or grapefruit. Can also use juices or zest.
  • Pome fruits – Chopped apples, pears, or Asian pears add fall flavor. Toss in cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Melons – Cubes of honeydew, cantaloupe, or watermelon for a juicy, sweet addition.

When adding fruit, do so gently to avoid deflating the airy cake texture. For best results, add raw fruit to the batter, or gently fold in pre-cut fruit pieces after baking. Fruit purees should be fully mixed in for an even distribution of flavor.

Berry Angel Food Cake

One of the most popular fruit-filled angel food cakes is a mixed berry version. Here are two methods:

Mix-in Method:

  1. Bake angel food cake according to recipe.
  2. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup each of raspberries, blueberries, and sliced strawberries.
  3. Once cooled, use a serrated knife to carefully slice the angel food cake horizontally into two layers.
  4. Gently fold half of the mixed berries into the lower cake layer, leaving some visible.
  5. Top with the second cake layer and press lightly.
  6. Top with remaining berry mixture, reserving a few for garnish.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Batter Fold-in Method:

  1. In a food processor, puree 1 cup of mixed berries until smooth.
  2. Prepare angel food cake batter according to recipe.
  3. Gently fold berry puree into finished batter until just combined.
  4. Pour into cake pan and bake as directed. Cool completely.
  5. Slice and top with fresh mixed berries before serving.

Extract and Spice Additions

Adding extracts and spices is an easy way to infuse new flavors into basic angel food cakes. Consider adding any of the following to a recipe:

  • Vanilla – The most common addition, traditional vanilla enhances the cake’s flavor.
  • Almond – Lovely complement to the almond-like crumb of angel food.
  • Lemon – Brightens up the cake with refreshing flavor.
  • Orange – Use extract, oil or zest to give a citrus twist.
  • Coconut – For tropical flavor, use extract or shredded coconut.
  • Cinnamon – A classic spice perfect for fall cakes.
  • Nutmeg – Adds warmth and complexity.
  • Ginger – Great for a spice cake version.
  • Cocoa powder – For a chocolate kick.

Start with 1-2 tsp of any extract or spice blended into the dry ingredients. Taste batter and adjust flavoring as needed.

Lemon Angel Food Cake

For pronounced lemon flavor, use both lemon extract and zest:

  1. Zest 2 large lemons to get 2 tbsp zest; set aside.
  2. Make angel food cake according to recipe.
  3. Add 2 tsp lemon extract and 1 tbsp lemon zest to dry ingredients.
  4. Fold into meringue batter and bake as directed.
  5. For glaze, mix 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice.
  6. Punch holes in cooled cake with a fork and pour glaze over top. Garnish with leftover zest.

Nut Additions

Nuts add fantastic crunch, flavor, and visual appeal to angel food cakes. Best choices include:

  • Slivered almonds – Toast lightly first for most impact.
  • Chopped walnuts – Their mild flavor works well.
  • Pecans – Toast and chop pecans for great crunch.
  • Hazelnuts – Skin the nuts first for a pretty appearance.
  • Pistachios – Chop or halve nuts before folding in.
  • Macadamias – Their richness pairs perfectly with angel food.

Nuts are best folded into the batter gently after it is made. Alternatively, you can sprinkle them over the batter before baking so they toast lightly. Chop nuts finely so they don’t sink in the cake.

Pistachio Angel Food Cake

For gorgeous color and flavor, try this pistachio version:

  1. Shell and chop 1 cup pistachios; set aside a few for garnish.
  2. Make angel food cake batter as directed.
  3. Fold in 3/4 cup chopped pistachios until just combined.
  4. Pour into pan; top with remaining 1/4 cup pistachios.
  5. Bake according to recipe directions. Cool completely.
  6. For optional glaze, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 tbsp milk.
  7. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake and top with reserved pistachios.

Chocolate Additions

For chocolate lovers, there are so many ways to incorporate chocolate flavor into angel food cakes:

  • Cocoa powder – Fold a few tablespoons into the dry ingredients for chocolate flavor throughout.
  • Chocolate chips – Drop mini chips into batter before baking.
  • Chopped chocolate – Coarsely chop dark, milk, or white chocolate to fold in.
  • Chocolate curls – Top finished cakes with grated chocolate or curls.
  • Ganache – Pour cooled ganache over cake for a decadent finish.
  • Syrup – Infuse simple syrup with cocoa powder to moisten and flavor cakes.

Aim for chocolate additions of about 1/4 to 1/3 cup total. Too much can overwhelm the cake’s delicate texture.

Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake

For a fun confetti-like appearance, try this chocolate chip version:

  1. Make angel food cake batter according to recipe.
  2. Fold in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.
  3. Pour batter into tube pan and bake as directed.
  4. Cool completely before removing from pan.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar and top with more mini chips before serving.

Crunchy Topping Additions

For exciting texture contrast, top angel food cakes with any of these crunchy toppings:

  • Toasted coconut – For tropical flair and crunch.
  • Chopped nuts – Any kind, from walnuts to macadamias.
  • Crushed candy – Candy bars, peppermint, or sprinkles.
  • Toffee bits – For buttery crunch.
  • Granola – Choose an unsweetened kind or make your own.
  • Crushed cookies – Like gingersnaps, graham crackers, or shortbread.
  • Dried fruit – Finely chopped apricots, cherries, cranberries, etc.
  • Cereal – Whole puffed grains or crunchy granola-type cereal.

These add fabulous visual appeal and textural contrast against the fluffy crumb. Sprinkle over batter before baking or press gently into the top of finished, cooled cakes. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup total of any topping.

Piña Colada Angel Food Cake

For tropical flavor, top angel food cake with toasted coconut:

  1. Make angel food cake batter as directed.
  2. Toast 1/2 cup shredded coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Allow to cool.
  3. Pour batter into tube pan and bake according to recipe.
  4. Once cooled, run a knife along the edges to loosen cake. Invert onto serving plate.
  5. Sprinkle the top with toasted coconut flakes.
  6. If desired, drizzle the top lightly with store-bought pineapple juice or puree before topping with coconut.

Drizzle and Sauce Additions

For even more decadence, finish off your angel food cakes with a drizzle, glaze or sauce:

  • Caramel sauce – For indulgence, drizzle salted caramel over slices.
  • Chocolate sauce – Hot fudge is always a crowd-pleaser.
  • Fruit sauce – Try strawberry, raspberry, or other fruit purees.
  • Sweetened whipped cream – Lightly sweetened clouds contrast the cake.
  • Lemon glaze – For bright flavor, drizzle tangy lemon icing.
  • Mocha glaze – For sophistication, use bittersweet chocolate and coffee.
  • Vanilla glaze – Simple and classic finished with powdered sugar and vanilla.

Drizzles and sauces look beautiful pooling on top of cake slices. Glazes add a hint of sweetness and moisture to the delicate crumb. Simply mix up your desired glaze, sauce or whipped cream and artfully drizzle over each slice.

Raspberry Angel Food Cake

This dazzling cake is topped with raspberry sauce:

  1. Bake angel food cake according to recipe and cool completely.
  2. In a blender, puree 1 cup fresh raspberries, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp lemon juice just until smooth.
  3. Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve; discard seeds.
  4. Slice cooled cake into serving pieces. Place each slice on a plate.
  5. Drizzle desired amount of raspberry sauce over each slice.
  6. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves if desired.

Creative Angel Food Cake Combinations

Angel food cake’s versatility lends itself to all sorts of creative combinations. Consider these fun ideas:

  • Lemon-blueberry with lemon glaze
  • Apple pie spice and chopped apples
  • Almond cake with fresh peach slices
  • Caramel drizzle with sea salt
  • Chocolate chip cake with hot fudge ganache
  • Strawberry shortcake version with whipped cream
  • Carrot cake style with walnuts and cinnamon
  • Mocha chip cake with espresso glaze
  • Tropical cake with pineapple and toasted coconut
  • S’mores cake with graham crackers and chocolate

Mix and match different add-in ideas for millions of possible angel food cake creations. Let your imagination run wild!

Tips for Adding to Angel Food Cakes

To successfully add extra ingredients to angel food cake, follow these tips:

  • Prepare cake batter first, then gently fold in additional ingredients at the end.
  • Chop, puree, toast, or prepare mix-ins before adding to batter.
  • Go light on additions to avoid weighing down the delicate crumb.
  • Use extract pastes or oils for best flavor distribution.
  • Prevent deflating airy batter by folding gently using a rubber spatula.
  • Cool cake completely before adding fruit, sauce, nuts or other toppings.
  • Cut cake horizontally to add interior mix-ins between layers if desired.
  • Store angel food cakes with added ingredients refrigerated.


Angel food cake is a classic dessert just waiting to be dressed up with all kinds of delicious mix-ins and toppings. Fruits add beautiful flavor and moisture. Extracts, nuts and chocolates infuse cakes with new tastes and textures. Crunchy toppings provide irresistible contrasts in flavor and texture. Drizzles, glazes and sauces add the perfect finishing touch.

With a light, airy crumb that pairs well with almost any flavor, angel food cake is endlessly adaptable. Let your creativity run wild, and don’t be afraid to experiment with unique ingredient combinations. Just be sure to fold in additions gently to maintain the cake’s signature soft, cloud-like texture. Any of these additions can transform basic angel food into an impressive and innovative dessert.

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