Mom It Down: Chocolate Angel Food Cake: FAIL.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Mom It Down and it shows. This weekend, I noticed a carton of organic egg whites I’d been sitting on (ha!) were set expire soon, so I decided to revisit the angel food cake. Let me tell you: this baking adventure consisted of a series of mistakes which led to one grand finale of a mess. But I thought I should share it because not everything works out. Sometimes things go so badly, they go from oven to trash, but not before collecting photographic evidence.

I’ve made an almond angel food cake a bunch of times. Not once have I screwed it up. And it tastes even better than it looks. Pretty, no?

Plus, it’s easy. So this time I figured I’d try a chocolate version. How hard could it be? Cocky, I entered the kitchen as if I hadn’t missed weeks worth of baking. Oops!

I’m going to give the recipe as-is. Granted, I don’t know that this works out just yet. But I’m willing to bet that if you do things correctly, it will be awesome. So, if you’re feeling up for it and you happen to be sitting on (ha!) a bunch of egg whites, please, by all means, give this a go and let me know if it’s any good.

What you will need

  • 10-inch tube pan
  • Mixer
  • Working brain


  • 12 eggs (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Where I went wrong

Usually this section is the “Mom It Down” section where I explain just how easy this particular recipe is to do. Not this time! This time I’ll explain everything I did wrong and then post a picture of the final result.

Preheat oven to 350.

Add your eggs to your mixer. It’s best to let these sit at room temperature for a while. While that’s happening you’re supposed to sift together the cake flour, cocoa, and the powdered sugar and set it aside in a bowl. I did not. I added the flour, sugar, powdered sugar, CREAM OF TARTAR, and the chocolate powder to the bowl. OOPS!

(Incidentally, my first thought here was: Search “Cream of Tartar”; Delete all.)

I was mostly worried about the cream of tartar as it’s needed to harden the egg mixture. So, I figured why not just add another 1 1/2 teaspoons to the egg mixture. I mean, I already knew this was going to be a mess, might as well see what kind of mess I was going to be dealing with.

So, I added cream of tartar, vanilla and salt to the egg mixture. I started beating them on high speed. Looks good, right?

Sure! But I had already added the sugar to the dry mixture. I knew that this was going to be far too heavy for my lovely stiff eggs to handle, but I went ahead and added it anyway. I beat. Oh boy did I beat it. But it never fluffed up again.

Now, I wish I had a picture of the mixture AFTER I added all the flour and sugar and whatnot. I do not. I was too pissed off at myself to do it at the time to take pictures. It wasn’t until later did I realize that I might as well post something about how things sometimes just go horribly wrong.

I did get a great shot of the final product. Lovely, no?

So, now that you’re all confused by my mess, let me try and breakdown what’s supposed to happen.


In one bowl:

  • Cake flour
  • Powdered sugar
  • cocoa

Set aside.

In the mixer:

  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Cream of tartar
  • Salt

Beat that for a bit.

  • Add (regular) sugar.

Beat until super stiff. Add dry mixture slowly.

Slowly spoon that into an ungreased 10-inch tube. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes.

You should have yourself a lovely chocolate angel food cake.

Unlike me. :]


  1. Life is SOOOOO hard!


  2. It looks like you did make a mistake, but I don’t think it was what you thought…

    You’re supposed to sift/shake the dry ingredients onto the mixture, in 3-4 passes, and gently fold/stir them in – not beat them in. You should be doing that step by hand with a rubber spatula.

    Truth be told though, I’ve underbeaten eggs before and ended up with a cake like you did — and i actually liked it and ate it all up.


    1. I know about the sifting, Jonathan, but by that point I had already screwed so much up it didn’t matter. You’re supposed to add the (regular) sugar to the egg mixture before it forms a hard peak. I did not. Also: I know that once you get to the dry ingredients you fold, that’s how I do the other cake (the almond one). Perhaps I wrote this poorly and need to rewrite.

      I am still willing to be money on the fact that my dry mixture, which included the granular sugar and was therefore heavy) just totally overcame the eggs and deflated them.

      Maybe, had i added it in by folding it would have saved the day. But I’m not about to find out! Too expensive a mistake to make again. ;]


  3. Perhaps the egg whites were also just too old? I’ve had issues before with old eggs and lack of fluffiness in my baked goods before. Sorry the cake didn’t work out! When I started to read the title, I was so excited. And then I got to FAIL. Boo. Hope your next baking session goes better.


    1. Roo: Check out the older version of this. OMG so good.

      I love that you’re so kindly trying to come up with another reason other than me as to why the cake failed. Awwwww Hugs to you, lady.


  4. m-

    i’m pretty sure that you can get past the peak/beating issue if you fold, instead of beating.

    the problem with a lot of these recipes, is that they’re designed for significantly older hardware.

    i would not be surprised if you redid this recipe and all of your exact steps on my 1964 hand/stand convertible mixer — and it came out perfect.


  5. No problem, mihow. It just reflects my overall philosophy in the kitchen: It’s never the chef’s fault. Always blame ingredients and hardware. So far, that’s worked out well for me. I did take a gander at that delicious looking Almond Angel Food Cake and nearly died of happiness. Mr. Roo caught sight of the pic and began to drool. Guess I’ll be making that pretty soon!


  6. After having a horrible sleepless night (both front teeth on the top came in, poor baby) this made me Laugh Out Loud. I make cookies yesterday and forgot a whole cup of flour in them.
    Seriously this post made my day.


  7. This is soooo not a cake I will be making soon (intolerant of eggs!), however I had one question…how much granulated sugar? I can’t see it in the recipe?

    The almond one looks oh so tasty, although I know if I tried it I would be writhing on the floor. :(


    1. Oh my goodness!!! I didn’t notice I left it out! 1 Cup. I have added it to the post as well.

      My brain is getting old.


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