Angel food cake, also known as angel cake, is a very light, fluffy [sponge cake](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/sponge-cake-recipe) with a golden crust and a cloud-white interior. It does not contain butter, oil, or milk, and instead of baking soda or powder, angel food cake uses [meringue](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/a-guide-to-making-meringues-recipes-for-swiss-french-and-italian-meringues#7-tips-for-making-perfect-meringue) as its leavening agent. The egg whites are beaten to soft peaks so that they continue to rise in the pan—typically, a tube pan, but a bundt pan or loaf pan works as well. Angel food cake is a relatively recent invention, likely developed at some point during the nineteenth century around St. Louis, Missouri. In just a few decades, it became an American classic.\n\nSponge cake is a light, springy cake made from flour, whisked eggs, and sugar. The defining feature of a sponge cake is the whisked eggs—the foamy structure of the eggs allows the cake to rise without baking powder or baking soda. The airy texture of sponge cake absorbs liquid, which is why it serves as the base for desserts like tres leches cake and trifle.\n\nIn the French tradition, sponge cake made by whisking whole eggs is called génoise, while sponge cake made by whisking the egg whites and egg yolks separately is known as biscuit. Some sponge cake includes the addition of cold butter, but many recipes are butter- and oil-free.\n\nLearn how to make a heavenly homemade angel food cake.