Nanna Merna’s Angel Food Cake

Light, airy angel food cake made with whipped egg whites makes for a great canvas for your favorite toppings and the perfect summer dessert

One of my favorite things to learn about people is what they call their grandparents. We, as families, can get so creative when it comes to what we dub our elders. I grew up with Granny, Pappy, Grandma, and Bubbah. I can’t say for sure how the other nicknames came to fruition, but ‘Bubbah’ was about the only word my brother could say for awhile and being that he was the first grandchild he had the honor of bestowing that title on my mom’s dad.

Last summer, I watched my parents run through potential grandparent names for themselves while we waited in anticipation for the arrival of my niece. Too bad for them I adopted a dog a couple years earlier and had taken to referring to them as ‘Gramma’ and ‘Paw Paw’ and I’m pretty sure those are gonna stick for all the grandchildren.


My dad always referred to his mom’s (Granny’s) parents as Nanna Merna and Pappap Joe. If the love of cooking is a gene, I most certainly inherited it from Nanna Merna. According to my dad, she had a knack for cooking the best homestyle meals and baking pies that were out of this world.


Rifling through my Granny’s recipe box recently I found a recipe for Nanna Merna’s Angel Food Cake. The card was written in my grandmother’s handwriting and affectionately labeled “Mom’s.” Last weekend I was able to test it out and – oh my – this cake is good. Whipped egg whites give this cake a perfect airy texture that is absolutely perfect for summer.


Angel food cake has a minimal ingredient list making it a great canvas for any of your favorite toppings. This puppy got topped with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries but you could use a combination of any of your favorite berries.


Even though both my Nanna Merna and Granny have passed, cooking from their vintage recipes creates a connection to them unlike any other. Sharing a passion they had while being able to pass that joy onto others is truly a gift. If you’ve shared awesome cooking experiences with your relatives, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Nanna Merna’s Angel Food Cake

  • 1 1/4 Cups Sifted Cake
  • 1 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups Egg Whites (11-12 Eggs)
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp Almond Extract

Preheat the oven to 325.

Sift dry ingredients five times in a large bowl and set aside.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tarter and continue until stiff but not dry (should be glossy and cling to the bottom and sides of the bowl). Blend in the flavoring.

Fold the egg whites into the dry mixture, being careful not to over mix. Pour the mixture into an un-greased 10-inch tube pan and bake for at least an hour and up to an hour and 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes in the pan. Invert the pan over a wire rack and remove the cake from the pan. Allow to cool before serving.