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I know from Can an Angel Food Cake recipe be converted to cupcakes that it is possible to make Angel Food Cake in a form other than a tube pan.

However, I'm wondering if there is a reason that Angel Food Cake is usually made in a tube pan. Is there an advantage to that shape? Other cakes are not usually made in a tube pan, so I'm wondering why that's the traditional shape for Angel Food Cake. Is there something about the nature of Angel Food Cake that requires the extra internal heat?

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I don't know the answer for sure but this is my thought. Angle food cake is very delicate. The tube pan allows the heat to be distributed more evenly into the whole cake. If the angel food cake was baked in a regular cake pan, the center of the cake would probably not be completely baked. Or if you waited until the center was completely baked then the outside would probably be overbaked. A cupcake of course is viable for angel food cake because of its shape and size. The cupcakes will be completely finish both on the outside and inside at the same time. – Jay Dec 29 '11 at 15:37
@Jay, can you post that as an answer? I was about to post the same thing. – uncle brad Dec 29 '11 at 16:58
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Structure is the main reason a tube pan is used for angel food cake. Angel food cake rises a lot, but does not have much of any gluten network or other means of supporting this structure. The egg whites can hold the air bubbles initially, but will lose them eventually. (Hence you should not delay baking after the batter is mixed, and you should treat the batter gently, spooning into the pan and taking care to not slam the pan around.) The tube pan helps because as the batter rises, it can "climb" the pan, sticking to the edges. This is also why angel food cake is left to cool upside-down in the pan for an unusually long time; it should not be removed from the pan until it is completely set. If it weren't for the tube, the center of the cake would not have anything strong to hold it up, so it would collapse. This is not an issue for cupcakes because they are so small.

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