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This cake bakes in a tube pan, what some cooks call an angel food pan. For best results, use a pan made of lightweight and light-colored aluminum. Heavier Bundt-style pans make the crust on the cake too thick and dark, and can alter baking times. The secret to success with many old-fashioned cake recipes is to stick with old-fashioned bakeware that still works perfectly for that recipe. Fancier or more modern pans might look like a better option, but they aren’t. Another reason to use an angel food pan is that the cake cools upside down so that it won’t sink in the center until its airy structure sets as it cools. Many angel food pans come with little metal feet around the edges for this very purpose.

Sheri Castle


Credit: Alison Miksch; Food Styling: Erin Merhar; Prop Styling: Prissy Lee

Recipe Summary

15 mins
30 mins
1 hr
1 hr 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, allowing 1 to 2 inches excess to hang over sides.

  • Working in batches, process pecans in a food processor until finely ground like coarse sand, 15 to 20 seconds. (Do not over process to a paste.) Set pecans aside.

  • Beat egg whites and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. With mixer running on medium speed, add powdered sugar, gradually increasing speed to high, and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.

  • Beat egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until thick, fluffy, and pale yellow, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold one-third of the beaten whites into yolks until just combined; fold in remaining beaten whites until just combined. Fold in ground pecans until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. 

  • Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer cake to a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Run a knife around outer edge of pan to loosen from sides of pan; remove sides of pan. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap up to 2 days or in the refrigerator up to 4 days.