Here’s How The Devil’s Food Cake And The Angel’s Food Cake Got Their Names

Is it really a matter of ingredients or is it because of its color?
devil's food cake sliced open
Photo by Patrick Martires

Updated on July 20, 2023 by Camille Georgia Uy.

Have you ever heard of devil’s food cake or an angel’s food cake? If you’ve ever wondered why these two cakes have been named and thought that the color of the cakes—one is a deep, rich chocolate cake that’s almost black and the other an incredibly pale yellow cake that it’s almost white—is what differentiates these two, read on!

Differences Between Devil’s Food Cake Vs. The Angel’s Food Cake 

The Devil’s Food Cake

devil's food cake
The Devil’s Food Cake is a deep, dark-colored cake with an intense chocolate flavor and an incredibly moist texture. | Photo by Insel Culla/ Carlo Aragones

According to Baking Illustrated, the Devil’s Food Cake was the result of a time when fancy names for cakes was the norm: the late 1900s. Allegedly, it was the only cake name to survive that era and make it to our modern times.


This type of cake was called as such because of the deep rich color of the cake. But according to Baking Illustrated, there’s more: a devil’s food cake has to be a moist cake with an almost silky and velvety texture that has a powerful chocolate flavor. Because the best devil’s food cake is made with both cocoa powder and melted chocolate, the amount of chocolate is the predominant flavor.

The Angel’s Food Cake

angel's food cake on a plate
The Angel’s Food Cake is a light and airy cake that is the result of beaten egg whites. | Photo by Pixabay

On the other side of the spectrum is the Angel’s Food Cake. It is characterized by its almost pale yellow to white color, but the most significant difference to other cakes of its time is the lack of butter, oil, and yolks—all fats—in its ingredients list and that was revolutionary. It’s also considered a white sponge cake


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For Angel’s Food, it’s the texture that might have defined its name. Because egg whites beaten until a pillowy stiff cloud is the main leavener of this cake (no chemical baking powder or baking soda is used to give this cake its rise) and the amount of flour is comparatively little to that of the eggs, the texture that is produced is so light and airy, it might have been “angel’s food”. It also had a golden and lightly browned crust all over. (The golden halo perhaps?)

These two cakes are polar opposites of each other but both are delicious in their own way. If you’re curious to find out how these two cakes taste, it’s best to bake them and give both a try!


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