Laura Coombs, Hope you have a beautiful cake

“Hope you have a beautiful cake” cake (or, Heavenly Angel Cake).

I was basically named for my great grandmother, Luella, although as the day I was born grew nearer, my parents began to feel reluctant to name me an outdated name like Luella and so at the last minute they named me Laura—still classic but more contemporary. This is my great grandmother Luella’s recipe for angel food cake; I remember making it and eating it many times growing up, and even still we make it at Christmas, but my favorite time to make it is in the summer strawberry season when fresh berries are abundant.

Luella was the caretaker of the home and cooked daily. She also worked from home as the directory assistance for the Glandorf Telephone Company—people would call and ask her for other phone numbers. Next to the phone on her desk was a typewriter that she used to type out her recipes like this angel food cake recipe.

Luella’s husband, my great grandfather, had a chicken-n-egg business. Recipes like this cake that called for copious amounts of egg whites were convenient. The egg yolks associated with these whites would have been used for making noodles or pie filling. Recipes calling for eggs were in high rotation—she used all the cracked or unsellable eggs my great grandfather brought home.

My favorite part of this recipe—sent to you as both her type-written and hand-written version—is her ending statement, “Hope you have a beautiful cake.” I have since re-named this recipe “Hope you have a beautiful cake” cake.

My personal serving suggestion—in summer, serve with freshly whipped heavy cream and freshly picked strawberries.


Beat egg whites with water, salt, and vanilla until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until mixture stands in stiff peaks. Add 1 cup sugar (which has been sifted once) 1/4 at a time. Beat 25 strokes after each addition. Fold in flour sifted with one cup of sugar, 1/4 at a time. Fold 15 strokes after each addition. Fold an additional 15 after last addition. Pour batter into ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 350 (moderate) oven for about 40 minutes. Invert pan; cool.