A uniquely American sponge cake with a divine, light consistency ... it isn't hard to imagine how angel food cake got its name. It's been around since the 19th century, and it was probably the inspired invention of the Pennsylvania Dutch. But its origins are more practical than heavenly -- whipping up an angel food cake was a great way to use the egg whites left over from yolk-heavy recipes, like noodles.
The Dutch were also well known for their skill at using special pans in their cooking. When it comes to angel food cake, the pan in question is a tube pan, so the finished cake has a distinctive hole in the center.