Quick and Healthy Angel Food Cake Dessert with Vanilla-Honey Oranges

~ So light and refreshing, but sweet and decadent, too! This 5-ingredient, easy Angel Food Cake Dessert recipe features warm, toasty cake under a cascade of winter fruit thats perfectly accented by a little honey and a splash of vanilla. Shortcuts and make-ahead steps make it super-fast for entertaining, or even for a special weeknight treat! ~

This Recipe Is: Ready in 30 Minutes or Less Includes Make-Ahead Steps Vegetarian

overhead of dessert on plate with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a gold fork, a second plated dessert and the bowl of remaining orange-pomegranate topping in the background

Ive been waiting and waiting and waiting to share this recipe with you! So anxiously waiting for pomegranates to finally make their seasonal appearance in the produce aisle. I stalked the produce section for weeks upon weeks.

I honestly didnt remember that it took pomegranates sooooo long to show up each fall. Sure, Ive got other great recipes for angel food cake, like my Easy Tropical Angel Food Cake.But those pomegranates! Where were they this year?!? Coupled with sweet citrus, theyre just such a perfect flavor as we head into winters holiday season!

Then, finally at long, long last one day, there they were! I was ridiculously happy (happier than a person should probably be over a piece of fruit). And so was my family we all adore this dessert.

Its one of those recipes that somehow manages to delight you all over again, every time surprisingly even better than you remembered it would be.

Why We Love This Angel Food Cake Dessert

This pretty concoction hits all the right notes, with a range of textures and flavors thats as refreshing as it is satisfying. Its got:

  • Warm, toasty angel food cake
  • Topped with a gorgeous cascade of sweet, juicy oranges and wonderful little pops of pomegranate
  • All just lightly kissed with sweet honey and a hint of vanilla!
  • And, for an extra cool-and-creamy flourish, you can offer a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt alongside, too. (Hint: we usually do!)

Thats a seriously big payoff from just a few minutes of effort and only 5 ingredients! (Or, well 6 if you go for the Greek yogurt )

closeup of one bite of the angel food cake dessert on a fork, with a plate of dessert in the background

A Lighter Dessert Option (That Still Feels Special and Indulgent!)

Even better? Theres an extra bonus here, especially in the winter when most people battle with their skinny jeans.

Angel food cake is naturally fat free and lower in calories than lots of other cakes and dessert options. Plus, theres all that beautiful fruit cascading over top. Its definitely got healthy perks going for it!

Ok, ok lets not kid ourselves here. I mean, it is still dessert. But its certainly a lighter, more skinny-jeans-friendly option than so many other desserts served up this time of year.

Its a perfect, swoon-worthy option for holiday celebrations, when you know everybody is secretly kinda craving a little relief from the never-ending onslaught of rich, heavy party foods.

plate of dessert without the optional Greek yogurt, with a second plate to the side, on top of red-patterned napkins

And its a special, not-too-guilty treat as we head into January and February, when everyones yearning for lighter recipes to kick off healthy New Years resolutions.

And trust me, youll want to take every opportunity to make this while citrus is at its very best and while you can still find those elusive pomegranates piled in every produce section. Its a long wait until the poms show up again next season!

So quick before those pomegranates disappear lets make this! Heres a visual walk-through to get you started:

How to Make This Deliciously Light Dessert

The beauty of this recipe is that it really only needs 5 ingredients (many of which you can buy pre-prepped more on that later).

wooden cutting board with a whole angel food cake, and oranges and pomegranates that are beginning to be cut and pulled apart

And you can make the pretty orange-pomegranate mixture in advance. So theres just not much work to do at the last minute. (A wonderful thing for busy hostesses, especially at the holidays!)

Step 1 Start by making the orange-pomegranate topping. This is basically like an uncooked compote. Refreshing and light so, so good!

All you have to do is combine your sweet, juicy orange sections with the leftover orange juice, some pomegranate arils, honey and vanilla. Really easy! (Psssst weve got tips down below if you need help with cutting restaurant-worthy, perfect orange sections.)

Set your topping aside until youre ready to serve the dessert, or refrigerate it for up to a day or two.

bowl of oranges slices and pomegranate arils, with red napkins and an old-fashioned serving spoon tucked alongside

Step 2 Cut 4 slices of angel food cake. Each slice should be about 1 1 1/2 inches thick, which means youll use about 1/3 of an angel food cake to make this recipe as written (with 4 slices of cake).

Its easy to scale this recipe to make more servings, of course. I wrote the recipe to serve up dessert for a family of four.

But, if you cut each slice uniformly about 1 1 1/2 inches thick, you should be able to get exactly 12 slices from one entire angel food cake. Then, simply triple the sauce, as well and youre ready for a dinner party!

angel food cake on wooden cutting board, with one slice being cut with larger, serrated kinfe

Whats really important here is the technique you using for cutting the cake. Delicate, light-as-a-cloud angel food cake is easy to smush!

Ive seen people recommend using a cake breaker (like this one), but I dont like the rustic, messy edges that creates. Another option is to go searching for that electric knife youve probably got squirreled away for cutting flank steak and Thanksgiving turkey. But, I prefer to simply use a big, very sharp serrated knife. (My father-in-law gave me this one, which you see in my photos, last Christmas, and I adore it!)

angel food cake on wooden cutting board, with one slice removed to the side

With your serrated knife, saw back-and-forth slowly, without much downward pressure that could smash the cake. Just saw and saw, letting your knife do all the work with its back-and-forth motion.

Youll get a tidy, clean cut without any squishing and smashing!

Step 3 Broil your cake slices for a couple of minutes per side. The exact timing will depend on how close your oven rack is to the heating element.

But, try to keep the cake at least a couple of inches away from the heating element, as the yummy sugars in the cake can burn quickly. And be sure to watch vigilantly during those couple of minutes, because once the toasting finally begins, it tends to progress pretty quickly.

Youre looking for the cake to develop a nice, golden, crunchy exterior.

closeup of four slices of angel food cake on a baking sheet, toasted and golden brown after broiling

Ive also tested this recipe using my toaster oven to toast up the cake slices. Works great, too!

And, if youre lucky enough to live somewhere warm (so you actually enjoy stepping outside to fire up your grill all winter) you can get gorgeous grill-mark sears by grilling your angel food cake for about 2-5 minutes per side over a low heat.

We recommend that you dont grill the cake over a high, open flame because its more likely to burn, instead of toasting beautifully. Your best bet is to preheat the grill completely and then grill the cake over a low flame or on one side of the grill where the flame has been turned off.

(And yes Im jealous that youre outside, happily grilling away, while Im freezing cold here in Ohio!)

Step 4 Quickly while your cake slices are still warm drizzle your orange-pomegranate mixture over top.

And, if you want, dollop some vanilla Greek yogurt alongside, too. Angel food cake is so sweet and lightly textured, that we find thick, not-too-sugary Greek yogurt to be a much nicer companion than whipped cream would be. Plus, its a lot healthier than whipped cream, too!

Mmmmm next, dig in! And be prepared to be just a little bit surprised at how delicious this is for something so simple, so light. Huh! Who wouldve guessed?!?!

Store-Bought Shortcuts for the Win!

I know I promised you that this dessert recipe is QUICK. And with some handy purchased shortcuts, it totally is!

overhead shot of this angel food cake dessert serve without the Greek yogurt, with the bowl of topping, red napkins, and a fork in the background

Angel Food Cake I grab a store-bought angel food cake from my grocerys bakery. (But, of course, you can certainly take the extra time to bake your own, if you prefer.)

Pomegranate Arils (Seeds) Honestly, I also usually just grab those convenient little containers of pomegranate arils, instead of a whole pomegranate. Pomegranate arils are actually really easy to remove from a pomegranate (Ill tell you how in a moment). And, for my photos in this post, I just couldnt help but include a whole pomegranate, since I think theyre so unusual looking and pretty (in their weird, craggy way).

BUT whenever I make this angel food cake dessert for my family, I still usually take the shortcut route. Those pre-packaged cups of arils may only save me five minutes of prep, but sometimes I could really use five extra minutes in my day!

Pre-cut orange slices Harrumph. These are trickier to find (Ive looked!), and generally not as good as fresh. IF your store stocks whole orange slices in the refrigerated produce section and IF those orange slices are floating around in pure juice instead of some sugar-y syrup theyre an ok shortcut. But only ok. Id still recommend that you slice your own fresh orange unless youre in a desperate time crunch itll just be better in the long run.

But not to worry if you cant find pre-packaged pomegranate arils or decent pre-cut oranges. It wont add all that much time to your prep! Heres how to handle both yourself

How to Remove Pomegranate Seeds (AKA Arils)

There are pretty much two universally agreed upon approaches here.

Method #1 You can cut the pomegranate in half horizontally (across its equator). Then, hold each half upside down over your cutting board and bash it with the heel of your hand, a wooden spoon, or whatever tool you prefer, to jar loose the arils.

Method #2 I personally prefer this second (non-bashing) method. Its outlined in terrific step-by-step photos HERE. But basically, all you do is cut a little circle all around the pomegranates stem to remove it. Then, score the pomegranate with shallow, vertical slits between its ridges (in its valleys), starting up where you removed the stem. Finally, beginning at the little stem hole, gently pull the pomegranate apart into sections, so you can pluck out the delicious arils. Voil!

closeup of a pomegranate that's been pulled apart into section so the arils can be removed

Some people recommend holding the pomegranate under water while you pluck off the arils, to avoid a juicy mess. But I dont really find it to be all that messy, and I dont want to take a chance on loosing any of the yummy juice. Just work with your pomegranate over a stain-proof cutting board, or line your board with parchment or waxed paper if youre worried about stains from the ruby-red juice.

This all might sound complicated as you read about it. But after youve done it once, youll already be a total pro and realize its ridiculously easy!

I used to think it seemed too difficult and daunting to bother with a whole pomegranate. Silly me! After just one try, I was amazed at what a fool Id been not to try it sooner. Its actually kinda fun to pick out the gorgeous arils (and pop em in your mouth or use them to make this dessert).

And now lets talk about one of the coolest home cooking hacks out there

How to Supreme an Orange for Perfect, Restaurant-Worthy Slices

Wanna feel like a restaurant chef? Perfect orange slices will make you look like a pro, and its surprisingly easy to do!

No pith, no white membrane. Just sweet, juicy, orange-y joy!

Wee got super-detailed instructions and photos in our Christmas Salad post, but heres the basic gist of what you need to do:

Step #1 Cut off both ends of your orange to create a stable base. Then, begin carefully cutting away the peel in vertical strips.

an orange on a wooden cutting board, with a chef's knife that has just started removing the orange peel through vertical cuts

Step #2 Be sure you follow the rounded contour of the orange, so you dont cut away too much of the fruit itself just the peel and white pith. Once youve cut away the outer peel, go back and carefully remove any little bits of pith that you missed.

the next step in supreming an orange - the peel has all been removed, and the remaining outer white pith has also been trimmed away

Step #3 Cut out each individual section of the orange, carefully slicing right along the membranes that separate the orange sections from each other. Be sure you cut just to the middle of the orange, so you can remove each section while leaving the membranes behind, still attached together at the middle.

in this next step, the first section has been cut out of the orange and is laying on the cutting board

Youll end up with an empty orange core and the attached pithy membranes. And (ta-da!) youll also have a pile of beautifully supremed orange wedges, completely free of peel and pith! So fancy, right?!?

9 supremed slices of orange are laying around the cutting board with the remaining orange membranes and some outer peel nearby

Step #4 For this recipe, dont forget to squeeze the empty core over your bowl, to save all the juice thats left behind. Way too good to miss out on that!

How to Serve Your Luscious, Healthy Angel Food Cake

I recommend that you serve this Angel Food Cake Dessert while the cakes still warm, fresh from its trip under the broiler. (Although, honestly, its still pretty darn good at room temp, too.)

The counterpoint of cool, sweet citrus with warm, toasty angel food cake is divine. And by definition, angel food cake really should be divine, dont you think?

Also, its really best if you wait until the last minute to spoon your orange mixture overtop. That way, your cake doesnt sog out too much before you can enjoy the thin layer of crispness you got from broiling it. If youd like, you can even pass around the orange topping at the table, so guests can top their own right before they dig in.

And, of course, dont forget to offer up the option of a little vanilla Greek yogurt!

a serving of the angel food dessert in the foreground, with a fork having cut away the first bite, and the bowl of orange topping in the background

I cant wait for you to give this unique dessert a try! Im not kidding when I say that, no matter how many times we make this, we all feel sort of surprised by just how GOOD it is. Its a yummy revelation every time!

A perfect winter dessert that looks festive, gorgeous, and indulgent but is secretly so much lighter! Your tastebuds will thank you. And so will your skinny jeans!

Quick and Healthy Angel Food Cake Dessert with Vanilla-Honey Oranges

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Prep Time 7 min.
Cook Time 5 min.
Total Time 12 min.
Yields 4 desserts


  • 4 (1 - 1 1/2 inch thick) slices of angel food cake (about 1/3 of a whole cake we use purchased cake from the grocery's bakery)
    • 1 cup orange sections (from about two 9-ounce navel oranges), peeled and cut into sections with membranes removed (see directions for how to "supreme" cut an orange, in the post above)
    • reserved juice from the oranges (squeeze the membranes and pith after extracting orange sections, to save the remaining juice that's left behind)
    • 3 tablespoons pomegranate arils (we usually use refrigerated, packaged arils, but you can also see notes in the post on how to remove arils from a whole pomegranate)
    • 1/2 teaspoon honey
    • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
    • nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (optional for serving)


    Stir together oranges and their reserved juice, pomegranate arils, honey, and vanilla. Set aside (cover and refrigerate for up to a couple of days if making this topping ahead).

    Preheat broiler. (See note below on alternate grilling and toasting options.)

    Spread the angel food cake slices on a baking sheet and broil until warmed and lightly toasted and golden on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). We recommend that you keep your cake slices at least a couple of inches away from the broilers heat source, and also keep a close eye on them. Once they begin to toast, they can go quickly from golden brown to burned.

    To serve, drizzle a quarter of the orange-pomegranate sauce over each slice of warm angel food cake. Optionally, add a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt alongside. Serve immediately.


    Recipe Notes

    Alternate grilling and toasting instructions: This recipe also works well by grilling the slices of angel food cake for about 2-5 minutes per side. Be careful not to grill the cake over a high flame we recommend grilling over a very low flame or on one side of a preheated grill where the flame has been turned off. You can also briefly toast the angel food cake slices in a toaster oven.

    Purchased shortcuts: To make this recipe ultra quick and easy, we typically buy an angel food cake at our grocery stores bakery and often grab the little cups of pomegranate arils from our stores refrigerated produce section. If you prefer, you can certainly opt to make your own cake and buy a whole pomegranate to remove the arils yourself (see directions in our post for removing arils, if needed).

    Make-ahead step: The sauce can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for a day or two.

    Yield: This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a party. Since 4 servings (as the recipe is written) uses about 1/3 of an entire angel food cake, you can triple the recipe to yield 12 servings and use up the entire cake. Increase the orange-pomegranate topping accordingly.

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