Light-as-air Angel Food Cupcakes

Light-as-air Angel Food Cupcakes

Summer's right around the corner and that can only mean one thing: air conditioning.

But if we're talking dessert, summer is home to many seasonal favorites like key lime pie, peach cobblercherry pie, strawberry shortcake, blueberry crisp, and angel food cake. Topped with homemade whipped cream and served with fresh fruit or embellished with chocolate ganache and sprinkles, angel food cake is truly the epitome of simple summer sweets. It's been awhile since we talked about angel food cake and in the spirit of Memorial Day weekend, I'm showing you how to turn angel food cake into party-perfect cupcakes.

But not just any angel food cupcakes... light-as-air angel food cupcakes made from scratch with just 7 ingredients. We can't achieve this perfection for free, we need to ensure we're handling the angel food cake batter with care. I have a few other guaranteed tips and tricks for you today. If our tastebuds are anything alike, I'm confident these will be the best angel food cupcakes you try!

This easy recipe for angel food cupcakes is the perfect light dessert! Made from just a few ingredients, this angel food cake is light as air and topped with fluffy whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES

First I'm walking you through the steps so you can fully understand what you're doing. Then I summarize the tried-and-true tricks before leaving you with the full recipe!

Prepared without any fat like butter, oil, or egg yolks, angel food cake relies on a few very specific ingredients and mixing methods. You need a food processor or blender to make this recipe possible. I use my little ninja. The first step is to pulse regular granulated sugar in a food processor, grinding it down into a superfine sugar. Larger sugar granules harshly cut into the angel food cake batter, deflating the egg whites in their path. Don't sabotage your recipe from the beginning; it's imperative to use superfine sugar. At this point, remove some of the superfine sugar to mix with the egg whites. The remaining will be mixed with the dry ingredients.

Following so far?

Since you already have your food processor out, pulse the remaining superfine sugar with the dry ingredients. This is called aerating the dry ingredients and it's CRUCIAL to the outcome of your angel food cupcakes. Aerating (1) fluffs the dry ingredients up and (2) allows them to dissolve quicker and more easily into the egg whites. Both important!

The dry ingredients are cake flour and salt. Cake flour is another crucial component to this recipe. All-purpose flour produces a dense angel food cake. Think of a piece of white bread. That's what you'll get.

This easy recipe for angel food cupcakes is the perfect light dessert! Made from just a few ingredients, this angel food cake is light as air and topped with fluffy whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

1st step is to turn granulated sugar into superfine sugar. Use a food processor to grind it down into a finer consistency. Remove 1/2 cup of the superfine sugar. This will be whipped with the egg whites.

How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

To the remaining superfine sugar, add cake flour and salt. Pulse them together to aerate the mixture. This aerated mixture are the dry ingredients in the angel food cake batter.

Set those aerated dry ingredients aside because now we're focusing on egg whites. The more diverse my baking becomes, the more I find I'm separating eggs. From pastry cream and pavlova to salted caramel macarons and banana cream pie. Eggs are a truly magical ingredient in baking because they can do so many things as a whole and even more when separated. When baking with pavlova a couple months ago, I drove myself crazy preventing any yolks from getting into the bowl. Maybe you're better at this than me, but I desperately needed an egg separator. And you know you're old when you ask your husband for an egg separator for your birthday and then he gifts it to you early because it's an egg separator and you're going to use it right now!!!!! Yay!!!!!

Anyway. This is Yolky. And I love him.

So now it's time to whip the egg whites. Egg whites, a little water, and cream of tartar make the base of angel food cake. You'll whip them, along with the 1/2 cup of superfine sugar you set aside, until light and fluffy. Make sure there are no yolks hiding in the batter as their fat will prevent the egg whites from whipping properly. You'll notice that baking powder and baking soda are missing from the recipe. That's not by mistake; the *air* in whipped egg whites give the cupcakes all their rise. Since we're not leaning on a chemical leavener as a crutch, it's important to handle that *air* with care so the cupcakes don't deflate. Meaning... don't overwork the batter as you add the dry ingredients. Literally do less work.

What does the cream of tartar do? It holds the air bubbles in place, ensuring that angel food cake's batter maintains its fluffball volume when baked. If cream of tartar is left out, the egg whites will deflate.

And the water? It breaks up the sugar so the cupcakes aren't as sticky.

Remember when I told you not to overwork the cake batter? We'll put that into practice when we add the dry ingredients. Grab your sifter.

Separating eggs for angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com
How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

↑ This is the fluffy egg whites + cream of tartar + superfine sugar.

How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

↑ And now we'll slowly sift the dry ingredients in.

DON'T DUMP

Sift the dry ingredients into the egg whites in parts, folding between each addition. Sift a little in, fold together, sift a little more in, fold together, etc. Dumping all the dry ingredients into the delicate egg whites will deflate them. If you haven't caught on by now, the fluffier and puffier your angel food cake batter, the fluffier and puffier your angel food cake.

Now let's bake. The batter is foamy (yay! air!), so you can't pour it into your cupcake liners. Instead, grab a spoon and spoon the batter into each cup filling about 3/4 full.

The cupcakes only take about 18-20 minutes. The tops will be a very pale golden brown and will bounce back if you gently poke them. Let them cool completely before frosting.

How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com
How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

For topping, I chose homemade whipped cream. I didn't want anything to weigh down or take away from these cupcakes, so something just as light-- or even lighter-- keeps the spotlight on the angel food cupcakes themselves. Lightly sweetened homemade whipped cream, in all of its fluffy glory, is just the right ticket. Plus it only takes, like, 2 minutes to make. You can pile it on top with a knife or use a piping tip for a more polished look. Either way, garnish the whipped cream with fresh berries to celebrate this  season.

So let's quickly review. I just threw a lot of information at you, but don't want you to feel discouraged from trying angel food cupcakes.

THE TRICKS WE DISCUSSED

  1. use superfine sugar and cake flour
  2. whip egg whites until fluffy
  3. pulse the dry ingredients to aerate
  4. sift the dry ingredients into the egg whites
  5. carefully fold the batter together

This photo speaks for itself where you can see the deflated and shriveled cupcake vs the light and fluffy cupcake. Taking a few extra minutes to correctly prepare the recipe makes all the difference.

Skip the pool floats this summer, these cupcakes are so refreshingly light you'll float away after 1 bite!!!

The best techniques to follow when making angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com
This easy recipe for angel food cupcakes is the perfect light dessert! Made from just a few ingredients, this angel food cake is light as air and topped with fluffy whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
This easy recipe for angel food cupcakes is the perfect light dessert! Made from just a few ingredients, this angel food cake is light as air and topped with fluffy whipped cream. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Angel Food Cupcakes

YIELD

14-16 cupcakes

PREP TIME

30 minutes

COOK TIME

20 minutes

TOTAL TIME

4 hours (includes cooling)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon warm water
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2-4 liners - this recipe makes about 14-16 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: In a food processor or blender (I use this one), pulse the sugar until fine and powdery. Remove 1/2 cup and set aside to use in step 3; keep the rest inside the food processor. Add the cake flour and salt to the food processor. Pulse 5-10 times until sugar/flour/salt mixture is aerated and light.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites, water, and cream of tartar together on medium low until foamy, about 1 minute. Switch to medium-high and slowly add the 1/2 cup of sugar. Whip until soft peaks form, about 5-6 minutes. See photo above for visual. Add the vanilla extract and beat just until incorporated.
  4. In several additions, slowly sift the flour mixture into the egg white mixture using a fine-mesh strainer, gently folding after each addition. To avoid the cupcakes from deflating or tasting dense, don't add the flour mixture all at once. Sift and very slowly fold in several additions. This is important! Spoon batter into liners, filling only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides.
  5. Bake the cupcakes until very lightly browned around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. For around 3 dozen mini cupcakes, bake for about 10-12 minutes, same oven temperature.
  6. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  7. Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. I used a small icing spatula for some, but a Wilton 8B tip looks wonderful (see picture above!). Garnish with fresh berries.
  8. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Whipped cream can be made a few hours in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. To freeze, wrap unfrosted cupcakes individually in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and freeze in a large container. Thaw on the counter before frosting and serving.

RECIPE NOTES

  1. 1 large egg white is about 2 Tablespoons, so if using carton egg whites, use around 12-13 Tablespoons. For the best accuracy and texture, I strongly recommend using egg whites from eggs you crack yourself.
  2. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

© SALLY’S BAKING ADDICTION. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

SHOP THIS RECIPE

RELATED POSTS

66 Comments

Comments

  1. Julia on June 19, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Hi Sally! This looks delicious. Do you think it would be possible to add mix-ins or would that make the cupcakes dense? I want to add (super finely chopped) hazelnuts. If it’s possible, would I aerate it with the rest of the dry ingredients, or mix it quicky at the end? Thank you!

    • Sally on June 21, 2018 at 6:37 am

      Hi Julia! I don’t recommend it. The batter is too delicate for add-ins.

  2. Marie on June 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Hi Sally,
    My first time to bake angel food cupcakes and they turned out amazing!
    I was nervous at first since it will be for a special young ladies event just last Saturday. But thanks to your detailed instructions and tips, I decided to make them. 🙂

    I am so glad I did as they all loved these cupcakes and one sweet lady friend commented, “the taste is heavenly”!
    Thanks a lot for this my dear Sally.
    Warm regards from Belgium.
    p.s. the cupcake wrappers stick closed to the airy cupcakes that they turned out cute looking and elegant. Wish I could show the picture. 🙂

    • Sally on June 25, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that you decided to make them and that they were a hit with your friends, Marie! Happy baking 🙂

  3. Shannon on June 25, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Hi! I tried making these over the weekend & followed all the steps as indicated (or so I thought!), but still wound up with deflated cupcakes. One thing that seemed different from when you made them was the amount of cupcakes it made. I whipped the eggs on medium high & they looked like the picture after about four minutes. In a regular KitchenAid mixer, it filled about 3/4 of the bowl and made 26 cupcakes that were filled almost all the way to the top with batter. Do you think I beat the eggs too much? Also, I had trouble spooning the batter into the tins evenly & was pressing down on them with a spoon a bit to smooth them out. What do you think? Thank you!

    • Sally on June 26, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Shannon! It sounds like your batter was too voluminous from overwhipping, so I’m not surprised they deflated. Try reducing the the speed down to medium and whipping for 3-4 minutes if you try the recipe again. And then fold the sifted dry ingredients in slowly and in parts. Sorry you had trouble!

  4. Brittney on July 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Could you make your own cake flour for this by adding cornstarch or would you recommend purchasing pre-packaged cake flour at the store?

    • Sally on July 5, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Hi Brittney! For best results, use cake flour– not a mix of cornstarch and all-purpose flour.

  5. Priscila on July 3, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I just finished baking these and I completely destroyed your recipe by using egg whites from a carton (I didn’t feel like dealing with those left over egg yolks). The carton’s tablespoon measurement to egg ratio, resulted in a batter with too much egg whites, and a consistency that was completely off. Just wanted to let you know in case one of your other readers asks you about doing this. Tell them not to bother.
    Happy fourth to you and your family.

    • Sally on July 5, 2018 at 11:05 am

      This is helpful, thanks Priscila. Sorry you had trouble!

  6. Malsha on July 9, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Hi Sally, if i’m going to cut down on the recepie, say for 10 cupcakes how should i do it? Appreciate if you could help me out

    • Sally on July 9, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Hi Malsha! I’m unsure without testing it. Let me know what you try!

Reviews

Questions

  1. Kira on May 21, 2018 at 4:47 am

    Hi Sally,

    These look incredible!

    Cake flour isn’t available in the UK. What ratio of cornflour to all-purpose should I use?

    • Sally on May 21, 2018 at 10:45 am

      Hi Kira! I suggest 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, minus 1 Tablespoon, add 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour). Sift the two together, then measure 1/2 cup from that sifted amount as sifting will aerate the mixture and you’ll end up with more.

  2. Chantalle on May 21, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Hi Sally. Finaly the recipe for angel food cupcake. These look so amazing and beautiful. I life in the Netherlands and cream of tartar is very hard to find. Can i replace it for something else? Hope to hear from you so i can make these angel food cupcakes. X Chantalle.

    • Sally on May 21, 2018 at 10:25 am

      Hi Chantalle, I wish I had a substitution suggestion for you, but I haven’t had the same exact results with anything besides cream of tartar.

      • Jules on May 24, 2018 at 9:28 am

        According to Cooking Light: “…just substitute fresh lemon juice or white vinegar for the cream of tartar. For every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar in the recipe, use 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar.”

        Myrecipes.com: “You can often replace cream of tartar with distilled white vinegar or lemon juice. When cream of tartar is used to add volume and stabilize and whiten whipped egg whites, as with an angel food cake, replace every 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar (the amount needed per egg) with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar.”

        Not sure if this works, but that’s what I read. Good luck!



  3. Maia on May 21, 2018 at 10:17 am

    How long should I bake these if I want to make these mini? Or do you recommend them just making them big?

    • Sally on May 21, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Hi Maia! See step 5.

  4. Wendy on May 21, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Sally, there seems to be some info missing between step 4 and 5. There are no directions for filling the cupcake liners?? Can’t wait to make these!!

    • Sally on May 21, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Wendy, my apologies. I forgot to add that sentence but just updated the recipe to include it. Thank you!

  5. Lisa on May 21, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Sally, These look great! I have been looking for an angel food cupcake recipe, that doesn’t deflate for a long time. I can’t wait to try yours. I have a few questions that I didn’t see addressed. Normally an angel food cake is cooled upside down, to keep from deflating. How do you cool these little guys? Is there a length of time to keep them in the cupcake pan? Should I expect a little deflating from not being cooled upside down? Thanks!

    • Sally on May 26, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Hi Lisa! See step 6 for cooling.

  6. jane antos on May 21, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    Hi, I can’t wait to make them. I always make Angel Food Cake. I notice that use say to use Superfine sugar but I have purchased can I use it and follow the Step when I have to combine the cake flour? Let me know jane

    • Sally on May 22, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Hi Jane! If you have super fine sugar, there is no need to separately pulse it into a finer crystal. Just combine 1/4 cup of it with the dry ingredients to aerate in step 2.

  7. Lori Cohen on May 22, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Sally,
    How do you feel this recipe would scale up? Would you recommend against it, double only? Also, I have a convection oven that I can use the convection or the standard bake cycle. Do you suggest using the standard bake cycle for a delicate batter like this or does it matter? This is something that I wonder about with all of my baking…I am always asking myself “should I use convection or bake?” Any advice?

    • Sally on May 24, 2018 at 10:32 am

      Hi Lori! This recipe, practically doubled, as a full angel food cake is right here: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2015/07/31/party-angel-food-cake/

      You can, of course, leave out the sprinkles. 🙂

      I haven’t had any issues baking angel food cake or cupcakes with the convection setting or conventional setting on my ovens. Either would be just fine, though convection will bake quicker. I hope this helps!

  8. Ida Bochner on May 22, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    These sound wonderful. I’ll be making them this weekend. Any suggestions as to how to use all the egg yolks I believe they don’t keep well and can’t be frozen.
    Thanks
    Ida

  9. Alexis Denius on May 23, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I cant wait to make these! My questions is : Is there a difference between regular cupcake liners and the parchment baking cups you used or are they essentially the same thing? If there is a difference then do I have to use the parchment ones for this recipe or could I just use cupcake liners that I already have a ton of? I am wanting to make these for a cookout for Memorial day because they look so good!

    • Sally on May 23, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Hi Alexis! There is no big difference in the cupcake liners. I just prefer the parchment paper liners as they are a little higher quality and hardly ever stick to the muffin/cupcake. You can use the liners you have.

  10. Rachael on May 23, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Hey! I made these cupcakes today, and the flavor is fantastic, but when you bite into the cupcake, the angelfood just stays all mashed together, can you please tell me what I might have done wrong to lose that springy texture? Thanks!!!

    • Sally on May 24, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Hi Rachael! They have a soft downy crumb. They won’t remain as fluffy and puffy when you take a bite. That’s the nature of angel food cake 🙂 If you think they taste dense, review some of the tips and tricks in the blog post and make sure you’re putting each one into practice. I’m glad you enjoy their flavor though!

  11. Mabel Ong on May 24, 2018 at 4:28 am

    Hi Sally, I live in South East Asia and I am not sure if it is the weather here but the cupcakes I made today were slightly sticky to touch (surface) when cooled. They were in the oven for 20 mins and the insides were perfectly light and fluffy. Could you think of any reasons why?

    • Sally on May 24, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Hi Mabel! I’m guessing it’s the weather. In the humidity, the angel food cupcakes can feel sticky. It’s the sugar. I don’t think this is a bad thing!

  12. Laura on May 25, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Making these now……and I just realized I didn’t measure out the sugar for the egg whites before I added the flour to aerate, uh oh. Well I guess I’ll be starting over. Anyways what do you do with the left over yolks?

  13. Kim on May 26, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I’m really excited to make these today! Since I’ll already have the oven on and I’ll have extra yolks – I’m wondering if you could recommend a few recipes to use up those yolks.

  14. Puspa on June 3, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Hello Sally! I am looking at making this lovely drooly cupcake for my daughters first bday! I saw that you mentioned superfine sugar to be used. Instead of grinding the normal sugar down to powder can I actually use icing sugar ?? As they are also powdered?? Also will this kee well if I make it a day or two in advance ??

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:00 am

      Hi Puspa! No, I do not recommend confectioners’ sugar/icing sugar. Superfine granulated sugar is best. You can prepare the cupcakes in advance, yes.

  15. Martha on June 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    I’m the youngest of three children and, growing up, our mom would let us choose what type of birthday cake we wanted each year. I remember that my brother always asked for a spice cake with caramel frosting. I, on the other hand, always requested an angelfood cake with the traditional, sticky frosting. Even as an adult, I still enjoy angelfood, but for health reasons, I’ve had to cut out sugar from my diet. I had never even considered angelfood cupcakes. These might be a nice way to have an occasional angelfood fix without having to make an entire cake. Do you think a good sugar replacement (like Swerve or similar) would work well in this recipe if I grind it up finely in my Ninja blender? Thank you.

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Hi Martha! I love angel food cake too. Sugar substitutes are typically never a good idea in cakes, unless the recipe is formulated for its addition. Regular granulated sugar (ground down into superfine sugar) is best.

  16. Leilah on June 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I was wanting some angel food to go with some lovely macerated strawberries I’ve got in the fridge and I knew you’d have something for me! I always check here first for any baking cravings 🙂 Question: Can this be baked in a loaf pan lined with parchment rather than cupcakes? I’m not feeling cupcake-y today (crazy, I know!) nor do I have a tradition angel food pan. Thanks for all your hard work and beautiful recipes!

    • Sally on June 15, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Hi Leilah! Thank you so much for trusting my recipes. 🙂 I’ve never baked the angel food cake in a loaf pan but something tells me it won’t rise properly. Let me know if you try it though!

  17. Julia on June 19, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Hi Sally! This looks delicious. Do you think it would be possible to add mix-ins or would that make the cupcakes dense? I want to add (super finely chopped) hazelnuts. If it’s possible, would I aerate it with the rest of the dry ingredients, or mix it quicky at the end? Thank you!

    • Sally on June 21, 2018 at 6:37 am

      Hi Julia! I don’t recommend it. The batter is too delicate for add-ins.

  18. Shannon on June 25, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Hi! I tried making these over the weekend & followed all the steps as indicated (or so I thought!), but still wound up with deflated cupcakes. One thing that seemed different from when you made them was the amount of cupcakes it made. I whipped the eggs on medium high & they looked like the picture after about four minutes. In a regular KitchenAid mixer, it filled about 3/4 of the bowl and made 26 cupcakes that were filled almost all the way to the top with batter. Do you think I beat the eggs too much? Also, I had trouble spooning the batter into the tins evenly & was pressing down on them with a spoon a bit to smooth them out. What do you think? Thank you!

    • Sally on June 26, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Shannon! It sounds like your batter was too voluminous from overwhipping, so I’m not surprised they deflated. Try reducing the the speed down to medium and whipping for 3-4 minutes if you try the recipe again. And then fold the sifted dry ingredients in slowly and in parts. Sorry you had trouble!

  19. Brittney on July 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Could you make your own cake flour for this by adding cornstarch or would you recommend purchasing pre-packaged cake flour at the store?

    • Sally on July 5, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Hi Brittney! For best results, use cake flour– not a mix of cornstarch and all-purpose flour.

  20. Malsha on July 9, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Hi Sally, if i’m going to cut down on the recepie, say for 10 cupcakes how should i do it? Appreciate if you could help me out

    • Sally on July 9, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Hi Malsha! I’m unsure without testing it. Let me know what you try!

Leave a Comment


       



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.