Angel Food Cupcakes

This easy recipe for light-as-air angel food cupcakes is a wonderful choice for a light summer dessert! Topped with fluffy whipped cream and fresh berries, these cupcakes are both refreshing and beautiful.

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

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 angel food 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

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

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 angel food cupcakes 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.

How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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– it will end up tasting like white bread. In a pinch, you can use this cake flour substitute. But the results are more favorable if you use actual cake flour.

How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Set those aerated dry ingredients aside because now we’re focusing on egg whites.

Egg Whites for Angel Food Cupcakes

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.

How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

How to make angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Sifting is KEY!

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. 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.

Angel food cupcakes in a cupcake pan 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

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.

Angel Food Cupcake Tips

  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.

The best techniques to follow when making angel food cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

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

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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

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 14-16 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy recipe for light-as-air angel food cupcakes is a wonderful choice for a light summer dessert! Topped with fluffy whipped cream and fresh berries, these cupcakes are both refreshing and beautiful.


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
  • Homemade Whipped Cream for topping

Instructions

  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. Spread or pipe homemade whipped cream 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Ninja Master Prep | SieveEgg Yolk SeparatorCupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Wilton 8B Star Icing Tip | Icing SpatulaBlue Cake Stand
  3. Egg Whites: 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.
  4. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!

101 Comments

  1. I’ve been waiting anxiously for this recipe since you mentioned it in your recipe testing post on Friday! I’ve actually been adapting your strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe for years and using an angel food cupcake recipe from a different blog rather than the vanilla cupcakes in your original recipe.

    My angel food cupcakes always shrank and I didn’t even realize it was an issue until now! Super excited to make that recipe this weekend with this angel food cupcake recipe! Thanks Sally!

  2. Hi Sally,

    These look incredible!

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

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  4. Yay Sally!! You did it again! Your cheesecake recipe came out just in time to make for my husband’s birthday; now my moms birthday is coming up and she loves angel food with whip cream and berries. I’ve been wanting to try making angel food in cupcake form. This will be perfect! I’m so excited to try them. Thanks so much!!

  5. Oooh great idea! You’re inspiring me to make some scrumptious lightweight angelcakes today. I never thought to try angel food cupcakes, but after seeing these beauties, I’m excited to have them! Thank you Sally. You’re a wunderkind!!

  6. Mouth-watering is the right word for this Sally. I cannot wait to try it, perfect with whipped cream and berries 🙂

  7. Hi Sally, You know what I like most about you? I like that you test everything out first before you speak about it. That way, I know what you think about it from all angles. I enjoy making your recipes because you have taken the question marks out of the process. Thank you a ton! dezi

  8. 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!!

  9. These have always been my older sister’s favourite cupcakes. I didn’t start taking a liking to them until recently. They’re so light and fluffy and pair perfectly with whipped cream instead of frosting, fresh fruit & lemon. Almost like a healthier dessert with the reduction of butter, right? 😉

  10. 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!

  11. Hi! I just made these and had to make a few adjustments for what I had on hand and my dietary needs: instead of the cake flour I used equal parts sorghum flour and tapioca starch, instead of sugar I used 1 and 1/2 cups powdered/confectioner’s sugar. The eggs whites I used had been aging in the fridge for several days (the whole reason I needed a recipe for 6 egg whites!) and I think that helped them beat up very fluffy (I can’t remember what cookbook I read that in). The cupcakes are fantastic! The tip you had to sift in the dry ingredients is critical. Also the use of cupcake liners is critical as well. I ran out and the 4 cupcakes without liners are flat little squishy things but we’ll eat them anyway 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  12. I am excited to try this! I have always love sponge cake and this is everything spongy and cupcakes are the best! Very simple ingredients. Thanks, Sally!

  13. 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

    1. 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.

  14. I’ve never made an angel food cake but definitely will be making these cupcakes. Just hope mine turn out as good as yours look.

  15. 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?

  16. 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

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

  18. 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!!!

    1. 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!

  19. 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?

    1. 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!

  20. Oh My Goodness, I cannot wait to make these!!! I have been waiting so excitedly for you to share this recipe! 🙂
    I love Yolky, I added him to my amazon list! I could tell it was a Joie product by his cuteness. 🙂
    Thank you Sally for sharing such mouth watering recipes.

  21. 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?

  22. 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.

  23. 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 ??

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

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

  25. 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!

    1. 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!

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