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.

angel food cupcakes topped with berries

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!

angel food cupcakes on teal cake stand

angel food cupcakes topped with whipped cream and berries

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.

Superfine sugar in food processor

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.

cake flour in a food processor

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.

whipped egg whites in a stand mixer with whisk attachment

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.

2 images of angel food cupcakes batter in a glass bowl

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

angel food cupcakes on teal cake stand

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.

2 angel food cupcakes with one overmixed cupcake and one perfect cupcake

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

angel food cupcake on silver plate

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angel food cupcakes on teal cake stand

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


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.


  • 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


  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.


  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 (affiliate links): 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. For the leftover egg yolks, here are all of my recipes that use egg yolks.
  4. Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking the BEST cupcakes before you begin!


  1. 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!

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

  2. 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. 🙂

    1. 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. 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!

    1. 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!

    2. Please forgive me! But, because I don’t have a food processor (or a blender which unfortunately stopped working last week), I used a store brand Angel food cake mix.
      But I didn’t stray from the rest of the recipe.
      Oh my goodness! Were these perfection! I had some family and a few friends over and before I knew it they were gone! I was accused of cheating and going to a bakery, even though I’m known for being incredibly talented in the kitchen!
      I think I made a mistake though. I’ve been pre invited to a few gatherings this summer and all of those invites insist I bring these add my contribution lol.

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

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

    2. I made my cake flour in this recipe: mixture of apf and corn flour. The result was great! Thanks for the detailed procedure.. 🙂

  5. 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.

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

  6. 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

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

  7. Yay. I do not need to worry about needing and angel food cake pan.
    These are perfect for when an angel food cake craving his. Thank you very much for this. Are these
    In one of your cookbooks? Please let me know.

    1. Hi Heather! No, this recipe is exclusive to my blog. I have separate recipes for my cookbooks. You can print this recipe out (without the blog post text) using the print button. 🙂

  8. Hi Sally.
    I want to make a play on a strawberry shortcake cupcake. Do you think i could fill these with strawberry jam, or is the cupcake to delicate. My plans were to make an angel foodcake cupcake, after baked fill with strawberry jam, and topped with a whipped buttercream.
    I am skeptical about using a whipped cream as the frosting, i live in South Texas. And its too hot to leave those out at a party.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Karen! The cupcakes are quite delicate, though I don’t think filling them with jam would be an issue.

  9. How do you think these would work as a cake? And what do you think the baking time would be? Thank you! Love all your stuff!

    1. Hi Holly! Here is my recipe for angel food cake:
      You can leave out the sprinkles 🙂

  10. Hi Sally,
    I am in Australia and I am quite keen to try these Angel Food cupcakes but was wondering what the difference would be between pulsating regular white granulated sugar to a superfine consistency or just using caster sugar. Would caster sugar be the right consistency to use?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Kerryn! Castor sugar isn’t as common here, so for US readers… that’s why I recommend making superfine sugar from granulated sugar. But YES simply use castor sugar if you have it! 🙂

  11. I love angel food cake, so when I saw this, I knew I had to try it, even though I knew I would fail. I did. All was going well, until I noticed, while folding the batter it wasn’t fluffy anymore. My aggressive mixing had popped too many bubbles. I decided to hand mix it just one more time. Spooning it into the liners, even me, the novice baker noticed something was wrong. The whole thing just flopped. I’d over mixed it. Fortunately, your amazing recipe held up. In the oven, my failed cupcakes rose perfectly. Deflated some because I didn’t know how to cool them upside down, they still tasted amazing. Thank you! I’ll be making these again!

    1. I want to make these in bulk would they freeze well?

  12. These turned out great. Simply delish with strawberries and blueberries, a little sugar and whipped cream. Perfect for using after recipes with left over egg whites. Made sure to follow your tips. Pulse the sugar and my batter was high and nice and pretty and stayed that way. Thank you for step by step instructions. I would also like to say that some baking techniques, requires practice the more you do them the better the result and easier too. The batter is sticky and I used some sturdy cupcake liners, the foil ones. I found they set down in the tins and stayed wide open so I could fill them. Don’t over fill, like you said. Yours is one of the best blog sites around. Thank you so much.

  13. It’s not letting me rate the recipe, but I give it 5 stars!!! I used all purpose with cornstarch because I dont have cake flour, and it’s just easier for me that way. Just sift the 2 together 5 or 6 times comes out light, and perfect. Anyway, I used strawberry extract instead of vanilla and I did the same with the whipped cream I made. They did deflate a little as they cooled, but the taste is amazing! I think I over whipped everything though. Still not bad for my first ever attempt at doing angel food anything.

  14. Instead of pulsing regular sugar, could you use powdered sugar?

    1. Hi Twyla! Powdered sugar is too compact– you need the superfine sugar.

      1. Hi Sally! What if we sieved the powdered sugar? Will it work same as pulsed regular sugar?

      2. It won’t, no. Use superfine sugar.

  15. Made these today and topped them with your whipped cream recipe and fresh strawberries. They are so yummy!

    1. So glad!

  16. Hey Sally! I’m thinking about making for father’s day weekend. I will probably need about two dozen, it’s a big family get together. Can I double the recipe?

    1. Hi Leanna! For best results (especially for a fun event) I recommend making the batter TWICE instead of doubling.

  17. Carol Wise says:

    After we made a great meal together, my husband jokingly asked, “What’s for dessert?” I searched Sally’s recipes for cupcakes and the June Angel Food Challenge brought these up. I’d never made Angel Food before so I guess ignorance is bliss – I didn’t stress, I just followed Sally’s directions. They came out great! I wanted a sweeter, richer topping so I made buttercream frosting. When I brought one out to my husband, he was blown away that I made Angel Food cupcakes because his mother was always trying to make a perfect Angel Food cake. Her success was spotty because she didn’t have Sally 😉 He said that this is the best cake/cupcake I’ve ever made (but he’s sure he’ll feel that way about the next cake I make). These keep calling his name so they won’t be around long.

    1. WHAT A COMPLIMENT! Best cake/cupcake you’ve ever made? I’m blushing. Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for taking the time to review it!

  18. These we’re SO good but I could not get them out of the cupcake liners without it tearing my cupcake apart. I would never be able to serve these but they tasted great

    1. Is it possible to use rice flour?

  19. Melissa Costa says:

    This was my first time attempting Angel Food and they turned out perfectly. So light and fluffy!

  20. Recipe was so easy to follow and they turned out exactly like they were supposed to!

    1. Thanks so much Jessi! Thrilled you loved these 🙂

  21. Jayati Bali says:

    So my first try. They looked bloody beautiful and inflated. And then they over inflated! And just kept rising. So I thought maybe I just added too much batter to the bowl. They were spilling out so. I removed them before they cooked completely.
    The next batch I put it I reduced the batter quite a bit. But even this overinflated! And then when I took it out it deflated completely.
    I’m sorry. Could you please tell me where I went wrong?

    1. Hi Jayati! Do you mean you reduced the batter in the cupcake liners? Are you using a regular size muffin pan– not jumbo or mini or anything? Make sure you aren’t over-mixing the angel food batter, which introduces TOO much air. Sorry you’re having trouble with this recipe!

  22. Stephanie Kurz says:

    Sally! These are so good! The cupcake itself with the whipped cream is such a light dessert combination. It was exactly what I wanted.

    One thing I thought was weird: the cupcakes almost seemed smaller than normal. Not like they deflated. They stayed the same height as when I took them out of the oven. More like they shrunk in on themselves width wise as they cooked. Is that normal or did something go wrong when I made them? Either way, they were delicious!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Stephanie! Was the texture still super light and fluffy? If so you didn’t do anything wrong!

      1. Stephanie Kurz says:

        They were still light and fluffy! Thanks!

  23. My husband’s grandma made angel food cake for his birthday every year. I decided to surprise him with angel food cupcakes. They turned out great and it was a great memory!

  24. Aqsa Sikandar says:

    Hi. Is cream of tartar an important ingredient?
    Is there any substitute for it?

  25. Hi Sally!
    I don’t have a food processor or blender.Do you think it would be alright to just sift the ingredients or do you suggest something else?

    1. Hi Mary! A food processor or blender is certainly key to break down the sugar and mix those ingredients. Purchasing and using superfine sugar would help, though. In a pinch, you can sift & whisk but the results will not be exactly the same.

  26. Brigid L Ryan says:

    This recipe says beat until soft peaks form but the comments say stiff. Which is it?

    1. Soft peaks– the comment should read soft. Thank you!

  27. I tried these cupcakes and I’m quite sure where my mistake was- when I beat the egg whites, I had my mixer to low of a speed. I did it on 4 and I think I needed to go higher- to 6. It took longer than 5-6 minutes. Plus when I spooned the mixture, I noticed some of the egg white was not mixed in well. Will try again!

    1. Hi Tracy, Yes you want to whip the eggs on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. You can see the above photo and video for a visual! Let me know if you try again!

  28. I was surprised when my friend requested angel food cake for her birthday but luckily I found this recipe! The cupcakes were a hit! I made the homemade whipped cream to go on top too which was perfect. I felt like I was trying so hard to keep the air in the batter that it turned out too fluffy! I made 12 cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes and still had batter left over!

  29. With angel food cake, you need to cool the cake upside down. But with cupcakes, do you need to cool the cupcakes upside down? If so, how do you do it?????

    1. You don’t– cool normally.

  30. Question: With the sugar. I know it needs to be super fine. Do I measure out the sugar and then put it in a food processor and use that or will this process make more sure because it has been broken down? Or do I break it down super fine and then measure out the sugar?Does that make sense?

    1. Hi Lorie, Yes that makes sense! You want to measure out 3/4 cups of sugar and place that inside your food processor. So measure and then grind it.

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