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. Thanks very much.

  2. Hi Sally,
    Just wondering, since I have never made angel food cake or cupcakes, is the cake suppose to be a bit sticky? They came out tasty but I was wonder that. Maybe I didn’t mix it well enough?

    1. Yes! If it’s too sticky, the cake or cupcakes could be under-baked. But some sugar stickiness is completely normal. 🙂

  3. What is the maximum time you can keep cupcakes in freezer?

    1. Hi Shari, You can freeze cupcakes for up to three months.

  4. Hi, can you use self-rising cake flour? Thanks.

    1. Hi! I don’t think that will work because self- rising flour already has baking powder or baking soda added to it and this recipe doesn’t have either of those
      I hope this helps!

      1. And cake flour has a different consistency

  5. Hi Sally, how long can I store these at room temperature? I’ll be making these a day ahead taking them into work the next day. Thank you!!!

    Also if whip cream is not stable at room temperatures can I use your cream cheese frosting instead? Not sure if that would taste good with this

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Ellie, These cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. If you are looking for a lighter frosting alternative you can try Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  6. Great recipe! Can I use powdered sugar instead of processing the granulated sugar?

    1. Thanks Katie! No, it’s too light.

      1. Can you please give measurements for the recipe when i have 10 egg whites? Thanks

  7. I love the idea of angel food cake in cupcake form! I’m wondering if I could make these in my mini Bundt cake pans. (Mine is the same as the one that Sally recommends) Thanks!

  8. Aqsa Sikandar says:

    Hi Sally,

    1. Is there a substitute for cream of tartar?
    2. Can I make a cake out of this recipe instead of cupcakes?

    Looking forward to hear from you! Thanks a lot for your beautiful recipes!

    1. Hi Aqsa, This is my recipe for Angel Food Cake. Other acids beside cream of tarter, such as lemon juice, can work but they aren’t nearly as effective.

  9. Could gluten free flour be used instead of cake flour? I’ve made lots of your yummy recipes with gluten free flour, but I wasn’t sure how it would affect this recipe.

    1. Hi Kylee, I haven’t tested this recipe with a gluten free cake flour substitute but let me know if you try!

  10. Sally I have a question. Any recommendations to stop the shrinkage. I’ve made these 3 times and the result was always the same. I’m wondering if it has something to do with my altitude. Thanks!! (They are delicious though)

    1. Hi Debbie, I wish I could help, but I have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful:

      1. Thanks for getting back to me.

        Well I tried again…..I’m not a quitter! Lol. There wasn’t much difference with the changes I made and by what I’ve read, this seems a common problem. They’re not heavy at all so I think I’ll just fill my baking cups all the way and let the chips (or should I say cupcakes) fall where they may.

        Thanks again and just to let you know you are always my go to site when I need a recipe that excels!! Thanks for that also


  11. Can this recipe be cut in half for fewer cupcakes?

    1. Sure can, Christine!

  12. Hey Sally, loved this recipe, Thanks for the super helpful tutorial. I was disappointed though when my cupcakes came out of the oven, they kinda sucked in. It’s hard to explain, they stayed the same hight but got skinner, I guess? I am wondering why this happened. I sifted all the ingredients and did everything right, but maybe I didn’t put enough batter in the muffin cups? Anyway, they were delicious, but wondering why this happened. Thanks Sally

    1. Hi Avery, glad you enjoyed how these cupcakes taste! A little shrinking is completely normal and expected from these egg white-heavy cupcakes. A little more batter per cupcake could help a bit for next time though.

  13. Hi Sally, I was wondering what to do with the separated egg yolks. Since you often add extra yolks to your baking, is it sensible to freeze each of them in an ice cube tray and use them as needed? Not sure how much that would change the texture though. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennie, see my recipe note for all of my recipes using leftover egg yolks. You can freeze egg yolks in ice cube trays. Thaw in the refrigerator then use in any recipe.

  14. Hi Sally. Is it possible to use this recipe (6 egg whites) & bake it in a 6 inch removable bottom pan? It doesn’t have the tube. Would it hold up or sink in the middle? Thanks

    1. Hi Maryanne, you can certainly try it but the cake won’t be very sturdy. Cupcakes or a full size angel food cake in a tube pan are best.

  15. It’s a great recipe with very detailed tutorial on the steps. My cupcakes turned out great and this is definitely the lightest and fluffiest cake I’ve ever had!

  16. Can you add freeze dried fruit in the food processor with the leftover sugar, flour, and salt? If so, how much would you add?

    1. Hi Karly, I have never tested them that way but I don’t recommend it. Extra ingredients will weigh down this very delicate batter.

      1. Thanks Sally!

  17. Inne Snijers says:

    Hi! I’m baking the angel food cupcakes right now, they seem to shrink a lot after I take them out the oven (lost about 1/3rd of their size they were when I took them out). Any ideas why this happened? Tastes good just shrinks! TIA

    1. Hi Inne, I’m glad you enjoy how these cupcakes taste! A little shrinking is completely normal and expected from these egg white-heavy cupcakes. A little more batter per cupcake could help a bit for next time though.

  18. I too love the idea of angel food cake in cupcake form! I’m wondering if I could make these in my mini Bundt cake pan instead or would they stick?

    1. Hi Darlene, While I haven’t personally tested this recipe with a mini bundt pan I don’t recommend it. For my full size Angel Food Cake you really need a tube pan, it won’t work in a bundt pan.

      1. Thanks for following up and for the advice! 🙂

  19. Hi Sally,
    Can I use caster sugar instead? Thanks

    1. Hi Lala, you can use castor sugar in this recipe.

  20. Didn’t have cupcake liners so baked in the pan. Once out of the over, turned the pan upside down to cool (propped up in corners with cans). Once cooled, ran a knife around the edge and they popped out perfectly and look great.

    Thank you!

  21. Hi Sally! Could these be made into chocolate angel food cupcakes? I am making ice cream this weekend and will have 6 whites… along with a chocoholic birthday boy. Just wanted to check!

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Peggy, we haven’t tested a chocolate variation of these cupcakes. If interested, you could serve with chocolate ganache for a chocolate touch!

      1. Thanks Hilari–great idea to use a chocolate-y topping! The mocha whipped cream seems to be calling my name… yum!!!

  22. Mindy Kingsbury says:

    I’m making these cupcakes in 2 days. Does the whipped cream frosting stand up well for a few hours once it’s piped on? Or does it fall flat and melt if not eaten immediately? Is there an option that would last longer? Sending with friends to the lake and know it will be in the car for a bit. Thanks!

    1. Hi Mindy! I find this whipped cream holds its shape fairly well when out of the refrigerator for several hours. I’ve had no problem serving them at parties and other events.

  23. The egg whites need a measurement (gram or cup). I used 6 large egg whites at room temperature, filled the cups about 2/3 full, and it made 24 cupcakes plus a mini bundt cake pan’s worth of batter, so it was basically doubled.

  24. Hi Sally, I was wondering if It would be possible to use C&H’s “baker’s sugar ultrafine” to be able to skip the blending process and possibly a whisk to aerate the ingredients? My blender recently busted and wondering if I’m still able to make this with a work around?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Falon, You shouldn’t need to pulse your ultrafine sugar and you can use your whisk the dry ingredients together. Enjoy!

  25. I followed not only the recipe but the entire blog post and all the tips EXACTLY – twice – a week apart. The second time I baked the cupcakes longer thinking that might be why they shrunk. But they shrunk again. That’s a dozen eggs wasted right there…my poor hens!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brandy, A little shrinking is completely normal and expected from these egg white-heavy cupcakes. A little more batter per cupcake could help a bit for next time though.

  26. Hey Sally,
    I want to make these cupcakes, but when you pulse the sugar in the food processor, do you pulse it until it becomes powdered sugar? Or until the sugar granules are super small?
    Also, I thought water caused egg whites to deflate when whipping them?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Huda, You want to pulse the sugar until it’s very fine (stop before it becomes powder). The cream of tartar helps to keep all of the air in the whipped egg whites!

  27. Hello! Your tips & tricks made me realize I made several mistakes right off the bat in my first attempt at Angel cake. I’ll be trying these cupcakes out later today with hopes that I’ll have more success. I’m wondering how to get lemon flavor into this recipe as I’m used to having that citrus zing in angel cake. Do I add it to the egg whites in the first whisk or add it with the vanilla.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Vanessa, We haven’t tested these with lemon flavor but you can try substituting half of the vanilla extract for lemon extract (so a half teaspoon of each).

  28. Hiya,

    Does this recipe be doubled successfully? I have tried twice and have failed both times..the cupcakes come out entiery to sticky and dense.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Chantalle, For best results we recommend making the batter TWICE instead of doubling.

      1. Thank you:)

  29. Hi Sally!
    I have been using your recipes for a while now and have been very pleased with the results I got from most of them. I decided to try and make angel food cupcakes for the first time with high hopes and I followed your instructions to a tee, however the cupcakes tasted like sweetened eggs (which was not at all appetizing) and the texture was far from fluffy but rather like meringues, sticky and chewy. I don’t know what went wrong and why it tastes so odd, do you have any recommendations for future attempts?

    1. Hi Mariam! It sounds like the cupcakes could have been under-baked if they are meringue-like and chewy. Perhaps a few extra minutes could have helped? It’s hard to say without seeing them or tasting them!

  30. I have made these so many times, and every time they are a huge hit and no left overs. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I have a question and I’m not sure if anyone has asked this.
    Can you double this? I know it’s sometimes not recommended with some recipes. Didn’t know if you have tried this.
    TIA again thank you so much for sharing this! ❤️

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jena, We are so glad these have been a hit! Hi This recipe, practically doubled, as a full angel food cake is right here: Angel Food Cake

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