Angel Food Cupcakes
Angel food cupcakes are the cupcake version of the famous angel food cake. Like angel food cake, the cupcakes are light and airy, made by incorporating beaten egg whites into the batter. They are perfect for a summer treat or any time that you are in the mood for a lighter dessert.
In both cake and cupcake format, angel food is sweet and spongy and wonderful when served with fresh whipped cream and berries.
Angel food cake is part of a group of cakes called foam cakes. Foam cakes are composed of flour, sugar, eggs, and flavoring. They contain no chemical leavening agents. Cakes that fall into this category include chocolate angel food cake, chiffon cake, and tres leches cake. (See my post on angel food cake vs. chiffon cake for more on this subject.)
This recipe uses superfine sugar, also known as caster sugar. Superfine sugar is, just as the name implies, a very finely ground sugar. Because it is so fine, it helps to keep the cupcakes nice and light. If you don’t want to buy a a whole package of superfine sugar, you can grind regular granulated sugar in a food processor for a few minutes to create your own superfine sugar.
You’ll also need cake flour. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to use cake flour when you want a lighter cupcake. I use cake flour in my vanilla cupcake recipe for that very reason. If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute with all-purpose flour, but the cupcakes will be a little more dense.
Also, make sure to have a full dozen eggs on hand for this recipe. It gets all of its lift from the whipped egg whites. Use the egg yolks for something else like orange curd or freeze them to use in the future.
How It’s Made
Start by mixing together some of the sugar with cake flour and salt. Set this aside – you’ll use it soon.
Next, whisk egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar until it gets frothy. Then, slowly mix in sugar.
Keep beating until the mixture looks like a fluffy white cloud (medium peaks). They should not be glossy like stiff peaks. Using cream of tartar helps the egg whites hold their shape.
Dust the top of the foam with a little bit of the flour mixture and, using a spatula, gently fold it in. Keep folding in a little bit at a time until it’s all incorporated. The goal here is to incorporate the flour mixture without losing all the air in the batter. Never use an electric mixer to add the flour mixture at risk of deflating the egg whites.
Fill cupcake liners almost all of the way to the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
When ready to serve, top with sweetened whipped cream (chantilly cream) and fresh berries.
Expert Tips and FAQs
Make sure that the egg whites are at medium peaks. If there isn’t enough air incorporated into the egg whites, the cupcakes will be too dense.
I like to use baking cups [paid link] for this recipe rather than traditional cupcake liners. They will give you the look you see above, however either will work.
Of course, store-bought whipped cream is the easiest topping for these. I recommend making your own, though, from the recipe below. But, my favorite is to make strawberry whipped cream. It’s so good on everything! Then, you can top with fresh berries or even pineapple slices.
If you want to play up the idea of the angel in angel food cupcakes, you can even give your cupcakes angel wings made of cookies. You can find the cookie cutters on Amazon [paid link]. If you try this idea, don’t put the cookies on the cupcakes until just before serving, otherwise they will collapse.
It is so much better if you add the the whipped cream just before serving. I would save that part until the last minute.
They last one week at room temperature in an airtight container.
Angel Food Cupcakes
- 1 3/4 cups superfine sugar
- 1 cup cake flour not self-rising
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 large egg whites room temperature
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Vanilla Whipped Cream Ingredients
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- berries optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine one cup of the sugar with the cake flour and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar until frothy.
- Slowly mix in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar.
- Keep beating until the mixture looks like a fluffy white cloud (medium peaks).
- Dust the top of the foam with a little bit of the flour mixture and, using a spatula, gently fold it in.
- Continue adding flour and gently folding it in until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
- Fill cupcake liners almost all of the way to the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting Instructions
- Whip heavy whipping cream until it looks like whipped cream.
- Mix in vanilla extract and sugar until just combined.
- Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
- Optionally, top with fresh berries.
- If you don’t want to buy a a whole package of superfine sugar, you can grind regular granulated sugar in a food processor for a few minutes to create your own superfine sugar.
- If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute with all-purpose flour, but the cupcake will be a little more dense.
- Finally, it is very important to GENTLY fold the flour mixture into the beaten egg whites. Never use an electric mixer to add the flour mixture at risk of deflating the egg whites.
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