Summer seems to beg for lighter options and these Angel Food Cupcakes are serving with their light and airy texture and soft, creamy whipped topping. There are several recipes for Angel Food cupcakes floating around and I’ve tried quite a few over the years, however I always seem to be disappointed with the lack of flavor and/or volume that I believe these should have. Whether making an angel food cake or angel food cupcakes, there should be a sweet, delicious, and rich flavor of vanilla (or almond) coming through and the cake itself should be soft, fluffy but substantial. This recipe has simple ingredients, but it is the process that can be difficult and achieving ideal texture and flavor isn’t easy but it's a challenge I was willing to take on! The results were not disappointing and I’m going to share a few tips and tricks that will make these great cupcakes to bake again and again.
Now about those ingredients-here’s what we’re working with:
Super-fine sugar. Granulated sugar is processed into a super-fine sugar that is going to be light enough to aid the egg whites and keep them from deflating into the batter. If you do not want to process the granulated sugar by pulsing it in a food processor, I recommend trying Domino’s extra fine granulated sugar or Baker’s Special Sugar by King Arthur. Judee’s makes a super-fine caster sugar that is also the desired texture for this recipe and is easy to use. I strongly recommend making the effort to simply process your granulated sugar for this as you can control how fine the sugar is without risk.
Cake flour. It’s ideal for any cake recipe, precisely white or vanilla cakes and especially for angel food cake given its light and bouncy texture. If you’re short on cake flour, here’s how you can supplement all-purpose flour for this recipe: Measure the required ½ cup of flour, using all-purpose flour (I like to use the spoon and level method here). Remove 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour from that ½ cup and replace it with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (or arrowroot powder). Whisk to combine. When it comes to the dry ingredients, it’s important to sift them for this recipe. A bit of extra work, yes, but well worth it. Sifting the dry ingredients maintains a lighter and airier formation to the cupcakes and encourages them to bake in a fluffier fashion. We want big, we want fluffy here!
Egg Whites & Cream of tartar. Make sure not to over-mix the batter while folding the egg whites and batter together. Whipping the egg whites help to give the cupcakes their rise and the cream of tartar works to keep the air bubbles in place, maintaining the volume within each cupcake.
For the topping. I’ve topped mine with a vanilla whipped topping that is lighter than typical frosting or buttercream. Other frosting can very well be used here, and I have some great buttercream recipes you may want to try but do keep in mind that this may create top heavy cupcakes. You could also sprinkle them with some powdered sugar or a drizzle of caramel or any other syrup. Top with fresh berries or fruit, sprinkles-the possibilities are endless here.
Let's get baking!
ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup cake flour
⅛ (a pinch) of fine sea salt
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon warm water
¾ teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the whipped topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
In a food processor, add the granulated sugar and process until it becomes very fine until it reaches an almost powdery consistency. Remove ½ cup of the sugar and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift cake flour, salt, and remaining ¼ cup sugar together and whisk to combine.
In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites, warm water, and cream of tartar on medium to low speed until frothy (about 1 minute). Increase the speed to medium and gradually add the ½ cup of reserved sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until a stiff peak forms (about 4 or 5 minutes).
Slowly sift a quarter of the flour mixture into the egg whites and gently fold until just combined. Continue this process with the remaining flour mixture.
Divide batter into cupcake liners evenly, about ⅔ full. Use a small spatula to gently spread the batter evenly at the tops of each cupcake to ensure an even bake.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
For the topping:
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium to high speed until a stiff peak forms (about 3 minutes). The topping will be a bit softer than typical frosting and can be piped onto each cupcake or dressed using an offset spatula.