Up until yesterday, I pretty much figured I would never make angel food cake at home. There has always been something about the snowy white sponge cake that just didn’t seem right to me. There’s no butter in the recipe, so it can’t taste that good, right?
I would see angel food cake at the grocery store and it often looked as if it would taste like Styrofoam. I would see it on every ‘healthy dessert’ list and my brain had permanently labeled it ‘diet cake.’ Diet cake is not something I’m interested in. When I have cake, I want it to count.
Enter: five leftover egg whites in my fridge. What’s a girl to do? I could use them for an egg white omelette, but that seemed too ‘meh’ for me (Sidebar: is meh an acceptable way to describe things?). I could make French macarons, but, then again, they are my baking kryptonite and I wasn’t in the mood for a mental breakdown.
Within an hour, I had decided to make angel food cupcakes and all but fell in love.
I think you’ll swoon over each pillow-soft, ultra spongy bite of these. The cake is as light as air with a definite chewiness and just enough golden brown crispiness on the outside to keep things interesting. Pair these with creamy, vanilla bean speckled whipped cream and berries, and you’ll forget all that ‘diet cake’ talk from earlier… unless you want to use it as an excuse to have two!
I made this quick video to try to show you the squishiness of the cake… it’s so squishy!
Recipe for pillow soft, snow white, squishy jumbo angel food cupcakes topped with sweet and creamy whipped cream topping and fresh berries.
- 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold and well-shaken
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- fresh berries, for serving (optional)
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease the holes of a jumbo muffin tin and set aside. You may use paper liners if you’d like, just spray the inside of each liner as well.
- In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt so that there are no clumps. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add the granulated sugar—a little at a time until—you’ve added the entire 1/2 cup. Increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until the peaks are stiff and very shiny, about 5 minutes. (To check if it is ready: turn off the mixer and when the whisk pulls away from the mixture, the peaks should hold their form.) Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Remove the bowl from the stand.
- Add a third of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and gently fold together with a spatula until it is incorporated. With gentle motions, fold in another third of the flour until incorporated and then fold in the final third. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with the spatula to make sure all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the muffin molds to loosen the edges and transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.
- Make the whipped cream when you are ready to serve. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cold cream on medium speed until frothy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until fluffy and thick. When you stop the mixer, the whipped cream should hold its form.
- Top the cooled cupcakes with the whipped cream and serve immediately.
adapted from Alton Brown