3 February 2013

Angel Food Cupcakes

After making egg yolk ravioli the other day, I had six egg whites to use up and I've been wanting to try my hand at angel food cake for a while.


Not to be confused with the British angel cake, this is an American type of sponge cake which contains only egg whites. In my search for a recipe, I was lucky to come across this one, which I chose to make. However, I only had six egg whites, so I halved the recipe and also decided to make cupcakes rather than a big cake.

Makes 12

63 g plain flour
150 g caster sugar
180 ml egg whites
0.5 tsp cream of tartar
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
0.25 tsp almond extract


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
  2. Sift together the flour and 75 g of the caster sugar.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they go foamy, then add the cream of tartar, salt and lemon juice.
  4. Continue whisking to soft peak stage, then add the remaining 75 g caster sugar, a little at a time while beating to the stiff peak stage. Add the vanilla and almond extracts towards the end.
  5. Now sift the flour-sugar mixture into the meringues, a quarter at a time, and fold in quickly but carefully.
  6. Equally carefully transfer the batter into a piping bag and pipe into the muffin cases. Level the top of the muffins with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, check for readiness with a toothpick, it should come out clean. Take the muffins out of the muffin tin and let cool down on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, they can be decorated into cupcakes.

I did measure the egg whites I had, they were from medium sized eggs and they worked out to a little more than 180 ml, maybe 185 ml, I put them all in.


In other recipe instructions, it usually says to only fill the muffin cases about three-quarters. My muffin tin takes 12 cases, so I distributed all of the batter because I didn't fancy baking a second muffin tin with just one case in it. This meant that the cases were a little over-filled and I had some concerns about them running over during baking, they certainly ballooned very nicely.

The original recipe said to let the cake cool upside-down so that it doesn't sink back in and I was wondering how I could do this with the much smaller muffins. In the end I just let them stand on the wire rack. They did sink back and went almost level. My thinking was that a larger cake has more soft interior relative to the baked surface, so would be more prone to collapsing.


I hadn't planned to glaze the muffins, but we had guests in the afternoon and I thought it would be nice to have them glazed. I had some lemon curd in the fridge and I heated it up in a bain marie and spread a dollop on each muffin. Not too pretty, but combined rather well, flavour-wise.


The muffins were very pale inside, but of course there were no yolks or butter to add colour. The crumb was very fine, I didn't think it would be, I had a feeling I still managed to trap some air bubbles while piping into the muffin cases. They did crack on the surface though, I think just one of the 12 didn't. Perhaps baking at a lower temperature might avoid this, but the risk is that they would end up with thicker crust. They were also very light and fluffy and one could easily think they're less unhealthy than regular muffins, hi, hi. Lundulph had three in a row, "just to make sure" as he said.

So on the whole, this is a fabulous recipe I think and the amounts above are good. What I was a bit surprised about was that the cakes were rather sticky to the touch, once the paper cases were peeled off, I didn't expect that. But the original recipe instructions said not to over-bake or the cake would go chewy and I didn't want that.

There was also a casualty - my sieve broke, which is a bit annoying, it was a good one, but without it's handle, I will need an extra arm to hold it while using it.


Update 21 September 2014:
To celebrate reaching a milestone at work, I decided to bake these for work. However, I decided to flavour them with orange instead of lemon. So instead of lemon juice, I used ½ tsp of orange extract. Now, the one I got from the shop is based on rape oil, so needs to be added at the end of mixing the meringue. I also used orange curd for the glazing on top.

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