Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
16 cupcakes (serving size: 1 cupcake)

Top these lemon-scented angel food cupcakes with tiny edible pansy blossoms or rosebuds for decoration. Store extra cupcakes in an airtight container, or send them home with guests as party favors.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

Place 16 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups. Set aside.

Step 3

Lightly spoon cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour and 3/4 cup powdered sugar into a medium bowl; repeat the procedure 2 times.

Step 4

Beat egg whites and salt with a mixer at high speed until frothy (about 1 minute). Add cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle flour mixture over egg white mixture, 1/4 cup at a time; fold in after each addition. Stir in vanilla and rind.

Step 5

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; let cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 6

To prepare frosting, beat butter with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended. Add milk and lemon juice; beat until fluffy. Add more lemon juice as needed to adjust the consistency. Spread 2 tablespoons lemon frosting over each cupcake. Garnish with edible pansies and rosebuds, if desired.

Chef's Notes

Sifting the flour mixture thoroughly three times incorporates the powdered sugar for a light, tender cupcake.

Ratings & Reviews

Sugar Explosions

February 05, 2017
I made these as my husband insisted that angel food cake was lighter, and therefore "healthier" choice than typical cake, but I ask myself, at what cost? Granted, I had just made a "lighter" (ha!) version of a well-known milk-bar birthday cake this past week, so I may have been spoiled by such decadence--but even that cake, with its cookie-crumb topping, was not even remotely as sweet as this angel food cake. Even after reviewing the recipe, and thinking to myself "oh, gee, this seems like a lot of sugar," I brushed off my concern to the fact that I don't typically eat, much less bake, angel food. No, I was right in thinking that the sugar content was exceptionally high. I made my usual butter cream icing, that is, salted butter with powdered sugar at the desired consistency (to be able to pipe using a star tip), with almond extract and kosher salt. I probably would not make these cupcakes again. The fact that the buttercream icing actually cut through and helped balance out the ungodly sweetness can't be a good sign, can it? I used imitation vanilla (to keep the cake white) and added sprinkles, but the imitation vanilla did nothing to counter the sweetness, and may have made things worse. Maybe use natural vanilla--or even vanilla beans, instead?Some people really like sugar-bomb sweetness, and they might really enjoy such a cake. I do not fall into that category--I fall into the "I would eat a stick of butter for dessert if it was socially (and/or medically) acceptable" type of people. The cake itself is light and fluffy, but I cannot get past the feeling that I am eating a ball of cotton candy with frosting on top. It takes me back to the 1990s, where "low fat" foods with insane quantities of sugar reigned supreme. 

gkd1029's Review

April 15, 2014

jmeleeS's Review

March 11, 2013
Just made these cupcakes over the weekend for a dinner event and overall, the cupcake turned out really nice and moist / fluffy with just a hint of lemon; exactly as expected. The icing was not my favorite - the powdered sugar just gave it a chemically flavor, so I added more lemon and then grated a strawberry into the mix. That improved the flavor, but I thought the icing was just way too sweet for these delicate cakes. You need the full two cups of sugar to stabilize the icing and get it fluffy, so I'm not sure if the icing can be "saved" from itself in this one. I would opt for a meringue or other whipped icing to replace this heavy / sugary sweet version to make these 4 or 5 star cupcakes. Also note, the cupcake wells will be full (almost overbriming), but the cakes themselves will be very small in size after bake time. Worth a go for the cake itself; pass on the icing. Enjoy!

ThedaBara's Review

July 08, 2010
I must have also done something wrong, because I ended up with flat little disks that according to my husband tasted good(but like the previous user with the same problem, looked horrible) I would like to see if anyone else has any suggestions as to why this happened? I might try this recipe again, but it does seem like an awful lot of trouble for nothing.

cssanford's Review

May 27, 2010
These were a huge hit at my gathering. My husband said that the frosting "saved" it from tasting like a lighter recipe. I thought they were good, but not too good i.e. you don't want to eat the whole plate at once. :)

elisajjohnson's Review

May 22, 2010
LOVE THIS RECIPE! It is a spring/summer must have in our house. I find it makes 24 cupcakes and I usually make a bit more frosting. Enjoy!

ang2000's Review

April 27, 2010
I made these last night. They were fantastic. I took some in to co-workers, who loved them also and wondered why I didn't bring more. I will definitely make them again, though I do not look forward to sifting the ingredients three times, but it was worth it. Next time, to reduce calories, I will try with no icing.

alynn1204's Review

November 22, 2009
I baked desserts for a friend's wedding and baked these in mini-cupcake versions. During the test run, I found the frosting to be really sweet, so when the big day came, I used more lemon (to make it more tart) and topped each mini-cupcake with a raspberry. It was a great combination of tart/sweet and was so fresh & very appropriate for a summer wedding. Would definitely make again!

JNemec's Review

May 17, 2009
Delicious, light, fluffy and simple enough for a non-baker to make. I have made these for Mother's Day repeatedly, upon request. I do not bake well or often, but I followed the recipe exactly- blending until the batter matched the required description and it worked! The frosting was too runny. I doubled, if not tripled, the powdered sugar to thicken it. Excellent results.

smith3576's Review

February 01, 2009
This was okay. I didn't think the cupcake itself had enough lemon flavor even with the full 2 tspn of lemon rind and I didn't like the frosting at all. I might try the cupcakes again with more lemon or lemon extract in the batter and a different topping.