Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

Grapefruit Angel Food Cupcakes

Light as feather, delicate and citrusy, these grapefruit angel food cupcakes are perfect springtime dessert.

Light as feather, delicate and citrusy, these grapefruit angel food cupcakes are perfect springtime dessert.

Ah, how much I want to run out of my house in shorts and tank top, screaming “Hello, Spring! Hello, Sun!” We were teased last Saturday with an incredibly nice day (we took full advantage and hiked 5 miles in the badlands!). But this morning, we woke up to snow covered winter wonderland. So much for getting excited for spring, for warm sunny weather…

Light as feather, delicate and citrusy, these grapefruit angel food cupcakes are perfect springtime dessert.

Oh well, let’s just pretend that it’s all nice and sunny outside, because we have these beautiful, totally spring-y cupcakes here! These cupcakes are so light, so airy, so summer-y! They are flavored with sweet and tangy grapefruit and topped with equally light and fluffy whipped cream, infused with orange liquor. Orange liquor, guys!

Light as feather, delicate and citrusy, these grapefruit angel food cupcakes are perfect springtime dessert.

To achieve perfectly airy light texture, so characteristic to angel food cake, I would like to share a few tips. It’s not hard to make these dreamy light cupcakes, but understanding the importance of the main ingredients will help you to bake perfect cupcakes every time.

  1. Cake flour is essential for light and fluffy cupcakes. Cake flour, compared to all-purpose flour, is not only finer, but it also has lower protein amount, which yields tender and light cupcakes.
  1. Delicate angel food cake rises so tall and beautiful, and, surprisingly, it doesn’t have any leavening agent, like baking soda or baking powder. The secret to this is beating the egg whites into a meringue and stabilizing them with cream of tartar. Yes, the main leaving agent in this cake is whipped egg whites. I’ve shared detailed tips for foolproof meringue here in this post, so let’s talk about cream of tartar now.
    So, what is that mysterious fine white powder that we put into the egg whites? Well, interestingly, it’s a salt of tartaric acid that is produced during wine fermentation. It basically creates a crust in wine barrels that’s scraped off after the fermentation process and used in baking. Cream of tartar stabilizes the egg whites, creating stronger meringue, which in return, creates beautifully tall and light cake. If you ever wondered how angel food cake is always snowy white, here is another secret: 1. The cake doesn’t contain any egg yolks. (Duh.) 2. The main reason is that the acid in cream of tartar bleaches the cake creating pillow-y white cake.
  1. Another absolutely important ingredient is sugar! A friend of mine once told me that she always fails to make perfect angel food cake. Then, she asked me how to cut down on sugar. I told her, you can’t. Sugar is essential for both taste and texture of the cake. Without sufficient sugar, the cake simply won’t rise properly. Don’t skimp on sugar, and remember, there is no butter or fat in this cake! 🙂

Grapefruit angel food cupcakes- step by step photo instruction

And one more tip. Remember, when we make angel food cake, we bake it in ungreased cake pan? That’s because during baking, the batter clings to ungreased sides of the pan to rise and stay tall. The same thing happens with cupcakes. Though, we fill the cupcake cups to the top and it doesn’t rise any taller than that, it still has to cling to the sides in order to bake nice and fluffy and stay that way. During my testing, I tried using cake liners, but, unfortunately, during cooling process, the cupcakes shrink into tiny cupcakes. So, my solution was to line the cupcake cups only on the bottom, thoroughly cool the baked cupcakes in the pan, then carefully remove the cooled cupcakes and place them in the pretty cupcake liners. Perfectly fluffy, light and full cupcakes with beautiful golden crust!

Are you still with me? I applaud you for staying with me through this long post.

Light as feather, delicate and citrusy, these grapefruit angel food cupcakes are perfect springtime dessert.

Now, jump into the kitchen and whip up these beauties! Thanks so much for reading!

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Grapefruit Angel Food Cupcakes

Light as feather, delicate and citrusy, these grapefruit angel food cupcakes are perfect springtime dessert.

Yield: 12

Prep Time:15 min

Cook Time:15 min

Total Time:30 min


For Cupcakes:

  • ½ cup (60gr) cake flour
  • ½ cup (100gr) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • ½ tablespoon grapefruit zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • ½ cup (120ml) heavy cream, cold
  • ¼ cup (50gr) sugar
  • ½ tablespoon grapefruit zest
  • 2 teaspoons orange liquor, such as Grand Marnier
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Grapefruit segments cut into small pieces for decorating


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Cut out 12 small circles out of parchment paper and line the bottom of muffin pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cake flour, ¼ cup of sugar and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the egg whites in mixing bowl with whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat gradually increasing the speed to medium-high. When the mixture gets pretty white, add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue to beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Add grapefruit juice and zest, vanilla extract and beat until combined, about a minute.
  4. Add the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the batter until smooth. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Completely cool the cupcakes in the pan. Then run a butter knife around the edges to remove the cupcakes from the pan. Place the cupcakes into decorative cupcake liners, if desired.
  5. To make the frosting, beat the heavy cream in a mixing bowl with whisk attachment until slightly thickened. Then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat on medium high speed until hard peaks form. Stir in the grapefruit zest, orange liquor and vanilla extract. Transfer into a piping bag, or zip lock bag with one end cut, and frost the cupcakes right before serving. Decorate with grapefruit pieces, if desired.

Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days.

All images and text ©Shinee D. for Sweet & Savory by Shinee


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  1. Hi Shinee, this would be a great contribution to Food on Friday: Eggs over at Carole’s Chatter. Please do bring it over to join in the fun. Cheers

  2. This looks refreshingly delicious!  Would love to have you share it on the What’s for Dinner linky.

  3. Grapefruit is my favorite citrus and the intensity would be a perfect pairing with the lightness of angel food cake. Featuring these tomorrow night at our Best of the Weekend Link Party! Thanks for linking up and for such a detailed post! I love that you took the time to outline all of the steps to make sure this recipe works for people. 

  4.  My daughter would love to trade places with you. She was so disappointed that we didn’t get snow this year. Well at least you have these pretty and I’m sure delicious cupcakes to devour.

  5. Hi Shinee!   So, even if I use those aluminiun foil liners, it won’t work?  I am kind wondering how I will remove them from the cupcake pan w/o messing them up.



    • I haven’t tried aluminum foil liners, so not quite sure. It might work fine, as long as you don’t spray any cooking spray. Good luck, and let me know if you try these with foil liners.

  6. Hi Shinee!  Gosh girl, you rock!!!  I love your blog!

  7. Oh my I just love angle food cake and I bet it tastes just wonderful with your citrus spin!

  8. Hello gorgeous! I love seeing your masterpieces.Thank you for bringing such great things to our party. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm.. Lou Lou Girls

  9. Growing up I was never a huge fan of grapefruit but recently I’ve seen so many recipes that look soooooo delicious and I want to try. Definitely adding these cupcakes to that list!

  10. These look so delicious and are also very pretty. I used to hate grapefruit but have recently rediscovered it- thank you for sharing!

    I stopped by from Whimsy Wednesday.

  11. These just scream summer to me! Yummy!

  12. I’m not of a cake lover, but angel food cake is another story altogether – it is the BEST – and I love that grapefruit

  13. These are just TOO pretty! And what a flavour combination. Thanks so much for linking these up to the Pretty Pintastic Party!

  14. Sounds dreamy. Grapefruit is such a underestimated fruit!

    I hope you will share your recipe with our Link Up – Idea box:



  15. When do you mixed in the dry ingredients? You didn’t say there. Thanks! 

  16. These grapefruit cupcakes look amazing! I love the combination!

  17. I have never tried angel food cake (nor devils food cake) but have heard about them heaps with all my watching of American TV. Such an interesting tip about not greasing the pan.

  18. These cupcakes look divine! I love angel food cake – light, fluffy and very delicious. I really like the grapefruit flavour here! 

  19. I didn’t realise cake flour made such a difference! I learn something everyday.

    Aren’t these absolutely adorable?? Going straight onto my cupcake board! 🙂

  20. These cupcakes look so good, thanks for the tips on how to make perfect angel cake! Just pinned these beauties too! 🙂

  21. Waking up to snow isn’t necessarily a bad thing? Hang in there and in the meantime, you have these fabulous angel food cupcakes! love the tip on lining the cupcake cups only on the bottom!! just like a cake! love it!!! and these are gorgeous! 

  22. I’ve never thought of using grapefruit in baking, but it’s such a good idea. Grapefruit is one of my favorite types of citrus. When you pair it with angel food cake…irresistible. This is definitely my type of dessert.