Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Early morning bike rides are probably one of my favorite things. Around 7:00am, the streets begin to fill with commuters, joggers, dog walkers, and the like. But at 6:00am, they are so quiet. Lights at usually busy intersections blink red and yellow. People on the sidewalk nod and say hello. I coast through stop signs, slow down to ogle gardens, and try to get the attention of the occasional cat wandering the streets. (NB: My research indicates that cats do not respond well to strangers on bicycles.)

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Last summer, morning bike rides were a necessity, being my only form of transportation from J’s apartment back to my own. I’d ride most of the way on a road called Riverside Drive which does, indeed, run alongside a river. This sounds nice in theory, but the river was actually out of sight for most of the ride. Additionally, there was a half-mile gradual uphill climb; something that doesn’t seem all that bad until you realize you’re out of shape, which is probably why you’ve slowed down to the pace of a casual jog and are currently [and unsuccessfully] attempting to stifle the pathetic gasping sounds that have replaced your normal breathing. And at this point, you’re only halfway up the hill. On these rides home, there was a Dunkin’ Donuts that served as my beacon of hope. First, because it stood right where the hill leveled out. But second, and most importantly, because the smell of hundreds of doughnuts was probably one of the few things capable of eclipsing the stench of the wastewater treatment plant, which was located at the beginning of my uphill climb. After sucking wastewater wind for almost half a mile, sweet doughnut air is pretty much tops.

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

This year, a.m. bike rides are recreational. (Actually, they could still be considered a necessity, as I’d say it’s pretty necessary that I whip my butt out of winter relationship shape and into summer single lady shape!) But they’re still the highlight of my morning, providing me with some peaceful outdoorsy time before I spend the majority of my day tethered to a computer. After a northeast winter that always seems to last far too long, I go crazy for doing anything and everything, as long as it involves walking or biking.

The warm weather has also brought on my cravings for lighter foods. (Did that feel like an acceptable segue? I had an especially enjoyable bike ride this morning, and it put me in the mood to talk ALL about my recent biking history.) Anyway! Now we’re going to talk about important things: CAKE. Angel food is one of my favorite types of cake, overall. But it is my most favorite dessert in the summertime, especially when accompanied by fresh berries and whipped cream (or some heady vanilla ice cream on an especially hot day). And if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have already seen the awesome sample pack of spices that Reese and Mark of Season with Spice sent me from their new spice shop. Everything looks and smells wonderful, but I was particularly excited about the lemongrass powder, and finding a way to incorporate it into some sort of baked good. I also had a jar of coconut sugar from Old Salt Merchants, and I decided that it would be excellent if the two joined forces in some sort of frosting.

lemongrass powder by Season with Spice

coconut sugar by Old Salt Merchants

The whipped cream with the lemongrass and a hint of coconut worked so well with these little cupcakes. Everything about them is light and airy, and especially awesome with the freshness of the lemongrass. Now, I realize that not everyone has these ingredients on hand, so I’ve offered up some alternatives for flavoring the whipped cream below. Of course, you can always purchase the lemongrass powder here, and the coconut sugar here. (And give a look through both shops while you’re there! Both have lots of other great goodies.)

This recipe makes around 16 little cupcakes when all is said and done. They will come out of the oven at normal size, but deflate as they cool. I don’t believe there is a way around this if you use cupcake wrappers. You could always try adding the batter to the pan sans wrappers, and then inverting the whole tin when they’ve finished baking as you would with a standard angel food cake tin, but I can’t say whether or not this would actually work. (I’ve tried baking angel food cupcakes sans wrappers before and totally mutilated them while attempting to get them out of the pan, but that was also a long time ago, so I may not have know what I was doing.) If you haven’t read about the intricacies of baking angel food cake, I highly recommend checking out Willow’s post on the matter. If you do figure out a way to keep the cupcakes normal cupcake size, you will want to double the frosting recipe below.

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Alternative whipped cream flavoring methods:

  • Roughly chop a 2-inch bit of lemongrass. Let infuse in the cream overnight, then strain out before whipping.
  • The teeniest dash of coconut extract. (A little goes a long way, and I liked having a subtle coconut flavor in this recipe.)
  • Half lemongrass infused whipped cream and half coconut whipped cream. (Just make sure to whip the two separately, then fold them together.)

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

(adapted from Cooking Classy)

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 egg whites, at room temp
  • 2 1/2 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with wrappers.

Pulse sugar in a food processor for a couple minutes, until super-fine. (Alternatively, you can use caster sugar.) Divide sugar in half. Sift together flour, half of the sugar, and salt. Repeat sifting two more times, then set aside.

Whisk together egg whites, water, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract in a large stainless steel (or copper if you’ve got it, fancy pants) bowl until well combined. Use a hand mixer to beat whites at a medium speed, gradually add in the other half of the sugar, until medium peaks form. Dust the top of the egg whites with the flour mixture, then carefully fold in. Repeat until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.

Spoon batter into muffin wrappers, filling each on to nearly the top. Bake for approximately 18 minutes, or until tops have begun to brown and are springy to the touch. Let cool completely, then frost.

Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 cup of chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp of coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp of lemongrass powder

Whip cream in a medium bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed. When soft peaks form, add sugar and lemongrass powder. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

Angel Food Cupcakes with Coconut-Lemongrass Whipped Cream


  1. says

    Such a coincidence you posted this, as I just took an angel food cake out of the oven. It is inverted and cooling as I type. I was trying to think of what to pair with it, and I usually like fruit and something creamy. The coconut-lemongrass whipped cream sounds so good, if only I knew where to find lemongrass powder right now! I may have to order some to play with at a future date. I love the idea of baby angel cakes. They look so cute and light.

    • says

      Yes! Great minds think alike. :D

      I loved these little cakes. I didn’t even mind that they deflated, because it made them all uniquely misshapen, which only added to their cuteness. And they’re like two-bite little cakes, which means I can justify eating two in a sitting!

  2. says

    Carey…your photos take my breath away. They make me want to run my finger over the top of those cupcakes and have a taste! ;) I love those flavors…coconut and lemongrass and cannot wait to make these! I’ve never heard of lemongrass powder! Such a great find! As always…beautiful!

    • says

      Thank you, Caroline! (I am kind of terrible at frosting cupcakes. I got one to actually look just the way I wanted it, so I decided to pretty much focus on that one the whole time.) ;)

      And lemongrass powder — who knew, right?! That was one that I specifically requested, just because I was SO curious. It did not disappoint!

  3. says

    I cycle to school every day, at around 8 am, and I love it so much! Cycling is the best :) It’s so nice, now that the weather has finally perked up a bit, not to have to wear a winter coat and have the whole super-hot-body v.s. freezing-cold face and hands dilemma that I deal with in the winter :/

    But yes, CAKE. Oh man, I want to make angel food cake so much (I’ve never had it before. I don’t even know how, it’s just never happened. The closest I’ve had is Swiss roll type cake). I even bought a tray of mini tube pans (for $1!!!!!!) in a thrift store and lugged it back from the US last summer, but I haven’t used it yet. You are also making me extremely jealous with that coconut infused sugar. I can’t even get coconut extract in the UK. So sad. Why does Britain have to hate coconut? It’s not fairrrr.

    Oh and I think the cupcakes look SO cute because of how they’ve flattened out and shrunk a little, just adorable :)

    • says

      Omg, if ever there was a situation in which dessert teleportation technology was absolutely necessary, it is THIS ONE RIGHT NOW. I would stop everything I was doing and make/send you an angel food cake. (Actually, I’d probably wait until tomorrow and then just buy an entire cake from the girl at our weekend farmers’ market, because she makes the most delicious angel food cakes ever. She usually has either one with espresso and chocolate bits in it, or one with lavender icing.) They are THE BEST. I don’t think a dessert has ever been more appropriately named, because they do taste like something that would be eaten by heavenly beings. They are so ridiculously light and delicious. And my favorite part is when they get the semi-caramelized meringue-like bits on the edges from baking. Ahhhh!! You must eat some asap!

      And yay, another biker! (I love that you call it cycling — that sounds way better. “Biker” just makes me think of burly dudes on motorcycles. Ahh, US English.) After I wrote all that stuff about my bike rides, I was like, “hmmm……there will be other people who totally dig this, and then there will be other people who just read a whole bunch of words about something they don’t care about at all.” ;) I ride my bike for as long as I possibly can into the fall, and by the end I’m usually wearing several sweaters and gloves and a giant scarf. I see people riding around here all through the winter, which I would be afraid to do, especially since this city is filled with hills and the roads get so snowy and icy.

  4. says

    That lemongrass powder is such a beautiful color! It sounds amazing, especially with coconut sugar whipped cream and fluffy angel food cake. I’m not much of a cake person, but OH MY GOD I WANT ONE NOW. :)

    • says

      Isn’t it?? I couldn’t get over how awesomely lemongrass-y it smelled and tasted. (I never know what to expect from dried ingredients, especially for something with such a fresh flavor.) I’m dreaming about all of the savory things I can use it for, like rubs on fish or a spice in dressings. Oh man, it’s going to be awesommmmee. :D

      I don’t usually go too crazy for cake, but angel food cake is definitely the exception. It’s so fluffy and sugary!! :)

      • says

        Oooh, yes! A lemongrass rub for fish sounds AWESOME! I can never seem to get enough lemongrass flavor from the fresh stuff. That powder is a brilliant solution. I’ll try to get my hands on some. :)

          • says


            Popped in a little bit of coconut oil too! Maybe with some sriracha sea salt? Ok, I’m DYING. (I cannot wait to get back to VT so I can try this! I could probably find coconut oil if I drove 40 minutes to the closest natural foods store, but definitely not lemongrass powder!)

  5. says

    Carey! These sound amazing and the photos are gorgeous per usual. That said I finally bought some buckwheat so I can whip up some of your pancakes. I love anything buckwheat.

    • says

      Thank you, Anika! I have another plan to combine the forces of your sugar and the SwS spices, as there was a cardamom cola recipe in a previous issue of Imbibe that called for coconut sugar, and I got some black cardamom pods in my sample pack from Reese and Mark. It’s going to be awesome! :)

      (Also, the name mix-up happens ALL the time, do not worry! I blame my parents, for giving me an oddly spelled [and apparently male!] name. I had to tack this onto my comment after I started following you in instagram, and realized that the fact that my IG name is careynotcarrie makes it extra funny.) ;)

      • says

        Cardamom cola sounds amazing! Can’t wait to see it.

        I emailed you earlier this AM about your instagram account. Made me smile! And I absolutely understand being a girl named Anika raised in the Midwest to Jim and Janet parents. Have a great weekend!

  6. says

    These cupcakes look like a total delight from the angel food cupcake to that perfect combination of coconut and lemongrass in the frosting. Can’t wait to give these a whirl!

  7. says

    These cupcakes sound incredible and I would imagine a whipped coconut lemongrass topping would be heavenly. Your photos are so stunning!

  8. says

    Wow, oh wow. I’m glad you like to bike through town…I’m adjusting to doing the same, and it’s fine now when school isn’t in session, but when school starts again I’m going to freak out. The roads clog with cars! I have some lemongrass powder that a friend brought back for me from Cambodia. I’ve never used it! We’re deciding what my birthday cake will be this year-the guy has made me a cake each year since we’ve started dating, and I’ve been thinking about something white-cake based with coconut and lime. He suggested angel food, but we don’t have a tube pan. Did you see the new Cook’s Illustrated when they show what a chiffon cake baked in a regular cake pan looks like? It’s real gross. Anyway, I thought angel food was out. I’m going to show him these and see what he thinks. He’ll bake me whatever I want! I think you’ve saved my birthday!

    • says

      Ooooo, I didn’t see that. Was it all unevenly baked and weird in the center? It was so funny watching these little cupcakes bake up perfectly, then collapse back down into miniature sizes. I’m convinced that it must be possible to make them stay normal size if you don’t use wrappers and invert the muffin tin. (Who knows how long I waited for them to cool the one time I tried it. Who even knows if I actually inverted the muffin tin! It was so long ago. I just remember trying to get them out of the tin with a butter knife, and them just collapsing into sad little misshapen blobs.)

      And that is so sweet that Kevin makes you cakes every year! A white cake with coconut and lime would be heavenly, especially if it was an angel food cake base! (Ugh, pun so not intended……but I’m leaving it in.)

      Biking in traffic is so nerve-wracking. Sometimes it’s kind of fun being on high-alert, but it’s never not kind of scary. (My idea of a perfect biking locale has been constructed almost entirely from the Anne of Green Gables movies, so I probably need to move to Prince Edward Island and get a cruiser bike. And a great hat.)

  9. says

    I love the stillness of the early morning – I go to the gym before work and although it’s indoors, the walk there is so calming and really sets me up for the day. These cupcakes make me want to reach right into the screen and scoop a lick of frosting off with my finger – as I can’t do that I guess I’ll just have to make my own!

    • says

      Thank you, Jehanne! It’s funny — I used to dislike anything and everything that was coconut-based, and only finally got over it once I started eating curries and Thai food several years ago. It still amazes me that my tastes did a total 180°!

  10. says

    6am bike rides sound awesome in theory, but there is no way I could get myself out the door at that hour. How do you do it!? I’m one of those 8-hour-a-night need-my-beauty-sleep types and would probably have to go to bed every night at 9. I’m also not really a biker, although occasionally I can be coaxed into 40 mile rides (actually, that was totally unexpected yesterday. My friend told me nothing about our route.)

    Bike rides aside, summer is also the perfect time for angel food cupcakes! My mom used to make angel food cake all the time when I was growing up. I still remember helping her find the cream of tartar in the baking aisle and watching the cake gently deflate after it came out of the oven. I haven’t eaten it since, but this post brings back the best cake memories. They’re one of my forgotten favorites. Although we never ate it with any kind of accompaniment (well, occasionally macerated strawberries I guess, but rarely). Lemongrass coconut whipped cream, another innovative flavor combo of yours, sounds delicious though! And I love a simple whipped cream frosting; it sounds like it’d go so well with light-as-air desserts.

    • says

      Hehe! Oh man, the whole working from home thing has turned my body into a machine that is governed entirely by sunlight. In the summer, I wake up crazy early. (Like around 5:00am most days.) And then I can barely drag myself out of bed in the winter. :P And whoa, I still can’t believe you did that 40-mile ride! I guess it helps when you don’t know how far you’re going until you’re already en route. :)

      I love that your mom made angel food cake all the time! It’s funny, I’m pretty sure my mom rarely, if ever, made it, and yet it’s both my and my brother’s favorite type of cake, by a mile. It honestly doesn’t even need any sort of accompaniment, which isn’t something I can say for most cakes!

  11. says

    you’re the 2nd person to mention biking and now i feel like i should get on this. running is not doing it for me…

    with regards to these cupcakes, i would be able to devour the cakes themselves as they are dairy free, and i probably would sneak a tiny tiny lick of the frosting. when you eat cupcakes, do you break them in half and sandwich the icing in between the cakes? that’s what dw does whereas i like to try to shove the entire thing in my mouth hole. my face is a mess but at least just one hand is dirty.

    • says

      Hahaha, you and I definitely practice the same cupcake eating methods! I have a friend that does the cupcake sandwich thing. It seems like a good idea, but I picture losing precious cupcake crumbs during the initial break, and I just can’t bear it. I’d rather stuff the whole thing in my face to ensure that nothing escapes.

      I used to run a lot in high school for soccer, and I think I understand how people could love it, but it just doesn’t seem like the thing for me either (especially in a city, where I feel like people are staring at me constantly). I’m addicted to the speed that comes with biking. I rode mountain bikes throughout my childhood and college, so getting a road bike was a revelation. I can go SO FAST. :)

  12. says

    OH OH OH! Angel Food Cake is my favorite favorite favorite. It’s so light and summery. Your photos are gorgeous, as usual!

    Also, I love early morning walks. Mostly because, as you mentioned, there is always a huge hill. I live at the top of a ridiculous hill and while it totally sucks on a bike, it’s just part of the relaxing journey on a walk.

    • says

      Thank you, Shelly!

      Oh man, Burlington is basically one giant hill, and I live about halfway up it. I have these strategic routes planned out where I can ride up a couple of smallish, gradual hills so I don’t have to deal with anything steep on my 10-speed. (I tried it once, when I was at the height of my summer biking shape and feeling super confident. BIG MISTAKE.) If I had to deal with anything steeper, I’d definitely be turning my morning bike rides into walks. :)

  13. says

    Wow – I love the frosting, so unique in flavor. I haven’t tried angel food cake in a cupcake, but it looks like a must now.

    Beautiful post and beautiful blog. I love your work.

  14. says

    I have been admiring these from my phone all weekend long, and am so happy to finally be back at a computer to comment! (I hate typing more than 3 sentences on my iPhone, I have really chubby fingertips and always have issues with the touchscreen. I am probably the only one of our generation who longs for the days of the button-keypads). These sound just perfect for the heat! I love my sweets, but very much agree that once the heat starts, I definitely want something lighter, and angel food fits the bill perfectly, as does this what-the-what-AMAZING coconut lemon grass whipped cream topping!!! I think I need to put lemon grass in all things now, as I am slowly learning how wonderfully diverse it is. I have a half stalk in my freezer, I might just finely grate it and try to recreate this. Or I could wait until I get a dehydrator…but let’s face it, these sound freaking fantastic and I am NOT that patient when it comes to delicious foods I could eat.

    And yes, it is definitely time to get back into shape after the long and lazy winter. You are much more motivated than I am, though. I used to have a strict routine where I’d run at 7 am every day, but then my schedule started getting weird and I’d have to stay up later than normal and would just wake up way too sleepy to run. And now I am terribly out of shape D: But you are inspiring me to get out there! If you can ride up that simultaneously stinky/delicious smelling hill at 6 am, I can run around my slightly smoggy but very flat neighborhood. It WILL happen!!

    • says

      Omg, make that the only TWO. If a smart phone with a real push-button qwerty keyboard came out on the market, I would buy it in a SECOND. (I had an LG with a flip out keyboard and I could type so fast on it. Now I try to use my iPhone, and I type everything wrong and even if I don’t, it autocorrects it. Arrrggg!!)

      It’s funny, I think the thing I love most about biking is that it feels like the most exercise I can get in the shortest amount of time. :P Now that it’s a recreational morning activity, I definitely have to push myself to do it. (Evan and I went for a 12-mile bike ride on Saturday. It was so humid and I was so hungry and tired by the end, but it was worth it, since we feasted extra hard for his birthday at Misery Loves Co. They had a whole fried loup de mer on the menu, with a bunch of different sides and sauces……omg.) But yeah, being able to wake up early makes a huge difference. If I wake up after 6:30, I’m already so over any thoughts of exercise!

      And yes, lemongrass in everything! It’s so delicious. :D

  15. says

    As usual, you have my favorite photos. You inspire me constantly!

    I recently learned the hard way that you DO forget how to ride a bike without practice. It probably has something to do with the fact that the last time I was on a bike I was a lot smaller. Like…25 years smaller. I do better with my feet on the ground. Love the early morning walks :)

    • says

      Thank you, Jen! :)

      Ahahaha, man, yeah. I remember when I decided I wanted a bike to ride around campus my senior year of college, so I brought my high school bike up from home. Holy cow. It took me a couple (terror-filled) weeks to get the hang of it again.

  16. says

    It’s been a long time since I’ve dragged my sorry self out of bed early enough to go for a run or a bike ride before diving into my day… you’ve reminded me how much I miss it! Something about getting moving first thing in the morning brings so much more energy to the rest of the day.

    I’ve never tried making angel food in cupcake form, and was curious about the whole inverting thing… not sure how to make that work. That whipped cream has me really intrigued, though… I think I might need to get my hands on some of that lemongrass powder! I bet it keeps well, and would be so much easier and more versatile than fresh or dried lemongrass. Also, thank you so much for mentioning my angel food tutorial — I think I just about squealed like a twelve year old when I read that! :)

    • says

      It’s so true! I am so much more productive on days when I get in a bike ride first thing in the morning. I have more energy, it makes me eat better……it definitely creates a healthy momentum.

      I really want to try the inverted cupcake tin thing sometime. (I didn’t want to risk disaster when I made these, especially because I was so excited about the whipped cream!) It could be a big failure, but if there was a way to get it to work, it would be awesome.

      And yay! Your FAK Friday posts are THE BEST. They’re like Good Eats in blog-form. :)

  17. says

    I need to ride bikes more often. Jason and I have bikes that are hung up in the garage that maaaybe see pavement once or twice (if they’re lucky) each year. And I know the saying goes, “It’s as easy as riding a bike,” but honestly, I sorta forget how to every year and get the case of the scaredies when I hop on, the fear of not remembering how to steer or brake invading my common sense. It’s really silly.

    Angel food cake and chiffon cakes are a couple of my favorites too, especially in warmer weather when you just want something slightly sweet to satisfy your dessert tooth. Every time I make my grandpa’s recipe for orange chiffon I swoon over the batter. It’s so fluffy and white and the aroma is just divine– could seriously eat it as is! Wish I could bite into these cupcakes though, they look so inviting. :)

    • says

      Hehehe, bikes are such funny things. I grew up riding them in the middle of nowhere, which is so different from any sort of city area. (Now I constantly do dumb awkward things on my bike — most recently getting my semi-longish tank top stuck on the seat as I was trying to start pedaling after a stop light, then basically hop-falling off my bike in front of a ton of cars waiting at the light.) It can definitely be scary, in addition to providing plenty of opportunities for embarrassment. You’d probably rock it though after a few practice rides!

      Oh my gosh, orange chiffon cake sounds so tasty. Also, I love that it’s your grandpa’s recipe. I totally read it as “grandma” at first, then realized my mistake. Take that, gender stereotypes! :)

  18. says

    Am I missing out by never having made angel cakes before?….. I think I am by the looks of it! They look so white and light, I love the coconut sugar jar, so dinky and sweet! The other icing ideas are really useful too, thank you! I’ll just have to pop out to get some lemon grass ASAP

    from Emily x

  19. says

    Ok. Now I am stalking your blog (& now starving)- but I am so thankful. Your pictures are UH-MAZING & the recipes you use make me want to leave work, drive home, and bake these lovely cupcakes.


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