Monday, March 22, 2010

Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes

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And now for something a little healthier. After making two Crack Pies and the Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, I had a lot of egg whites sitting in my fridge. I toyed briefly with the idea of making macarons, but then I remembered that no matter how cute and pretty they look, they are still ridiculously time-consuming to make, and I don't even really like how they taste all that much. So instead, I decided to make angel food cake. And since I had a lemon to use up from my Boston Organics delivery, I decided to make lemon angel food cupcakes.

Just about every recipe for angel food cake lists cake flour as an ingredient. I already have unbleached all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour in my pantry and really didn't feel like buying yet another type of flour. But luckily, a quick google for "cake flour substitute" brought me to this page, where I learned that I could add a tablespoon of cornstarch to a 1/2 cup measuring cup and then level off with all-purpose flour to make the equivalent of a 1/2 cup of cake flour.

I also don't have a sifter, either, but I just ended up using a fine-mesh metal sieve and two bowls to sift the flour and sugar together. At first I thought I could get away with just whisking the two together, which is what I usually do when I need to sift flour, but I realized pretty quickly that the powdered sugar was not going to unclump from mere whisking.

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Oh, and I got to use my new lemon juicer for the first time! It's so much faster and cleaner than the reamer I've been using, and it was on sale too! Don't forget to roll the lemon around on a hard surface before cutting so that you can get more juice out of it.

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Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes (based on this recipe from Cooking Light)
makes 16 cupcakes

1/2 cup cake flour (or 1 tablespoon corn starch plus 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup egg whites (about 5 large eggs)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated rind from 1 medium lemon

1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 medium lemon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 16 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups. Set aside.
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.

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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.

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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.

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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 lemon juice; beat until fluffy. Spread lemon frosting over each cupcake.

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Since I only have one muffin tin, I had to bake these in two batches, which meant I wasn't entirely sure how far to fill the muffin cups. I erred on the side of caution for the first batch and only filled them 3/4 of the way. They do rise in the oven, but then they shrink quite a bit once they cool, both in height and circumference. Don't be surprised if the cupcakes don't stay entirely round after they've cooled. So for the second batch I filled the cups with batter basically all the way to the top and was much more pleased with how those turned out after they had cooled.

I found that I could eat one of these cupcakes in about two bites; they were so soft and delicious! Actually, the texture really reminds me of the cake layer of lemon pudding cakes. And the frosting--when I first tasted it straight from the bowl, I wasn't that impressed with the taste or texture, but once it's on the cupcakes--is so mouth-watering good! It really reminded me of those lemon Girl Scout cookies or lemon coolers.

Next:  Duck Fat French Fries with Rosemary, Maldon Salt, and Truffle Oil
Previously:  Mama Huang's Secret Beer Duck Recipe

4 comments:

  1. These sound delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

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  2. Yay! These were soooo delicious :) thanks for posting, I am going to try making these!

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  3. 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!


    Kar@Simplement D Liche

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