Sunday, April 4, 2010

Angel Food Cupcakes

I used to be afraid to make Angel Food Cake. It just looked complicated. And I don't have a tube pan. But, about a year ago, I bit the bullet and went for it. The lack of tube pan called for a little bit of creativity, so I made cupcakes instead of the traditional ring. They came out really well, and I was really excited to knock something off of my to-try list.

The only problem with making these, though, is the sheer number of eggs. Well, no, I don't have a problem with using that many eggs. I don't even have a problem separating that many eggs. The issue arises when you have to figure out a use for all those egg yolks. Angel Food Cake uses a dozen egg whites. I had no idea what to do with a dozen egg yolks. That first time, I happened across a reverse-Angel-Food-Cake recipe, one that used 12 egg yolks. So on that day, I made four dozen "Angel Food Cake" cupcakes - 24 the traditional way, using egg whites, and 24 with the alternate, egg yolk recipe. It was a great experiment, but I have to tell you, the yolk recipe was nothing like Angel Food Cake, and it was no one's favorite.

So why am I telling you this today?

On Sundays we have family dinner with the in-laws, and I usually bring dessert. It being Easter Sunday, as well, I wanted to bring something extra special. My mother in law mentioned that she had strawberries, and that they wanted to do something light, so my husband suggested making Angel Food cupcakes to bring, so that we could have a light strawberry shortcake for dessert.

I never bookmarked the recipe from last year, so I looked around to find it again. Most Angel Food Cake recipes are pretty similar, so I didn't stress too much as to which to choose. I also decided to cut the recipe in half, so that I would only make 12 cupcakes instead of 24 because I know I will be making a whole lot of cupcakes this week, but I will get to that later this week. So, recipe selected, all measurements halved, helper in place, we were ready to start.

Eggs separated, the recipe called for cake flour and confectioners sugar to be sifted. I don't have a sifter, but I figured it was nothing a whisk couldn't manage, so I set little miss to work carefully whisking those together. Meanwhile, the KitchenAid mixer was busy whipping up all of those egg whites, together with a little salt, some cream of tartar, as well as some sugar and vanilla extract. This was whipped up until the whites held stiff peaks, not to mention showed really cool patterns from the beater.

The next step was to take the dry ingredients, beautifully mock-sifted, and slowly and carefully fold them into the egg whites. I wanted to take extra care so as not to deflate the egg whites, since the whole idea of these cupcakes is that they are light and fluffy. One recipe I found online (I would totally link it here if I remembered where I found it...) described Angel Food Cake as what every little kid dreams that a cloud would taste like, if they could actually taste a cloud. So I wanted to keep it light and fluffy and cloud-like.

I thought I did a decent job as I spooned the batter into the cupcake tin, which actually might have been the hardest, and was definitely the messiest part of the process. Here's what they looked like right before going into the oven:

But when they came out, I kind of got the impression that I may have over-mixed them, because they deflated quite a bit, coming out like this:

And I seriously can't remember if they deflated quite that much the last time I made them. But the good news is that they still tasted good - were light and airy and tasted just like Angel Food Cake, too. I can't tell you if it is what clouds taste like, but we all enjoyed them.

If you would like to give it a try, here is the recipe that I used.

And I even think that I know what I am going to do with the egg yolks, too... so stay tuned!

Angel Food Cupcakes

1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 2/3 cups egg white (11-13 large egg whites)
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sift flour with 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (or whisk together).
In a large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Increase speed to high. Beat until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in granulated sugar, two tablespoons at a time, beating until whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks when beaters are lifted. Beat in vanilla.
Sift the flour mixture, one third at a time, over the beaten egg whites. Fold in with rubber spatula just until flour mixture is no longer visible.
Spoon batter into muffin pan cups (either well greased or lined with paper liners). The batter should come almost two inches over the top of each muffin cup.
Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Immediately remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
When cupcakes are cool, dust with confectioners' sugar or frost as desired.


1 comment:

  1. Too funny! I just made angel food cupcakes last month and have them scheduled to post in a week or two. We bought a sifter just for this recipe and ended up returning it and getting another because we broke the first one. :) And I totally agree about getting the batter into the pan as the messiest part! And what in the world to do with 11 egg yolks. I tried to find recipes that used just egg yolks and couldn't find any that I wanted to make.

    I baked my cupcakes two different ways. When I used paper liners the cupcakes were tall and skinny, but when I baked them in the pan they were short and squatty. I actually took a picture of the two of them to compare and will have it on my post.


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