Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Birthday Cupcakes: Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Frosting and Strawberries

Ahhhh....I have finally scratched the baking itch, and it feels soooo good. Have you ever just wanted to bake but knew you didn't have the time to commit to an afternoon in the kitchen? Well I have felt that way for almost two weeks and tonight I finally got to bake, and there was much rejoicing. 

My friend Liz is throwing a surprise birthday lunch for her husband tomorrow, and since she used me as an excuse to get him to the restaurant, apparently the mister and I have a big announcement, I wonder what it is?!?  I decided to use her as an excuse to bake. I think it's a scenario where everyone wins. 

Strawberries have gone mad here! Last week at Saturday Market everyone and their dog had strawberries. And to me strawberries mean angel food cake yuummmm. I have always wanted to make an angel food cake but have been to scared to try. I admit I am fairly fearless in the kitchen, but angel food cake has always alluded me. For Jeremy's birthday cupcakes I was originally just going to use my amazing vanilla cupcake recipe, but I found a recipe for angel food cupcakes that felt less intimidating then making a full cake and decided to try it. I am so glad that I did, I just took these little angels out of the oven and can I just say they look like individual servings of heaven. EEK!  I've already taken out five more eggs to get at room temp. Can someone say angel food cupcakes with their coffee in the morning?

I originally found this recipe on  Culinary Adventures of a New Wife.

Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes

3/4 cup superfine sugar*
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
5 large egg whites* at room temperature
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. 
In a small bowl, sift together cake flour and 1/4 cup superfine sugar. 
In a large bowl, beat room temperature egg whites until foamy, then add in cream of tartar and salt.
Gradually add in remaining 1/2 cup superfine sugar while mixer is on high speed. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. 
Fold in vanilla and lemon zest. In two or three additions add flour mixture into beaten egg whites.
Divide evenly (I used my 1/3 cup measuring cup) into muffin tins, they will be full. 
Bake for 16-18 minutes (mine went about 18-20, but my oven is old) or until they are golden brown. The tops will spring back when lightly touched. 
Remove from pan and cool on wire rack, no need to turn upside down. 

*I didn't buy superfine sugar, instead I just pulsed regular ole' granulated in the blender until it was super fine. 
*This website has a lot of great tips on using egg whites, from how to separate them to what a soft peak should look like. Very helpful.

Now, the recipes that I saw all said the same thing..."these are so light you don't want to weigh them down with frosting. Just drizzle them with the lemon glaze." WHHHHHAAAATTTT?!?!?!?! These people be crazy! Everyone knows the best thing about strawberry shortcake is the whip cream. So I set out on a mission to find the best light and fluffy whipped cream frosting I could find. And I found it! This frosting is soooo good I think it's going to become my new standby. 

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 eight-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teas. vanilla extract
1/2 teas. almond extract
2 cups heavy cream

Combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond in large bowl. 
Fit mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.
While mix is still whipping, slowly pour in heavy cream.
Stop and scrape bottom of bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until stiff peaks form. 

SO simple and easy I love it! I didn't use almond extract, instead I added more vanilla. The frosting was also very stable. I made it in the morning and never put the cupcakes in the fridge before we left for the birthday lunch. I wouldn't leave them out overnight but for a couple of hours they're just fine. 

Are you ready to see what these beauties look like? Prepare the napkins for your drool.Go ahead, I'll give you a minute. 

Happy Baking!

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