Monday, May 21, 2007

Angelic Cupcakes

I’m trying to lighten up. No, I’m not talking about my demeanor, but rather, my food habits, or more specifically, my dessert habits. I’ve been on the hunt for “healthier” alternatives to satisfy my sweet tooth craving, and for some reason, cupcakes once again seem to fit the bill. Earlier this month I made some vegan chocolate cupcakes that made me (temporarily) forget about the leftover fudge I had sitting on my kitchen counter, and this time around, well how about some luscious lemon angel food cupcakes?
This recipe is from a beautifully photographed cookbook simply titled, “Cupcakes!” The book was given to me last summer as a birthday present but I have to admit, I haven’t baked one cupcake from it until now. I also must admit that I was so excited about making these cupcakes I didn’t even notice that I was completely out of one very important, key ingredient. Sugar. So there I was, with mixing bowls cleaned and dried, eggs at room temperature, the flour measured, the cream of tartar out of the spice rack. Yet no sugar to be found. So, what’s a girl to do? More specifically, what’s a girl who’s still wearing her PJ”s and not wanting to make a quick run to the grocery store to do? Why use Sucanat of course! Sucanat is a dried form of cane sugar and thought to be “healthier” than traditional granulated sugar. Think of sugar in a purer form. In any case, this was all I had on hand and since I had success baking with Sucanat before, I thought it was worth a try.
And how was my experience without using the regular white sugar in these cupcakes? As far as taste goes, I didn’t miss a thing. The tangy, lemony sweetness was definitely evident and the cupcakes themselves were light and fluffy without being too delicate. Since Sucanat is naturally brown in color the appearance of the end product took on a slightly golden brown hue. More importantly though, it tasted just how angel food cake ought to taste. Delicious!
Lemon Angel Cupcakes Recipe (courtesy of Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans):
cupcakes
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar (or, try the same amount of Sucanat)
3/4 cup egg whites (about 5 large)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Sift the flour and 2 tablespoons of sugar into a small bowl and set aside. (if using Sucanat, do not sift--the larger granules make this very difficult and the cupcake turned out just fine).
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until the whites are foamy and the cream of tartar dissolves.
Beat on high speed until the egg whits look shiny and smooth and the beaters form lines in the mixture. The whites should cling to the beaters if you stop the mixer and lift up the beaters.
Slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, then beat for 1 minutes. Mix in the lemon zest, vanilla, and almond extract. Beating on low speed, sprinkle 1/4 cup of the flour mixture over the egg white mixture, beating after each addition to incorporate it. Continue until all the flour mixture has been mixed.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of the batter into 9 unlined muffin cups. Since the batter is so stiff, it's okay if the batter goes above the tops of the cups because it will not spill over the sides. Do not smooth the tops-leave the batter as fluffy mounds. Bake for about 35minutes until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. The cupcakes will rise quite a bit.
Once the cupcakes are done baking, allow them to cool while still in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cupcakes with a small knife and carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan, setting them up on the cooling rack.

glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar and melted butter with enough lemon juice, beginning with 2 tablespoons, to make a smooth, pourable glaze.
Use a small spoon to drizzle the glaze over the top of each cupcake.
You can also sift powdered sugar on the tops of the cupcakes (like I did).

The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

1 comment:

Viviane said...

having tried them I can honestly say they were super delicious! would have never guessed they did not have any sugar in them!

Viv