Recipe: Lemon Angel Cupcakes

Recipe courtesy of Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans

Published by Chronicle Books

Lemon Angel Cupcakes

An angel food cake batter produces cupcakes that look as if they could float away on one of the fluffy clouds they resemble. To produce these large cupcakes, scoop generous mounds of the meringue-like batter into each muffin cup. Angel food batter likes to climb up and cling to the sides of a pan, so don't be tempted to use paper liners for these cupcakes. The pan holds the cupcakes in place and keeps them from shrinking as they cool. Once they cool, these cupcakes are actually quite sturdy. Fresh fruit, especially berries, makes a nice accompaniment.

Makes 9 large cupcakes

Cupcake Making 20 minutes
Cupcake Baking 325 degrees F., for about 35 minutes

  • For the Cupcakes:
    • 1/2 cup cake flour
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 cup egg whites (about 5 large)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • For the Glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 tablespoons plus about 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Have ready a muffin pan with 12 muffin cups. Put paper liners in 3 of the cups to protect the pan.
  2. Sift the flour and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using 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 whites look shiny and smooth and the beaters form lines in the mixture; if you stop the mixer and lift up the beaters, the whites should cling to the beaters. Slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, then beat for 1 minute. 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 at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate it.
  3. Using about 1/2 cup for each, spoon the batter into the 9 unlined muffin cups. The batter may even be above the tops of the cups, but this stiff batter will not spill over the sides. Do not smooth the tops--let the batter remain in fluffy mounds. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. The cupcakes will rise quite a bit. Arrange 2 cans on a wire rack and invert the pan over the cans so the ends of the pan rest on the cans. This lets air circulate while the cupcakes cool upside down. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. Use a small knife to loosen the edges of the cupcakes from the pan. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan, using the knife to help release them if necessary, and set them right side up on the rack.
  5. Make the glaze. 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.
  6. Use a small spoon to drizzle the glaze over the top of each cupcake.
The cupcakes can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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