Raspberry Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes
As an individual who has developed a reputation for her sweet tooth, I’m often asked to name my favorite dessert, which feels a bit like being asked to identify my top impulse buy at Target (is “everything” an option?). Though I’ve had my answers in the past, lately I’m finding that the desserts I enjoy most are the ones that remind me of the people and places I cherish. Today’s Angel Food Cupcakes are for my friend Liz.
Prior to meeting Liz (the same Liz I visited in Kauai), I never had much respect for angel food cake. Where is the chocolate? The gooey center? And really, how can I fully respect a dessert that isn’t either a) improved when warmed and smothered with ice cream or b) tiramisu?
Hence, when Liz informed me early in our friendship that her favorite dessert was angel food cake (because obviously this is information that I need to vet prior to hanging out with someone a third time), I was surprised. Of all the sinful brownies and things with too much peanut butter, and fresh fruit crisps in the land, Liz picked angel food cake as her favorite dessert. Obviously she was crazy—or, I had misjudged angel food cake.
Liz was right. After one bite of her grandmother’s angel food cake recipe, I realized the subtle pleasures of a dessert that can manage to be both impossibly airy and deeply comforting at the same time. Angel food cake does not shout. It does not wish to bombard you with its decadence or draw attention to itself the way a ridiculously moist triple chocolate mocha cake will insist upon doing. It waits quietly, then lifts you away to a place that is utterly…heavenly.
While I adore Liz’s old fashioned recipe, it’s quite the labor of love and can take hours to make, a disadvantage I witnessed firsthand on her birthday when her fiancé spent a good chunk of the afternoon making it. For our purposes today, I created a much more manageable way to enjoy angel food cake: angel food cupcakes! The recipe is slimmed down to make 12 perfect treats, each perfectly portable for your next get together.
Although these Angel Food Cupcakes are lovely on their own, I took a summery step of brightening them with lemon zest and filled each with a spoonful of raspberry preserves. I love the two flavors together, almost as much as I love the whipped lemon cream cheese icing on top. I know these are angel food cupcakes, but the real divinity of this recipe is in the frosting. It’s lightly tangy, marvelously fluffy, and delicate enough to enhance the airiness of the angel food cupcakes without overpowering.
I kept the angel food cupcakes simple with a just a raspberry on top, but feel free to add blueberries dress them up for the Fourth of July or to fill some with blueberry preserves for even more red, white, and blue.
Let the choirs of angels sing!
Raspberry Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- 1/2 cup Imperial Sugar Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 5 large egg whites — at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup Imperial Sugar Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Zest of 1 large lemon, — or 2 small
For the Raspberry Filling:
- 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
For the Whipped Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 5 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup Imperial Sugar Powdered Sugar
- Fresh raspberries — for serving
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