This month’s Bake Together is angel food cake! One thing I love about angel food cake is that it uses only egg whites – I’ve usually got an abundance because of all the ice cream, lemon curd and pasta I tend to make.
Larry and I brainstormed over this cake. I could have gone the obvious route, taunting everyone with my never-ending supply of Meyer lemons. But instead, we started with an idea for the caramel sauce – swapping out the Grand Marnier for Licor 43. Spanish again, I know. But this is one of our favorite liqueurs, with its vanilla and citrus undertones.
The caramel with the Licor 43 itself was a strong flavor and would have overpowered the angel food cake. So I made a buttercream, based on the one from Baked Explorations, and added the caramel sauce to that. For the cake, we thought just plain vanilla would be just fine. And it was. I made cupcakes instead of a cake, and they turned out great. It’s another keeper, for sure.
Take a look at the rest of this month’s Bake Together goodies at Abby’s Pinterest board!
Vanilla-Caramel Angel Food Cupcakes
Adapted from: Abby Dodge
Makes 30 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour
1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla paste (or the seeds from two fresh vanilla beans)
11 large (1 1/3 cups) egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
For the sauce (makes 1 1/2 cups – enough for the buttercream, plus plenty leftover):
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream, warmed
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Licor 43
Good pinch of Fleur de Sel
For the buttercream:
3/4 cups sugar
8 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cups whole milk
8 teaspoons heavy cream
6 oz. (1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup caramel sauce at room temperature (recipe above)
To make the cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350. Have ready three standard-sized muffin pans with cupcake liners.
Sift ( just a regular old sieve will work here) together the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt three times (no joke – THREE times) onto a sheet of parchment, waxed paper or foil and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the sugar and vanilla paste (or vanilla bean seeds) together until well-mixed.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, increasing speed to medium, and beat until whites are opaque and climbing about half way up the bowl (the tracks from the whisk will be beginning to hold their shape) forming very soft peaks. Continue beating while slowly and continuously adding the vanilla sugar. Beat on medium high until the whites are thick, shiny and form medium-firm, fluffy peaks. (The peaks should droop over gently.) Do not over beat. You want to leave some room for those whites to expand in the oven. Add the tangerine zest and vanilla. Beat just until blended, about 10 seconds.
Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture over the beaten whites. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the whites. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, one quarter at a time.
Using a large portion scoop or spoon, fill each cupcake liner to the top. Smooth the top. Bake until the cupcakes are light golden brown and the cake is springy when touched, about 12 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely on the rack..
To make the caramel sauce:
In a medium, heavy skillet, spread the sugar in an even layer. Cook over low heat until the sugar is melted and the caramel is deep brown, about 10 minutes. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. If sugar crystals form around the edge of the pan, wash down with a clean pastry brush dipped in water. Boil without stirring until the liquid turns deep amber in color, about 5 minutes.
As the mixture darkens, gently swirling (not stirring) the pan over the heat to caramelize evenly. (I like to test the color by putting a drop or two on a white plate. If the caramel is too light in color, the sauce will be too sweet – too dark and it will be bitter.) Slide the pan from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and spatter and the steam will be very hot. Using a long-handled wooden spoon, stir gently until the caramel is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, Licor 43 and salt. Set aside to cool to room temperature. It can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
To make the buttercream:
In a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce speed to low and add the butter and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Add 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag and tip, or just spoon and smooth it onto the top of the cupcakes.
- Vanilla-Caramel Angel Food Cupcakes (adapted from Abby Dodge)