I realize that some people got totally burnt out on cupcakes a few years ago after the “cupcake explosion” that was heard loud and clear here in Los Angeles when cupcake shops began littering each neighborhood with excessive frosting and alluring typography. It was a dark time for the Angelenos huddled in a line twenty deep in front of Sprinkles where a simple note on the window urged them to please keep front door closed to ensure the utmost freshness of our cupcakes. Dark times indeed. Backlash ensued. But let us not forget the cupcake’s virtues!
Cupcakes remain easy to eat in virtually any scenario. Have you ever tried slicing a layered cake at a picnic for twenty children? Me either, because cupcakes exist! No fork, plate, or knife necessary. From another practical standpoint, cupcakes offer the option of variety. No more should you struggle with the debate of chocolate vs. vanilla. Marble cake (is that still a thing??) gave a strong attempt in solving this dilemma, but the cupcake does it better.
These are angel food cupcakes which means they are light, airy, and almost laughably unsuitable for being baked in individual serving sizes because you will probably eat them all at once and will have wasted a bunch of wrappers. Oh well. We tried. The frosting here is a Chambord cream cheese frosting. Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur. It’s a little pricey to buy just for the sake of making this frosting but I oh-so-highly recommend that you integrate it into your cocktail repertoire as well. Add a bit to a glass of champagne! Make a French Martini or a Fleur De Lis! Cocktails and cupcakes! Life is good.
Angel Food Cupcakes
Recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes 24 Cupcakes
1 C Sifted Cake Flour
1 ½ C Confectioner’s Sugar
14 Large Egg Whites (1 ¾ C) Room Temperature
1 T Warm Water
½ tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Cream of Tartar
2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Line 2 muffin trays with paper liners. With a fine sieve, sift together the flour and sugar four times. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat together egg whites and water until foamy. Add salt, cream of tarter and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium high and sprinkle in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff but not dry.
Transfer to a large bowl. In six additions, sift dry ingredients over meringue, folding in quickly but gently. Spoon batter into cupcake tins. Bake until slightly golden and springy to the touch (about 15 minutes.) Let cool completely before frosting.
Chambord Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
4 T Unsalted Butter, room temperature
½ C Powdered Sugar
1 T Chambord
1 T Cranberry Juice (use a pure, unsweetened cranberry juice with a dark red color.)
Directions: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add the powdered sugar, Chambord and cranberry juice and beat until well combined.
*I frosted on the light side because these cupcakes are delicate and don’t need to be bogged down with cream cheese. If you prefer a more accommodating amount of frosting, you might double the recipe.