These cupcakes are bright and citrusy, which makes them a perfect finish for a Springtime or Easter luncheon. They have a zesty tang of lemon, the fluff of angel food cake, but plenty of sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth. Make them even cuter with some themed muffin cups. Wilton’s pink petal muffin cups are really cute for this recipe: http://tinyurl.com/3gvvord. Then add some decoration. The original recipe suggested edible flowers, which I thought would be so pretty except they were out of them at the store. I had to opt for some multi-colored nonpareils instead.
½ cup cake flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
about ½ cup egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
¾ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp double-strength vanilla extract
grated rind from 1 small lemon
¼ cup softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp 1% milk
2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice, plus more if desired
decorations like colored sprinkles
Prepare your muffin/cupcake pan; plan on getting anywhere between 16-18 cupcakes. Measure out the cake flour carefully by lightly spooning into measuring cups – don’t pack down. Then sift the flour together with the powdered sugar a total of 3 times. This will help keep the cupcakes fluffy. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Preferably using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt together until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until the mixture forms soft peaks. While the mixer is running, slowly add 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar at a time until all has been added. Continue beating until stiff peaks can be formed. Remove mixing bowl. Adding ¼ cup of the dry ingredients at a time, add in the flour mixture and fold after each addition. Finally, fold in the vanilla and lemon rind.
Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18min or until the tops are lightly brown. Remove cups from pan and cool on a wire rack. (They will sink down slightly upon cooling.) Repeat baking process with any remaining batter.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make your frosting. Again using a stand mixer if possible, beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat at low speed until blended. Add milk and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Beat in extra lemon juice as desired for consistency and taste of the frosting.
Spread a little dollop of frosting atop each cupcake and decorate. (You’ll likely have some extra frosting – I would suggest refrigerating it for later use as a treat with sugar cookies or graham crackers.)
Recipe adapted from Greg Patent’s Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes, Cooking Light, May 2006