Friday, May 6, 2011

Angel Food Cake Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Each month I bake cupcakes for a co-worker who purchased the "Cupcake Package" at our company's United Way auction last fall.  This month she asked for a Angel Food Cake Cupcake with some sort of berry frosting.  I ended up baking this "Heavenly Shortcake" cake recipe and adding a Vanilla American Buttercream frosting with a couple of fresh blueberries on top.  Although it tasted good, it was too sweet for my liking.  I've decided I'm a fan of Swiss Meringue Buttercream because of its velvety texture and subtle sweetness. 

Within a couple of days I decided to bring these cupcakes over to my in-laws for dessert on Easter.  I used the same cake batter recipe, but changed the frosting to a Fresh Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Let's just say, this combo rocks.  It's a spin off of Strawberry Shortcake dessert, but wrapped up in a cute cupcake.  I highly recommend making these for your next event.  They are light, fresh tasting, and not too sweet (the whole family loved them).  The buttercream has egg whites in it so I recommend making it the day of the event and if it needs to sit out for a while, just throw it in the refrigerator.  An hour or so before serving pull the cupcakes out and let them come to room temperature.

Heavenly Angel Food Cake


12 eggs
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar


Separate eggs; discard yolks or refrigerate for another use. Measure egg whites, adding or removing whites as needed to equal 1-1/2 cups. Place in a mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.               

Meanwhile, sift confectioners' sugar and flour together three times; set aside. Add cream of tartar, extracts and salt to egg whites; beat on high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Fold in flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Gently spoon into lined cupcake tin. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool completely before removing cupcakes from pan.
Fresh Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
"Martha Stewart's Cupcakes" cookbook
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
Puree the strawberries in your food processor until completely smooth (or you can chop them really fine for larger chunks).  Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer (or any heatproof bowl) and set it over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved - you can test with your fingertips, if the mixture feels grainy, it's not ready yet.

Attach the bowl to your stand mixer (or transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer if you used a separate bowl) fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks
form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 6-10 minutes. (The bowl
will be cool to the touch.) Reduce the mixer to medium-low speed and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.  Let each addition incorporate before adding the next.  (The frosting may look soupy or curdled once you add the butter - just keep beating and it will come together.)  Scrape down the sides of
the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the strawberry puree to the bowl.  Beat until combined - the mixture will probably look curdled again when you add the strawberries, keep beating!)

Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes with a large star tip and garnish with extra strawberries, if desired.