Halloween is officially NINE days away, and I'm getting more and more pumped for it as the days go by (I'm in my senior year of college, I promise. Don't judge). Now that we're getting closer and closer to the big day, I figured it was time for my second Halloween cupcake. Like I said in my last post, I wanted to create more subtle treats this year, and drew my inspiration from two classic Halloween costumes. What kind of cupcake could be a better match (or maybe contrast is the right word) for a Devil's food cupcake than a light and fluffy angel food cupcake? Dressed up with fluffy Swiss meringue frosting and white chocolate angel wings, these cupcakes are perfectly angelic (and delicious!)
Angel food cake is one of those types of cakes that I only recently started eating (and enjoying). I didn't grow up eating angel food cake, and I only remember eating it maybe twice when I was little, during those typical elementary school lunchbox swaps. I remember having traded one of my snacks for someone's angel food cake, and I don't remember being that impressed with it. For some reason, the texture just seemed a bit off to me...I know, it sounds crazy, but it was just too fluffy for me! In any case though, angel food cake is definitely something I enjoy now, yet I never make it because I just don't own a tube pan (sad, I know). Angel food cake is a perfect cake for summer, because it's so light, but when paired up with swiss meringue frosting and a pair of white chocolate angel wings, it's a perfect cupcake for Halloween too!
This was my first time actually making angel food cake, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew that for a good angel food cake recipe, I should check out my cousin Gina's blog Skinnytaste, because I knew that she would definitely have a great recipe for it that would be simple, delicious, and easy to prepare. Her recipe was spot on! The cupcakes came together very quickly, and as with any angel food cake recipe, the only trouble I had was figuring out what to do with those 8 egg yolks at the end...my dad had no trouble figuring it out though, and he just added a couple of the yolks to some eggs he was making. Problem solved! I thought that a Swiss meringue frosting would be the perfect way to top off the cupcakes. Swiss meringue frosting is light and fluffy like a marshmallow, so it paired perfectly with these delicate little cupcakes. Making the frosting was surprisingly simple, so don't be intimidated! It just takes a couple of minutes on the stove, and then a stand mixer does the rest of the work. I definitely recommend going ahead and making this type of frosting for the cupcakes, because a traditional buttercream would be too heavy with these light cupcakes, in my opinion. If you choose to top them with regular vanilla frosting though, I'm sure they'd still be just delicious!
I got the idea to make the chocolate angel wings for the cupcakes from a birthday cake that I made for my sister a couple of years ago. It was a traditional yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting, and instead of decorating it with traditional sprinkles, I decided to make some chocolate butterflies, similar to these. The technique was very simple, so I figured that repeating it for the angel wings would be the best way to go about making them. I had been contemplating using rolled fondant, but I am actually much happier with the way the wings look when made with white chocolate. They may not be as pure white as they would have been had they been made with fondant, but the chocolate dried with this great feathery texture that I just loved, so I was totally ok with them being less white than the Swiss meringue frosting.
This is another attempt at my more subtle Halloween treats, and I loved it! I thought the cupcakes looked so great, and if you make them along with a batch of Devilish Devil's Food Cupcakes, you'll definitely have the perfect Halloween theme going on! Think of it as "heaven and hell," "good vs. evil," or even "chubz vs. less chubz," (remember, angel food cake is FAT FREE! WOAH!). In any case, these two types of cupcakes look adorable when paired next to each other. I made both cupcakes in the same day when I went home one weekend, and I loved seeing them sitting on my kitchen counter next to each other! Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the two cupcakes together, but trust me when I say that they're a perfect match for each other! Enjoy!
Angelic Angel Food Cupcakes
cupcake recipe from the Skinnytaste,
frosting recipe from White on Rice Couple (originally from Joy the Baker)
For the Cupcakes
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2/3 cup cake flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the Swiss Meringue Frosting
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
large pinch salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Angel Wings
white chocolate candy melts
white sparkling sugar (I used Wilton's sparkling sugar)
To prepare the angel food cupcakes, begin by preheating the oven to 325 degrees F, and positioning an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line cupcake tins with white paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar, cake flour, and salt. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. Mix on low speed until foamy, then turn up the speed to medium, and begin to add the granulated sugar very gradually (I added it in 1-tablespoon increments over a period of 3 minutes). When all the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to high, and beat for an additional 3 minutes, or until the mixture forms medium peaks (the mixture should be modestly glossy, and should have soft peaks).
Sift the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture in two additions. Gently fold them in using a rubber spatula, taking care not to overmix (you'll deflate the eggs that way!). Gently spoon the cake batter into the prepared cupcake tin. Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown. Remove the cupcakes from the oven, allow to cool slightly in the pan before removing the cupcakes and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the Swiss meringue frosting. In a large pot, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer. In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and salt (the mixture will be grainy, don't worry!). Place the bowl with the egg white mixture over the simmering water, to create a double boiler, and whisk everything as it heats. The sugar should dissolve after about 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture doesn't get oo warm, otherwise you'll end up cooking the eggs!
Transfer the egg white mixture into the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites, on high, until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. The frosting should be fluffy, glossy, and sticky. Beat in the vanilla extract. Cover, and set the frosting aside until ready to frost the cupcakes.
To make the white chocolate angel wings, begin by drawing out a pattern for a wing on a small square of wax paper, and then place a larger sheet of wax paper on top. Melt some white candy melts (just throw some into a plastic ziploc bag, and heat in the microwave, and "massage" the plastic bag every 15 seconds until all the candy melts have melted completely). Carefully snip off a tiny corner of the plastic bag (so you have a "piping bag") and trace over the wing shape with the white chocolate onto the larger sheet of wax paper (the small square with the actual template should be directly underneath, so you'll be able to see through the wax paper layers). Once you have an outline of the wing shape, fill in the outline with more white chocolate (use a toothpick to help you spread it out to the edges!). It's ok if the wings aren't perfectly smooth; a little texture makes them look feathery! Before the chocolate has a chance to set, sprinkle some white sparkling sugar over the chocolate wings. Slide the template on the small square over, and repeat this process of outlining, filling in, and sprinkling the wings until you have enough for all the cupcakes.
To assemble the cupcakes, fill a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip (I can't remember which one I used, sorry!) with the Swiss meringue frosting, and pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Carefully peel off the chocolate wings from the wax paper once they have set (a couple of minutes), and then gently place a pair of chocolate wings on top, and you're done!
Makes 15 cupcakes