Angel food cakes are just delightful – fluffy, soft and sweet. The full size cakes are light, but sometimes you just don’t need a whole big cake. Maybe you don’t have an angel food pan, which is crucial to success in baking a full angel food cake, or maybe you don’t want to use up a dozen eggs just for the egg whites. Perhaps it’s just too much cake to have lying around the house. Whatever the reason, it’s good to know that angel food cake can be adapted into a cupcake recipe quite easily.
Angel food cupcakes are light and fluffy, just like their big brothers, but bake up in a regular muffin tin. They’re not quite as impressive to look at (small and with flat tops), but they taste great and are a yummy snack. I don’t frost angel food cupcakes because they are so soft that their taste and texture can be lost if you use too much as a topping. I opt for a simple glaze, if I’m going to top them, or leave them plain.
To dress up this batch, I mixed some chocolate to make chocolate chip angel food cupcakes. I used some bar chocolate (dark and white chocolate) and chopped it up to act as my “chips.” Chopping up the chocolate is actually one of the most important things you need to do for this recipe before mixing them into the batter. Full-size chocolate chips can be too heavy for the delicate cake and will sink down to the bottom, causing not only an uneven distribution of ingredients, but probably causing the cupcakes to stick to the pan. Chopped chocolate – and you can use any flavor you like – will remain suspended in the cake nicely.
One other thing to keep in mind is that it is better to either use a nonstick muffin tin or very lightly grease your pan. Cupcake wrappers tend to shrink around the cake when it cools, while the cake can cling to the sides of the pan as it cools to help maintain its ultra-fluffy texture.
Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cupcakes
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Very lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan (skip this step if your pan is nonstick).
In a small bowl, sift together cake flour and 1/4 cup superfine sugar.
In a large bowl, beat room-temperature egg whites until foamy, then add in cream of tartar and salt. Gradually add in the remaining 1/2 cup of superfine sugar while the mixer is on high speed, beating the egg whites to soft peaks. Blend in vanilla extract.
Fold in flour mixture, adding it in two or three additions, and fold in chocolate chips when all other ingredients have been incorporated.
Divide evenly into prepared muffin tins, filling them just about to the top.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until tops are golden brown and the cakes spring back when lightly touched.
Cool on a wire rack (unless you have a convenient way to flip the whole cupcake pan upside down). Cupcakes may sink slightly when cooled right-side up, but there is not a great difference between cooling them upside down and not with these small cakes.
Cool completely before using a butter knife to release the cupcakes from the muffin pan.
Makes 12 cupcakes.