January 3, 2012

January cupcake: angel food with meringue icing

Most people (ahem, me) spend the holiday season gorging themselves on super sweet and rich foods, and they (me) vow to start fresh in the New Year -- eating only veggies and fruits and drinking only water and green tea.

But that's so lame.

While I'm all for a clean slate, the reality is I'll be craving some carbo-sugar-loaded treat in a few days.

So this year, I'm trying a new approach. I still want to start the month healthy but instead of giving up dessert, I'm going to indulge in healthier versions for the next few weeks (Ideally I'll also indulge less often but this isn't an ideal world, now is it?)

And angel food cake is perfect! I love this stuff. It's so light and delicious -- and fat free. And even with the meringue* icing, it's less than 150 calories!

You can totally have your cake and eat it to in 2012! (I couldn't resist.)

(Side note: My entire life I've pronounced meringue 'merengue' ... ya know, like the dance ... which apparently is wrong. So that's pretty unfortunate for me. Luckily, I have Jack to correct me, which he loves.)

Angel food cupcakes with meringue icing
Yields 12 cupcakes
(adapted from skinnytaste.com -- an awesome site I just discovered! Highly recommend it!)


For the cakes:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar 
  • 2/3 cup flour, sifted 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 8 egg whites from large eggs at room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 

For the frosting
  • 2 egg whites from large eggs at room temperature 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • pinch salt 
  • A few drops food coloring (optional -- mine was supposed to be purple but it didn't quite work that way) 
  • Some sort of fire source (optional)


For the cakes: 
  1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar, flour, and salt. 
  3. In a large bowl mix the egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. 
  4. Mix on low speed a few minutes until foamy, then turn the speed to medium and slowly add the granulated sugar in 1 tablespoon increments, slowly over a period of 3 to 4 minutes. 
  5. Turn the speed to high and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture forms medium peaks.  (If you're like me and have NO idea what this means, check out this link or this picture.)
  6. Add the dry ingredients in two installments. First, sift half the dry ingredients through a fine mesh strainer, tapping them through and into the egg whites. Fold carefully, do not over mix. Then, fold in the second half of the dry ingredients. 
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. 
  8. Bake for 18 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden. 
  9. Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing and icing. 
For the frosting:
  1. Place the egg whites with the vanilla in the clean bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. In a small, high-sided saucepan, whisk the water and sugar together. 
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for four to eight minutes, or until the syrup reaches 234°F on a candy thermometer. 
  4. While the sugar syrup is boiling, whip the egg whites on low speed until they form foamy peaks. 
  5. When the syrup has reached the correct temperature, slowly drizzle it into the egg whites, turning the speed to medium-high as you do so. 
  6. Continue to whip until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. 
  7. Beat in the salt and food coloring until the mixture is even.
  8. Fill a piping bag and frost cupcakes.  (Or just use a knife.)
  9. Torch!!! (I probably over-torched mine since it was so much fun)

Psst! You can now see all past cupcake recipes on my NEW cupcake of the month page!


  1. The good news is I have all of the above ingredients handy and will probably make these once all of my desserts dissipate. Thanks for contributing to my sugar coma :)

  2. These look/sound amazing. Bravo! I like your realism. Sweets don't just go away on New Year's Day.

  3. I can't believe these are less than 150 calories..how is that even possible?! They look beautiful and tasty. Yum, yum, yum! If you want to indulge in other healthy desserts, I recommend downloading the Whole Foods app (assuming you have an iPhone or iPad). I seriously have gotten some great (but fairly healthy) desserts (..and other recipes) from the app and it's completely free!

  4. There's noooo way I can resist making these. I LOVE MERINGUE. I have a really good (kind of healthy) recipe for chocolate chip meringue recipes if you even want to try it!

  5. @Danielle @ Antiquated Treasures Good to know!! I'll definitely check it out -- I'm not cool enough to have an iPhone yet but I do have an iPad!