Chocolate Angel Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Speckled Buttercream

by Courtney on April 24, 2010

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I may be be called cute at times, but one thing I’m not is cutesy. Nor am I follower of fads. That’s why the whole cupcake craze just never appealed to me much. I will have one now and then, but I am not obsessed . Although I admit there are those that have taken the cupcake to pure art form. I wrote about the whole craze here. Give me a multi tiered cake to bring out the artist in me. However when it comes to a portable dessert to break my dry spell of not baking , the cupcake comes to the rescue. The small parcels of sweet goodness are just  the right thing to tote to work to satisfy  the few people that had been missing my sweets.

The security guard and customer service representative were beginning to wonder what was going on with me. They got spoiled over the holidays.  But with New Years and personal vows to get my health and weight  in check before things got out of control, baking was sidelined. Then Certain Someone, decided to remodel, which I am grateful, but it takes time with our schedules and figuring out what to do with all my stuff. So my kitchen just isn’t in the state I would like it to be for things to flow. I moved things around and lost my Mojo. The other day I moved my Kitchen Aid back to its original place and I got the urge back . With egg whites in the freezer and visions of lightness, I decided on Angel Food. Chocolaty Angel Food, cause that what’s I am. Then topped with an Italian Meringue Butter cream speckled with vanilla bean paste. Light and rich. Certain Someone is not one for sweets but that didn’t stop him from asking for his “Honig to bring me another bite of cake. Ein Bisschen”.

I exaggerate, but that’s the gist. At work , those managed to partake scarfed them down in a bite. They are that light, but with a rich decadent topping. I choose Rose Levy  Beranbaum’s Chocolate Lovers Angel Food Cake from the Cake Bible as my guide. The recipe is designed for a cake,but it made 24 cupcakes plus one 6 inch plain cake.
You can find the recipe here for the cake.
I used my recipe from from the French Pasty School. Here you can find an classic Italian Meringue with a tutorial that’s based on a Rose Levy Beranbaum  recipe.

Some quick tips:

  • Make your own cake flour by substitute by sifting  together 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch.
  • Make sure the egg whites hit the stiff beak stage. To test hold up whisk attachment and see it the beaks hold their shape.The recipe has 3 stages, frothy, soft, and stiff.
  • Don’t be deterred if your Italian Meringue curdles. It’s one of those things that has looks really bad before it shapes up and comes to life. Just keep beating on. It will come together , promise.
  • I used Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean paste which is a great alternative to actual vanilla beans.Just add to butter cream  to achieve speckled effect.
  • If making cupcakes , fill liners 2/3 of the way. Tap pan to settle batter.