Monday, 25 January 2010

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food (cup)Cake(s)




I had decided not to make this cake, after all, I didn't have an angel food cake pan, and angel food cake is akin to fairy floss.  Sweet nothingness.  And after reaching the caked out heights depths of last week, I thought I could do with some actual nothingness, rather than sweet nothingness. 

But then Jenn mentioned in my comments that she was going to make it as cupcakes.  I was still undecided, but my devotion to actual nothingness was eroding.  My husband sounded a bit bereft when I told him that there would be no cake this weekend.  More erosion.  And then Marie's comment on Last Cake, Next Cake eroded my decision even more.  An ominous "bad things can happen", how could I skip out on danger cake?  And then I googled Angel Food Cup Cake recipe and hit on no less than 119,000 results.  Clearly lack of Angel Food pan was not a legitimate excuse to miss making this cake.  So actual nothingness gave way to sweet nothingness.

Plus, I needed to clean out the freezer.  Sixteen egg whites in five containers does take up a surprising amount of room.  And, yes, I do have freezer shame - how could I not?




The making of the cake was pretty therapeutic, especially because I didn't have the stress of separating 16 egg whites from their yolks.  Yes, that is correct, 16 eggwhites - or 480 grams of eggwhites.  Except on defrosting all those dinky containers, I discovered only 397 grams of eggwhites, so modified the recipe accordingly.  Silent prayers of thanks to Rose for always providing metric measurements and also unrivaled joy in using Excel to work out the new ratios.  I so miss my 12 hour days in Excel spreadsheeting land.  My little assistant has very little requirement for a good spreadsheet!

Those eggwhites (13.23 if you must know) whipped up right to the top of my beater attachment, so I had no idea if they were stiff, soft or otherwise.  I did the upside down trick - I think you are meant to do this with the bowl, but a spatula sufficed.


There was one bizarre instruction.  Rose had me sifting superfine sugar (I always use golden caster sugar) to beat into the meringue.  Then weirdly the Wondra flour (specially imported by a friend returning from the US), salt and remaining sugar is not sifted, unless I missed that instruction.  Not sifted, just dusted in a quarter cup at a time, which was really quite pretty...


Beware the grating of cold chocolate - they are like fleas on a dog and those little flakes jump everywhere.  I used a 90% Lindt Cacao Chocolate because that was what I had in the cupboard.




The chocolate fines are then folded into the mixture.  I was surprised at how easily the dry ingredients folded evenly through the meringue without losing too much volume, my guess is that the cream of tartar helps maintain a bit of robustness.  And, of course, also my delicate folding method, ha!  Can you tell I am dreaming of warmer climes with rolling surf, rather than the grey leaden skies of London?




These little cupcakes baked amazingly fast - less than fifteen minutes.  I opted to use the muffin case rather than the tiny cupcake cases I had for the overflowing streusel cupcakes...  Here is the difference in size.



In the end they baked up really well, like tiny little souffle's.  And I love how the cake pulled the sides of the case in to almost vertical.  Very neat and tidy.  Ahem, no, I didn't smooth the tops.  I kind of like the topsy turvy look...



I tipped some of my cupcakes upside down to cool, but I think this was a mad irrelevant step which didn't impact on the finished height.  What did impact on the finished height was baking one tray of cupcakes at a time.  Which I discovered on my last tray.  They need a pretty even temperature to rise fully.



The whipped cream topping was easy to make.  Lightly whipped cream with a smidge of sugar and vanilla.  Into which you then fold a touch of ground almonds and quite a bit of grated chocolate.  The finished effect is that the colour of the cake exactly matches the colour of the topping.  Don't underestimate how amazing that is.  To bite into something that looks like it should all taste the same, but doesn't.  Quite incredible.  That was a bit of a taste sensation, but then maybe I am a bit weird.

13.23 eggwhites made up 32 muffin sized cupcakes.  Thankfully, my husband took two dozen to work today.  There is absolutely no way that I could be trusted around these divine little cakes.  The ratio of cream to cake was perfect.  These are definitely not sweet nothingness'.  The actual cake is light and delicate, but the finely grated chocolate delivers depth and substance to the taste.   That fine chocolate just instantly dissolves in your mouth, and the contrasting subtle graininess of the whipped cream is really something.  An absolute perfect match.  So, thank you to Jenn for gently encouraging me to bake these little gems.  Better still, I didn't have to mess with fundamental laws of physics involved in Angel Food Pans.

13 comments:

  1. LOL! Your post made me laughed! I love your cupcakes..so adorable! I should bake them in cupcake form the next time too!
    Wow..you even changed measurement with excel! I'm impressed! Maybe i should do that the next time too.

    and...truthfully, i was a bit shocked to see your freezer over-packed with so much food.. ;) But that's ok..cos wait till you see my closet..LOL!

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  2. OK, I laughed out loud when I unsuspecting clicked on "fundamental laws of physics"

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  3. I'm glad someone did this as cupcakes--I was wondering how they would do. And also that someone else contemplated the use of Excel to scale the recipe. I was headed that way before noticing that a half recipe would be close enough for my pan...

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  4. Faithy :: rest assured that my closet is far less over-packed than my freezer. Also, seeing that photo has made me all virtuous and have now organised it a little.

    Marie :: Sorry, couldn't resist! And a photo is far better than a link to a dry physics site!

    Nancy B :: Happy to help. The rocked! Excel to scale a recipe is really simple - can email you the spreadsheet if you like...

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  5. Beautiful cupcakes, Nicola! Great idea. Glad you enjoyed them. Btw, I had a freezer like that. You know how I fixed it? I bought a second freezer :o)

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  6. Adorable! And the Lindt 90% was a brilliant stroke of luck, in my opinion. The bitterness of the 100% sugar free chocolate was too much for me. Great, great post! Oh, I'll trade you dreary London for dreary California any day of the week-on our 9th straight day of rain. I'm about to start howling at the skies......

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  7. Nicola - thanks for mentioning me! I'm glad you made them. I made these as cupcakes too - will post tonight when I get home. Love the 1st picture of the cupcake, so cute. And love the defying-grafity egg whites.

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  8. What a great interpretation of the recipe!!

    :)
    ButterYum

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  9. Yum, I was wondering how this recipe would do as cupcakes. Also, your freezer looks a lot like mine! I especially liked you photo of the chocolate being folded into the meringue. So pretty!

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  10. Nicola, I always enjoy your posts - "like fleas on a dog" is the perfect description the grated chocolate! lol I would guess that you worked as a writer rather than crunching numbers in excel (which I enjoy too). I'm so glad to see that this cake turned out so well as a cupcake; I may not have to buy a tube pan after all!

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  11. LOL! Ya..my closet is full of baking stuff instead of my clothes!

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  12. ב''ה

    What a great post! I love your freezer pic! :)

    Ah, the allure of actual nothing, how often do I wish I could do just nothing...

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  13. Hanaa :: Ha, yes, I think the only solution is to increase the capacity.

    Vicki :: Nope, no trade. You can keep the rain, I will take grey skies over rain any day. Good tip about the unsweetened chocolate.

    Jenn :: Thank you, thank you, thank you for encouraging me! I am now despairing that I sent so many off.

    ButterYum :: Thanks.

    ECL :: Great as cupcakes... I can't imagine eating this cake any other way. Also, can't imagine slicing it into three layers etc etc etc.

    Lois B :: Flattery will get you everywhere! I am a CPA, just like you. Somedays, when the little assistant is on tantrum force 9, I miss it so much.

    Faithy :: I thought your closet was full of clothes, not baking stuff. Hilarious. And a much better use of closet space!

    Mendy :: I bet you wish for doing nothing many times a day! But after a little while, I think doing nothing would be boring... although might be nice for a day or seven.

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