Friday, February 18, 2011

Reduced Guilt Angel Food Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze and Blueberry Cream Filling

Although most people I know are beyond feeling guilty about cupcakes (and, in a few cases, about anything else), it is possible someone, somewhere still does. And to them are dedicated this week’s recipe: Reduced Guilt Angel Food Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze and Blueberry Cream Filling.

Why “reduced guilt” and not totally guilt-free? Although the cake itself is a wholesome (by cake standards, anyway) angel food cake, both the strawberry glaze and the blueberry cream filling are made with heavy cream. As much as I strive to reduce the fat in everything I cook, there are rare occasions when low-fat ingredients just don’t get the job done. So, for those so inclined, there’s still some guilt to eating these yummy treats. Just not very much.

As sometimes is the case, there are a lot of individual steps to this recipe (remember, it's really three recipes – cake, glaze, and cream filling – all combined at the end) but the steps themselves are not complicated. Your patience with the step-by-step process will be deliciously rewarded.

Since the cupcakes should be completely cooled before being filled and glazed, we’ll make the cupcakes first and, while they’re cooling, we'll make the filling and glaze. This recipe makes about 12 cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:
Set out 4 eggs for about two hours until they are at room temperature. (Do not set out the butter substitute. Note, however, if you’re using regular butter, set out 4 ounces of that as well.)

After the eggs have reached room temperature, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven heating, sift together 1 cup of cake flour (don’t use all-purpose flour), 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Separate the eggs and discard the yolks. (It's important to use real eggs for this; packaged egg whites don't fluff well enough.) To the egg whites, add a pinch of cream of tartar and a pinch of salt, and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, transfer the beaten egg whites (which should now be the consistency of shaving cream) to a piece of wax paper. We’ll use them in a moment. When you're finished, rinse the mixer bowl; we'll use it again in the next step.

Put 6 tablespoons of butter substitute (or the 4 ounces of room temperature regular butter), 2 tablespoons of skim milk, and 3/4 cup of granular sugar in the mixer bowl and mix at medium speed for about 3 minutes until creamy, scraping the bowl once or twice. For the last one minute, add 1/4 tablespoon of vanilla.

Stir the sifted dry ingredients in by hand until combined with the butter-sugar mixture. Once that is done, carefully fold in half the beaten egg whites, then the other half. (Don't over-mix or you'll lose the fluffiness!)

Spoon the batter into lined cupcake pans. (I find the foil kind is easiest to use, but the paper ones are ok too.) Fill each cup about 2/3 full. Bake until they’re slightly golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes, turning the tray half-way for more even baking. Test by inserting a toothpick or bamboo barbeque skewer into one of the cupcakes; when it comes out clean, the cupcakes are ready to be taken out of the oven. Be careful not to overcook!

Remove the tray from the oven. Cool the cupcakes for ten minutes in the tray, then let them finish cooling on a wire rack.
With the beautiful naked cupcakes cooling, it’s time to make the filling and glaze. Let’s do the filling first.
Combine 6 tablespoons of fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a food processor and puree.

Rinse the mixer bowl you used to make the cupcake batter. Combine 6 tablespoons of chilled heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of chilled sour cream, and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar in the bowl. (Adding the sour cream helps the finished whipped cream keep longer without going flat.) Whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.

Fold the blueberry sauce into the whipped cream until blended. Set the blueberry cream mixture aside until you’re ready to fill the cupcakes.
Next up: the strawberry glaze!
Place a small glass plate in the freezer. (You might remember this method for testing the cooked fruit mixture from last week’s cantaloupe-pear tart recipe.)

Puree 12 ounces of strawberries, and combine with 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Cook the mixture down until a few drops placed on the chilled plate have the consistency of syrup.

Pour the strawberry syrup into a bowl and rinse the saucepan. Put 1 cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup into the saucepan, and bring just to a boil.

Add the strawberry syrup and simmer until reduced to about ½. Allow to stand one minute, add 1 tablespoon of butter substitute (or 1-1/2 tablespoons of regular butter) and stir until smooth. Set aside until the cupcakes are ready to be glazed.
Now, the grand finale: putting it all together!
To fill the cupcakes, use a small sharp knife (paring knife, steak knife or similar) to cut a cone-shape piece from the top of the cupcake to about ¼” from the bottom. Spoon in the blueberry cream till the hole is almost filled. Trim the bottom of the cone-shaped removed piece so that it fits over the filled hole as a cap. Repeat for the remaining cupcakes. (The process is shown from left to right in the photo.)

To glaze the cupcakes, dip the top of each cupcake into the bowl of glaze and twist. Repeat if necessary. (The glaze should cover the seam where the filling hole is plugged.) After glazing, top each cupcake with a blueberry or half a strawberry. And try to remember to share them!
If you'd like a cookbook-style, notebook-ready copy of this recipe, just let me know in a comment or e-mail.

See you with another new recipe next week! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. Those cupcakes sound berry good. I love light desserts. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called Sweets for a Saturday and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cupcakes up. http:/

  2. Thank you, Lisa! Your blog sounds great. I will definitely be stopping by!

  3. Those look delicious! Mail me some, ok?? :)

  4. This looks yummy Ben! Might have to take a stab at these with the young one, as I still have blueberries to use up after the Blueberry Lemon Loaf.


  5. Thanks, Keri! I probably could, but these are easy to make. Fun too. If you give it a shot, I think you will have some grateful takers!

    And thank you also, Sandra. I hope you will make these and let me know how it goes!

  6. These look really good! Glad I found your blog...I'm in NJ too!

  7. these look SO SO GOOD! i love the reduced guilt, ha. thanks for sharing! glad to have found your blog!

  8. Melissa and Meaghan, I am so glad you found my site. I have just returned from each of yours and enjoyed them so much I had to sign on as a follower! It is a great pleasure to meet you both, and I'm looking forward to all of us sharing lots of ideas with each other.

  9. Hello Ben,

    When you speak of "butter substitute" what are you using? What is name of the product? I know you can use things like pumpkin puree, apple sauce and prune puree as fat replacers for at least half the fat in baked goods. What are you talking about? Enlighten me. :-)

    Polly Motzko

    1. Thanks, Polly. That's a great question. When I refer to butter substitute, I have in mind one of the reduced-fat butter-like spreads. Lately I've been using Smart Balance because it has a firm texture that has worked well for baking and cooking. I'd been using I Can't Believe It's Not Butter for time, but it has a softer texture that is great for spreading but that doesn't stand up as well to baking and cooking.