Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bake Together: Margarita Cupcakes

And, if you're familiar with Abby Dodge's Bake Together, you might know that this month's recipe is Tangerine Angel Food Cake.  Possibly, you're wondering how I got here from there.  You kind of have to live in my brain to get there, but follow along.  There'll be a little chemistry and a little craziness, but you can take it!

Now, angel food cakes and I have a chequered past.  I've ruined more than one.  So I was less than inclined to fight with my tube pan tonight.  (I'm crabby - it's snowing.  What can I say?)  Cupcakes are more my speed just at the moment.  And, while buttercream is maybe a bit heavy for angel food - with the salt, it kind of works.

First, go visit Abby's page for the original recipe.  I'm not going to tinker all that much with it.  Replace the flour in her recipe with 1 1/4 c. of your favorite gluten-free AP flour.  You can use mine, or King Arthur Flour's version - just don't choose something that uses bean flours.  That will go badly in this recipe.  You won't need any xanthan or guar gum, as the egg whites provide more than enough binding capacity.  So, follow the directions and sift together your powdered sugar, flour, and salt.

Meanwhile, whip the egg whites until the beater is leaving tracks.

Add the juice of 2 small lemons.  (Do NOT add any zest at this point.  I did that the first time.  My egg foam went *foomp*.  For the record, *foomp* is a bad thing.  Let's not go there).  Omit the cream of tartar - you've got enough acid from the limes and you don't need it.  Follow the standard recipe for adding the superfine sugar and working up to a proper meringue.  At the very end, add the zest of those same 2 limes, and 2 Tbsp of Tequlia.  Beat until just combined, then fold in the dry ingredients, 1/4 at a time.

Portion into cupcake liners.  I used a 2 oz disher, expecting more expansion than I got.  I also had left over batter.  In hindsight, 3 oz of batter/cup would have been better.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.  You don't need to cool your cupcakes upside down.  The paper liners will provide enough "hold" to keep them from collapsing.  I promise.

Lime Agave Buttercream

This is a riff on The Brave Tart's German Buttercream.  I know.  Again.  Don't tell her I converted to volume - she hates that.  But I was too lazy to weigh out the agave.

1 c. whole milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp agave nectar
juice and zest of one small lemon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 lb unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, heat the milk till steaming.
Meanwhile, stir together the sugar, salt and cornstarch.  In a small, heatproof bowl, beat together egg and egg yolk.  Whisk in the sugar mixture.  Add agave nectar and whisk till combined.

Temper the egg mixture into the hot milk.  (If you're not familiar, this just means that you add small amounts of the hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk in thoroughly until the egg mixture is warm.  Then add this back to the remaining milk.  It helps avoid suddenly "cooking" the egg and getting little bits of scrambled egg in your icing.  That's not tasty).  Cook the mixture till it thickens.

Place this mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium until cool.  Add the butter, 1 Tbsp or so at a time, until it's all combined.  Beat till fluffy.  At the end, add zest, lime juice, and vanilla.

Pipe on top of cupcakes and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.


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