Memorial Day is for cook-outs and white Capri pants. Usually.
We were planning on grilling a few steaks this afternoon. But the world sometimes does not cooperate with our plans. And in a sad and scary turn of events, the air is hazy and filled with smoke. Who would have thought that smoke from a forest fire in Quebec would travel hundreds of miles south to Boston? Not just one forest fire, in fact, but at least a dozen, raging outside Montreal, forcing thousands from their homes.
So, since grilling is out, I figured that chocolate is in. This is my ultimate favorite chocolate frosting. Rich and smooth, but oh-so-easy to make. It is perfect on just about any cake, as long as you use really great cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli). It really is perfect atop these angel food cupcakes. But it’s even quite nice on baked and chilled brownies as an extra decadent layer. I made a double batch of the angel food cake here, because it keeps for a few days. And when the haze clears, we will be sitting on our deck devouring angel food cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream.
The cupcakes cook pretty quickly, but if you choose to make a loaf cake or bake the batter in a traditional tube pan, do not grease the pan and do increase the baking time to 50-60 minutes until slightly golden. While not necessary for the cupcakes, for a larger cake, be sure to cool in the pan upside down on a rack.
Angel Food Cupcakes with Simple Chocolate Frosting
makes 36 small cupcakes
10 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour, sifted
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 recipe simple chocolate frosting (see below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg whites on a medium-low speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat on high until firm but not dry. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts if using. Meanwhile, mix together the sugar, sifted flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg white mixture a half-cup at a time, beating well in between each addition. Spoon the batter into paper muffin liner cups (do use liners, otherwise the batter with stick terribly) and bake for about 15-18 minutes, until golden on top. Cool completely and frost with simple chocolate frosting.
Simple Chocolate Frosting
6 tablespoons butter, soft
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
Beat the butter until slightly fluffy. Add in the sugar in two additions, beating well after each additions. Add in the vanilla and cocoa powder and beat well. Add the milk and continue to beat until smooth. Use right away or store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature to use for frosting.