Cloud Cup Cakes with Strawberry Sauce
special to the daily
Light as a cloud … tasting like flavored air. That’s how these little cakes have been described. The ethereal texture comes from the inclusion of softly whipped cream in place of the butter that is a standard ingredient in most cake recipes.
The result is a sponge-cake variation that would be almost too insubstantial on its own, but proves to be an excellent partner to sweet berries and fruit. Feel free to substitute blueberries, blackberries or raspberries for the strawberries called for in this recipe. Any sweet, colorful fruit accompaniment would work well.
Surprisingly, while the use of whipping cream may seem highly indulgent, it actually contains fewer calories than the equivalent amount of butter would add to the batter. So, the recipe isn’t as decadent as you might think.
You may choose either vanilla or almond extract to provide the taste to these delicate little cakes. Both go well with the strawberry sauce, so use whichever you prefer.
You may make the cakes ahead of time; they freeze very well. The strawberry sauce can also be prepared a day or two before serving. So, all you need to do is defrost the little cakes and slice and sugar the strawberries close to the time you’ll present the dessert.
Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.
Cloud Cup Cakes with Strawberry Sauce
Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Makes 10 cakes (depending on size of cupcake pan)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract (your choice)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar, divided
2/3 cup of cold heavy whipping cream
1 container of sweetened frozen sliced strawberries
1/2 cup of fresh strawberries
Granulated sugar to taste
Confectioner’s sugar, for serving
Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Line the cupcake pan with 10 paper cupcake liners. Spray the paper liners with a flour-vegetable oil spray. (While it won’t be disastrous if you don’t grease the paper liners with the spray, the cakelettes will be much easier to remove from the liners and will have a prettier shape and more golden color if you do.)
Step Two: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to mix well and aerate.
Step Three: Combine egg, egg yolk, the vanilla or almond extract, and one-fourth cup of the granulated sugar (save the remaining fourth cup) in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it gets quite pale and thick. Rinse off the beaters of your mixer. Combine the cold cream with the remaining fourth cup of sugar in a clean bowl and beat at high speed until the mixture holds soft peaks.
Step Four: Gently fold the egg mixture into the sweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle the flour mixture over top and fold it in until all of the flour is absorbed and a smooth, thick batter emerges.
Step Five: Divide the batter among the lined cupcake tins, filling them about two-thirds to three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. This took about 20 minutes in my oven. The cakelettes are so tender they won’t spring back much when touched, so use the toothpick to test for doneness. When done, place the pans on a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, remove the cakelettes from the pans and carefully peel off the paper liners. Let the cakelettes cool completely on the rack. If you aren’t serving them on the day you make them, you can wrap them airtight and freeze them.
Step Six: Make the strawberry sauce: Defrost the frozen sweetened strawberries and puree them in a food processor or a blender or mash them with a potato masher or a fork until a thick sauce is formed. Taste the sauce and add more sugar if necessary. This can be done a day or two before you plan to serves the cakelettes. About an hour before serving, slice the strawberries and sugar them to taste (the amount will depend on the ripeness of the berries). Plate each cakelette and surround it with strawberry sauce and some of the sliced strawberries. Dust the cakelettes with confectioner’s sugar and serve.
This recipe is a variation of one from Gourmet Magazine.
Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
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