Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Angel Food Cupcakes with strawberries
Before I was tall enough to see over and into the ice cream case at the drug store my very favorite flavor was strawberry ice cream.
I remember the ritual very well because going out for ice cream was so rare and such a treasure my eyes widen now just thinking about it.
A scooper girl, teen-aged and likely grumpy, would wrap a small piece of tissue paper around a flat-bottomed, kinda cardboard-y cone. She’d bend forward into the case with an ice cream scoop and emerge with a gorgeously haphazard ball of pale pink, strawberry studded, frozen cream that she’d precariously shape onto the cone. The treasure would be passed first to my mother, who your take a giant bite out of the cone before handing it down to me. Let’s not even talk about how frustrating it is to watch your precious ice cream being BITTEN INTO… that’s just childhood, you don’t make the rules but you do occasionally get ice cream. I’d hold onto the cone carefully but mostly desperately, willing myself not to lick the ice cream off its perch.
These fluffy strawberry and cream cakes remind me of the days when I was much younger, shorter, and didn’t have to buy my own ice cream. Those are precious days, indeed.
Oh. Quick note… once I got taller and could see inside the ice cream case for myself… my favorite flavor was that neon blue bubble gum ice cream. BUBBLE GUM in ice cream. Two treats in one! Such a loophole. Also disgusting.
Full disclosure: this is my favorite cake on the planet and it takes a little bit of doing.
By “a little bit of doing” I mean that we have to beat egg whites until they’re mostly-exactly right and add sugar until the mixture is pure white and glossy. This spongy soft cake is the magic of egg whites and sugar, finagled into tiny little cakes.
I used an electric hand-beater for this recipe, so don’t fret if you don’t have a stand mixer.
Egg whites are sugar are beaten to soft peaks. That means that the egg whites hold the shape of the beater. The whites won’t necessarily stand straight up on the beater, like they do in the hard peak stage… but the glossy whites will hold the shape of the beater blades in the bowl.
Baking science. Got it?
Gluten-free flour, cornstarch, and sugar are folded into the fluffy egg whites in batches. No lumps, please!
Spooned into the cupcakes liners, 3/4 full.
At this point you might wonder if the cupcakes will rise with just egg whites and no leavening. They will! Eggs are a powerful force.
One note: as the cupcakes bake, the cupcake liners will shrink in and take the shape of the cupcakes. Once cooled, just peel the paper away and you’ll have pretty little cakes!
While the cupcakes bake, strawberries are sliced and unsweetened coconut is toasted to golden brown.
Whipped cream too! Made from coconut cream, not cow’s cream! So sneaky good!
Shutterbean has an excellent coconut cream tutorial.
Cooled and fluffy golden cakes ready for topping!
These bite-sized cakes are topped generously with lightly sweetened coconut cream, toasted coconut and sliced strawberries. The bites are divine!
I used King Arthur’s Gluten-Free flour blend for this 24 cupcake recipe. It’s great! To make an entire Angel Food Cake, double the recipe and use a tube pan. For a not so gluten-free version of this cake, see here.
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free multi-purpose flour (I used King Arthur Flour Blend)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons superfine sugar (yes, more sugar)
- 1 14-ounce can coconut cream (from Trader Joe's) or full fat coconut milk, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
- 2-3 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced
- 1 tablespoons superfine sugar
- 1/2 cup toasted coconut, for topping
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cupcakes pans with paper liners and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together and then sift the flour, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
- In a large, clean (grease-free) mixing bowl, beat together on medium speed the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until foamy, about 4 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer and continue beating until the egg whites have increased in volume, and thickened but are still bubbly.
- Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar, a bit at a time, until the meringue holds soft peaks. This means that the egg white mixture will begin to hold the lines of the beater.
- Stop the mixer and use a spatula to gently fold in the sifted flour/sugar blend a few tablespoons at a time, just until incorporated.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcakes pans until about 3/4 full. Tap the pan on the counter to remove any big air bubbles.
- Bake until the cupcakes are a deep golden brown, and the top springs back when pressed lightly, about 18 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes cool, make the coconut whipped cream. In a large bowl beat together coconut cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until it holds soft peaks. If you're using coconut milk, first scrape off all of the coconut cream from the top of the can and discard the coconut water. Beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla. Soft peaks will appear after about 5 minutes.
- To make the strawberries, toss together sliced strawberries ands sugar. Allow to rest for 15 minutes to develop some juices.
- To assemble the cupcakes, generously top each cooled cupcakes with coconut whipped cream. Top with strawberries and toasted coconut. Enjoy!
- Cupcakes will last, unfrosted, well-wrapped, at room temperature for 3 days. Assemble just before serving for best results.