Angel Food Cupcakes with Fresh Berry Compote

Angel Food Cupcakes with Fresh Berry Compote are heavenly homemade angel food cupcakes topped with whipped cream frosting and fresh berry compote.  They’re the epitome of a summer dessert!

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At long last, I’m finally getting a red, white, and blue post out.  Whew!  I’ve had so many ideas swirling around my head for ages, got sidetracked with other ideas, etc, and can’t believe the time just got away from me like that.  Time does have a way of flying by, so why am I surprised? Because I’m behind on things, this is a special bonus recipe this week, and believe me — you need these angel food cupcakes in your life. 🙂

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I’ve loved angel food cake for as long as I can remember.  It’s light and fluffy, and it’s fat-free!  It’s the best with a simple whipped cream frosting and a fruity element.  I wanted to pipe stars on the cupcakes for the 4th of July, which got me thinking about making strawberry and blueberry fruit compotes, or pie filling, to top them with.  You can certainly use canned if your pinched for time, but with so many fresh berries in abundance right now, making homemade compote is definitely within your grasp.  It only takes about 5 minutes on the stove top, too.  You just can’t beat that. 🙂

Angel food cake has very few ingredients — egg whites, sugar, cake flour, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract if you’re so inclined.  That’s it.  Eggs separate best when they’re cold, so separate your eggs fresh from the fridge, then let your egg whites come to room temperature before you whip them as they’ll whip faster and much more beautifully that way.  You can place them in your mixing bowl in a bain marie of simmering water to get them to room temp faster, then whip away.

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The cream of tartar gives the egg whites help in the whipping department, too, acting as a stabilizer.  Beat the whites until you can turn your wire whip upside down and the fluffy whites stand up at the top.

whipped egg whites

Now that’s the stuff right there. 🙂

Be careful not to over-whip them.  Once you see medium peaks start to form, keep a close eye on them.  You can even finish them off by hand if you’re worried about over-whipping.

Angel food cake is like a genoise or sponge cake, the difference being a genoise contains egg yolks.  The key to both of them is keeping them light and airy, or they’ll turn out like a seat cushion. 🙁  When you fold in the flour, do it in thirds, and fold very gently, scraping down the middle from the bottom with a rubber scraper, and bringing the batter up and over to the left or right.  Turn the bowl a bit (about 10 minutes clock-wise) after each fold, and fold until the flour is no longer visible. Just like you can’t over-whip the egg whites, you don’t want to over-fold them or they’ll deflate.

Fill your paper liners all the way to the top with the batter.  These little beauties will bake up in about 15-18 minutes, and of course, be sure not to over bake.  No over-whipping, over-folding, or over-baking. 🙂  Once they turn golden brown, keep a close eye on them.  When you touch the tops and they spring back, they’re done.

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These cupcakes come together so quickly, and once you get the hang of the egg white whipping, it will be even quicker. 🙂

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I chose to make stabilized whipped cream for my frosting, which includes gelatin, since I wanted to pipe stars around the cupcakes.  You can certainly use fresh whipped cream, but bear in mind that it just won’t hold up as long.

You can choose any kind of berries or fruit for your topping, or peaches and cherries would be great, too.  For the 4th of July, however, it was all about red and blue.  I love the contrast of colors with the bright white and the red and blue…so striking, isn’t it?  So patriotic, too. 🙂  If you’re looking for a red, white, and blue dessert for the 4th of July, or something that’s light and summery, this is just the thing for you.  And trust me, cupcakes topped with pie filling tastes nothing short of awesome. 🙂

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Angel Food Cupcakes with Fresh Berry Compote
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Angel Food Cupcakes with Fresh Berry Compote are heavenly homemade angel food cupcakes topped with whipped cream frosting and fresh berry compote. They're the epitome of a summer dessert!
Serves: 16 cupcakes
Ingredients
For the blueberry compote:
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the strawberry compote:
  • 2 cups strawberries, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
For the cupcakes:
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature*
  • 2½ tablespoons lukewarm water
  • ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
For the stabilized whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar*
Instructions
Prepare the compotes:
  1. Place the blueberries and strawberries in separate small saucepans. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch to each pot, and cook over medium low heat until the fruit has softened and the juices have thickened, about 5 minutes. Crush about half of the fruit with the back of a wooden spoon during the cooking process to release more of its juices. The strawberries contain more juices, so increase the heat if necessary and cook just until thickened. Place the compotes in separate bowls to cool. These can be made ahead of time and kept covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Prepare the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together half of the sugar with the cake flour and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the mixing bowl of stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the water, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract, if using. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg white mixture over medium speed until slightly thickened. With the mixer running, add the remaining half of the sugar in steady stream, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-whip. When you can remove the whisk attachment, dip it in the egg whites and turn it upside down with the egg whites standing straight up, they're ready. Sift in ⅓ of the flour mixture, folding gently after each addition just until the flour is no longer visible. Once the flour has been incorporated, fill the prepared muffin cups to the top with the batter and bake on the middle oven rack for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and the tops spring back when touched gently.
  4. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.
Prepare the stabilized whipped cream:
  1. Heat the gelatin with the water in a sauce pan over medium low heat until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly, but do not allow to set.
  2. Once the gelatin is no longer hot, whip the cream and sugar at medium to medium high speed. With the mixer on, add the gelatin in a slow, steady stream to the cream. Continue to whip until medium peaks form. Continue whipping until peaks are almost stiff, either finishing it off by hand or with the mixer. Do not over-whip or the cream will turn to butter.
Assemble the cupcakes:
  1. Place the stabilized whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (I used #825). Pipe stars around the outer edges of the cupcakes. Fill the centers with the cooled compotes, serve, and enjoy!
Notes
*Eggs separate better when they're cold, so separate your eggs, then leave the whites out to come to room temperature. To warm them quicker, place them in a heat proof bowl over a bain marie of simmering water until they're just warm to the touch. Lukewarm egg whites beat much more quickly and beautifully!

*If you like your whipped cream lightly sweetened, use only 2 tablespoons of the sugar. If you like it sweeter, use 3-4 tablespoons.

The compote recipes make more than you need here, so you can either halve the recipe, or you'll have compote left for hand pies, oatmeal, or yogurt!

Angel food cupcake recipe adapted from The Comfort of Cooking via Cooking Classy.

Berry compotes by Flavor the Moments.

Stabilized whipped cream adapted from Wilton.