We went to the Lake District in the summer a few years ago. I remember seeing a picture of it in a geography book when I was younger, and it seemed magical. A place where there would be gnomes and pixies and fairies. The kind of place, it seemed, where you you would wear a yellow dress and skip through a meadow of buttercups (I wear rose tinted glasses, everything is a fairytale to me). The reality didn’t disappoint and it was good fun. Although there was no skipping in meadows. Or yellow dresses (it totally wouldn’t suit my colouring).
There’s just something magical about the summer. Everything is drowned in a bright light, and there’s sparkles everywhere (not literally, you know what I mean). There’s nothing like it. But, seeing as we’re smack bang in the middle of a grey and extremely wet winter right now, I was feeling extremely nostalgic. I can here the rain pattering on the skylight, it’s dark outside and it’s barely six o’ clock. These angel food cupcakes are the epitome of an English summer tea time. Nothing makes me more nostalgic for summer than brightly coloured fruit. Raspberries, strawberries, mangoes, oranges and bananas. Oh, and the big dollop of whipped cream that I very generously added on the top of these.
Picture a cloud. Just the one cloud, in a bright blue sky. Imagine it being so light, and so wispy. It’s pure white, and you just don’t know if you stood on it if it would keep you standing or you’d go right through. Now imagine a warm summer day, and your sitting on a picnic bench in a beautiful English park. There’s a beautiful china platter in front of you. On it, are these small cases of cloud. They barely weigh anything in your hand. These are the real tea party cakes.
Recipe (adapted from thecomfortofcooking.com)
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 tbsp warm water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla, coconut, almond or orange extract (I used vanilla)
- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius (160 fan). Prepare two muffin trays with cases. .
- Whizz the sugar in a blender until very fine. This should take a minute or so. Alternatively, you could use caster sugar instead of using the blender.
- In a mixing bowl, sift together the plain flour, cornflour, salt and half of the sugar.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, extract and cream of tartar until well combined.
- Switch to a hand mixer and whip the mixture on medium speed while slowly adding remaining sugar to mixture. Do this until medium peaks form.
- Sift in just enough of the flour mixture to evenly dust the top of the egg white mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold the flour layer into the egg white mixture and continue this process until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.
- Fill the muffin cases until nearly full. Bake in preheated oven 18 – 20 minutes until golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Serve with whipped cream.