Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meringue Gelato Cupcakes (for the 2011 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest)

This, my friends, is a very light cupcake with a darkly seductive taste. Two fluffy angel food cupcakes with meringue gelato in the middle and a smooth, swiss meringue buttercream on top, with a sweet little meringue cookie to cap it off.

I created these cupcakes for the 2011 Ice Cream Cupcake Contest created by Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious. These were a treat for my brother, since his birthday is coming up. If you remember from my chocolate hazelnut meringue cupcakes, he absolutely loves meringue. We went to Europe about 10 years ago and he has never forgotten the meringue gelato he tried one day in Italy. To this day, he lists it as his favorite dessert. I decided to recreate this flavor for him and incorporate it into a cupcake.

For the meringue gelato, I simply made meringue cookies (see recipe later in the post), crushed several of them to varying sizes (some to a fine dust and some in small chunks), and mixed them into vanilla gelato.

I must say, my brother was right about the meringue gelato... it is really, really delicious.

 Next, I made the cupcakes.

Angel Food Cupcakes
adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield: 10-12 cupcakes
1/3 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose, using this tutorial)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
4 large egg whites
1/3 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Adjust oven racks to the two lowest positions.  Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.   In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the vanilla and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft-medium peaks form.  Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula, being careful not to deflate the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners and bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden.  Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Then I made the absolutely heavenly meringue frosting:

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from Annie’s Eats

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved (the mixture should feel smooth when rubbed between your fingers.) Remove from heat and mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes.

Switch to medium-low speed and add vanilla, then add butter a few tablespoons at a time. Mix well after each addition. After all the butter has been added scrape down the bowl.

Continue beating on low speed until buttercream becomes smooth. Don’t worry if the buttercream starts to look curdled. Just keep beating until it comes together.

Whisking the egg whites & sugar over a pan of simmering water
 Finally, I put it all together and topped it with a crisp meringue cookie.

Meringue Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes: about 25 cookies

2 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place two racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Foil will also work in a pinch.    Set the baking pans aside.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat egg whites, on medium speed,  until foamy.  Add the pinch of salt and increase speed to medium-high.  Slowly begin to sprinkle in the sugar.  Continue to beat eggs until they become thick, glossy and hold stiff peaks.  The egg whites will be the consistency of melted marshmallow.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the vanilla extract.   Spoon into a piping bag, fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe about a teaspoons worth of meringue onto the baking sheet.  Stars can be close together, as they won’t spread or puff during baking.  Pipe stars onto the two baking sheets until no meringue remains in the bag.  
Bake meringues for 2 hours, until no longer sticky, but firm and hardened.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

¡Buon appetito!


Katie said...

Wow! I've never thought of combining meringue and gelato together before, but it sounds delicious. I will definitely be trying this soon! Thanks for the fantastic idea!

Galexi Cupcakes said...

I love that combination..stuff dreams are made of.. Great job putting it all together. I love eating buttercream frosting alone with vanilla ice cream!! LOL


Sara said...

Ok, these cupcakes look insanely good! Great idea with the meringue ice cream. I love how high they're piled with all the goodies! :)

Nancy Vecchione said...

posting pic of your creation on my wedding website! sure it would be a hit w/the wedding set! and and linking to your site.