These cupcakes are the perfect solution to a mid-afternoon or post-dinner sweet tooth without any guilt. Much like souffles, they are best eaten the day they are made. Serve them up after a fancy dinner party for a light but sweet finish or during afternoon tea.
12 large egg whites, cold (you can use the egg whites sold in cartons near the Egg Beaters)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
grated rind from two lemons (you can also use limes)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Get out your cupcake liners — I prefer to use silicon liners for these cupcakes, since using regular paper liners tends to make them collapse at the end. You can find these at Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma or Target.
3. Combine egg whites, lemon juice, cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Using an electric beater (I use the KitchenAid Artisan mixer) on high speed, beat until the mixture is foamy. Slowly add 3/4 cup sugar until the egg whites become creamy white and begin to form soft peaks.
4. Combine the rest of the sugar, flour, lemon rind and salt in a separate bowl.
5. Gradually fold the flour mixture into the egg whites. Mix with a silicone spatula until the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed. Handle the mixture carefully so that the egg whites don’t lose their fluffy appeal!
6. Fill the cupcake liners. Bake for about 25 minutes on the top rack of the oven or until the tops are a light golden color.