In January I’ve shared with my readers my recipe for Basic Chiffon Cupcakes and the recipe I’m sharing this time has one extra step which involves cooking the dough or the Tang Mian method. Here the dough is scalded with hot liquid to gelatinize the starch in the flour. Moisture will be locked in the starch as the mixture thickens up, resulting in a moist and cottony soft texture cake (read about my blog post, Pandan Coconut Chiffon Cake (Tang Mian Method) for more information). I’ve already discussed the secrets to making cupcakes that won’t dome and crack in my previous blog post so I won’t spend time to repeat them here. What we need, in short, is prolonged baking at lower temperature and meringue whipped to only firm peaks in order to control the speed and extend to which the cupcakes rise in the oven. If you would like to read them again please visit my previous blog post, Basic Chiffon Cupcakes. I truly like how moist and cottony these cupcakes are, but they are kind of small and devouring one or two won’t fill up my stomach. Next time I would simply bake a larger cake as usual. Check out my blog post, Cotton-Soft Sponge Cake (Tang Mian Method) for detailed instructions.
Sponge Cupcakes (Tang Mian Method)
35 g unsalted butter
45 g cake and pastry flour
A pinch of salt
40 g milk
3 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
Notes: the eggs I use each has a net weight of 50 – 55 g.
Combine and sift together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Preheat oven to 300ºF/150ºC.
Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat until it starts to bubble around the edges (but not boiling) then immediately pour into the flour mixture. Whisk to form a paste (i.e. the tang mian or cooked dough).
Stir in the milk in two additions until it becomes soft dough like. Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla bean paste until smooth.
In another clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Add cream of tartar (to stabilize the meringue) and continue to beat until foamy. Then slowly add sugar in batches and continue beating until firm peak forms. When you lift up the whisk, the meringue will stand up with a large curvy tip.
Add one third of the meringue to the yolk batter and fold with a whisk to lighten. Add mixture back to the meringue and fold gently and thoroughly with a spatula until homogeneous. Divide batter evenly among the free standing baking cups. Tap each cup against the counter top several times to get rid of large air bubbles. Arrange the cups in a baking tray along with a small ramekin filled with hot water.
Place baking tray in the oven and reduce oven temperature to 250ºF/120ºC. Bake until the cupcakes have reached the maximum height, around 35 minutes. Increase to 300ºF/150ºC and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more until the cupcake top is golden brown and the surface feels very firm to the touch. All ovens are different so adjust baking time accordingly.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely. Store cupcakes in an airtight food container and let rest overnight until the surface of the cupcakes become soft again before serving.
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