The mystery of the giant angel food cupcake
While spending a long weekend recently in Chicago, I had a giant angel food cupcake from Fox and Obel that was simple and perfect in every way. It was tall--about 2 1/2 inches *above* the line of the giant cupcake paper. It's top was golden, with a sparkle--almost as if it had a glaze, and the center was brilliant white. The flavor and texture were pure. Angel food is my single talent and passion, so of course I came right home to try it out. These puffed up lovely in the oven, but as soon as they came out of the oven, they shriveled and shrunk in their papers...no need to hit you over the head with a metaphor on this one.
When I make my AF cakes normally (as cakes), I turn them over onto a beer bottle and let them cool completely like that. But I couldn't figure out a way to do this with cupcakes in papers.
P.S. I'm well aware that angel food is the Sound of Music in the cake world...so you don't appreciate angel food cake, please don't bother with the snarky remarks...I've heard them all but was completely exonerated by the cupcake described above.
if i were you i'd call the bakery & ask them how they do it. initially i thought maybe they cooled the cupcake/muffin pans upside-down, but you mentioned the cupcake paper...if they used papers inside the pan the cupcakes would obviously fall out when you turned it upside-down.
i know this is a stupid question to ask an angel food expert, but is there any chance some sort of oil or fat residue got into the batter or the papers? that would certainly cause a collapse.
my one suggestion might be to pour the batter directly into a muffin pan that is NOT non-stick...then after baking, turn the pan upside-down and prop it up by resting the opposite edges on something that will keep it elevated. once they're cool & set, proceed as usual, running a knife around the edge of each cupcake to release them from the pan.
Just a theory -
Cooling them by laying them sideways doesn't appeal to me; unless I want a square shaped finished product. I'm wondering if adjusting the cooking time so that, instead of finishing them at baking temp., you cooled the oven slowly and left them in there to partially cool before exposing them to the shock of the ambient kitchen temperature would work. It'd take some experimenting -
I like angel food cake and its so rarely done well. I'll be in Chicago on the 8th and since I'm staying very close to Fox and Obel I'll have to check it out. Did you eat anything else at Fox? What else was good?
I have a suggestion, but I haven't tried it out myself, so take that into consideration . . .
Try making a collar out of parchment paper that extends beyond the height of the cupcake paper. That way the angel food cake has a wall to "climb" and support it until it cool, and then you can remove it when the cakes are cooled.
I am thinking perhaps you could insert a thin 4 inch nail (new) into each cupcake while they are still hot and in the papers and muffin tin..... place a baking tray on top of the nails & muffin tin then carefully turn muffin tin/baking sheet upside down so cupcakes are resting on the nails and the nails on the baking seet... (be careful not to pierce the cupcake paper or the cupcake may creep further down the nail than you want) leave muffin tin in place while cooling as the nails alone will not support the cupcakes.
Depending on how big these are, maybe you could put them in a large mug/bowl? Flip them upside down, facing the inside of the bowl.