The lightest, fluffiest, melt-in-your-mouth cupcake you've ever made?
I'm on the hunt for the best cupcakes ever! And by best I mean light, like clouds and candy floss light, fluffy, and just perfect. Do any of you have a basic recipe I can try out? Any flavors would be fine, even a oldie-but-goodie vanilla recipe would be awesome! I'm leaning towards using whipped egg whites for the light and fluffy part, am I right? (Plus, what's the proper name for these kind of egg-whites-folded-in cupcakes? are they white cupcakes or sponge or what? I'm so confused!) I'm not quite sure actually...can someone help me out on this one? Thanks so much!
I wouldn't use egg whites in place of whole eggs since whites are drier. The flavor and luscious texture are imparted by the fatty yolk. Lately I have been noticing that subbing full fat or 2% fat Greek yogurt for most or all of the dairy in simple cakes, cupcakes, and biscuits seems to be giving me a higher rise and lighter texture.
Remember that the more you beat your batter, the more gluten you will develop. Gluten is the enemy when you want a light-structured cake. I prefer a wooden spoon to an electric mixer. You can sub rice flour (if you can't find it try Trader Joe's, or use instant rice baby cereal) for some of the flour in your recipe if you want to experiment with creating lighter texture when using an electric mixer.
I assume you're already using cake flour? That may help if you aren't.
I believe a "whipped egg white folded in" cake is called a foam-raised style cake, of which there are many sub categories (angel food, chiffon, sponge, etc.). You may like this link which lists the ways in which the different types of foam cake differ (primarily in how they incorporate fat and flour), which might help give you ideas in your pursuit of your ideal texture.
Have you tried a Chinese sponge cake recipe (specifically the baked one with paper liners, not the steamed one)? It's one of the types of foam cake described in the link above. They tend to be extremely light and meltingly tender. They are also somewhat light in flavor but there's gotta be a tradeoff somewhere. I agree with gregarious about the importance of egg yolks. Because of the inclusion of egg yolks in the sponge cake, I find them to be less dry than angelfood cakes.
The stabilizer/ovalette/emulsifier is apparently pretty key to getting it really soft and fine grained texture. But it can be hard to find if you are not near southeast asia and China. I see in your profile that you are in Taiwan? If so, you may be able to find it locally. If not, some have suggested substituting condensed milk, lecithin and cream of tartar, though ymmv and you have to be really good with beating the eggs to the ribbon stage, and folding flour in properly.
Or you can try to skip it: this one uses extra egg yolks instead:
Best of luck!
I like this recipe which calls for separated egg whites, beaten and then folded in, from Cooks Illustrated.
There are many kinds of cakes that use whipped egg whites, as in the link that greymalkin posted, depending on egg yolks, fats, etc. I like it w/ egg yolks and fat to make it more tender, vs the chewiness of angel food.