Mini chocolate angel cakes

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I’ve made quite a lot of ice cream over the summer, love ice cream but don’t like waste so am always looking for things to do with leftover egg whites. Five egg whites to be precise. I’ve made meringue (good and also not so good), meringue roulade, financiers… Anyway, the angel cake on Great British Bake Off gave me ideas – Mary Berry’s recipe called for 10 egg whites (on BBC website), which would have created more waste so I didn’t want to do a whole cake but a quick search on Pinterest found Angel cupcakes with chocolate. So I halved Mary Berry’s quantities, reduced sugar a little and incorporated chocolate and here we are: Mini chocolate angel cakes. These are super light and great with coffee, I suppose you could ice them but I’m not a great fan of icing for personal use (great if you’re making them as a gift).

Here’s the recipe and method: in a free standing mixer (this is too much for a hand held) whisk 5 egg whites, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and a pinch of salt to soft peaks then increase the speed and start adding 140g sugar (I used Biona’s whole cane sugar hence the lovely soft brown colour to these) a tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated and the egg whites form stiff peaks (but not quite as stiff and glossy as for meringue), add a teaspoon of vanilla essence and mix to incorporate, then fold in, very gently, 70g sifted sponge flour followed by 4 tablespoons of shaved or finely chopped dark chocolate (I use 70g Valrhona and a mezzaluna to shave/ chop) – it’s important not to have chocolate pieces too big or they will sink and also important to be gentle with the folding while doing this as quickly as possible. Spoon the mixture into a 12 muffin tin smoothing the tops a little (no need to grease the tin or use paper cups) then bake in a preheated oven at 160C fan (180C no fan) for 16 minutes or until golden brown on top/ or test dry. I left these to cool in an upturned tin over a wire rack (4 ramekins propping the corners held it in place) for an hour then loosened with a knife gently and took out.

This was my first attempt at making Mini angel cakes and I can see potential for experimentation with ingredients – I reduced the sugar amount that Berry uses a little (by 10g only) but you could probably reduce this a little bit more – e.g. to 130g and add a couple of tablespoons of good cocoa powder. Equally you could use lemon zest and juice instead of vanilla and I’d imagine you could use finely chopped (but not ground) pistachios and rose water or hazelnut and cinnamon perhaps. The other day I remembered Niki Segnit’s The Flavour Thesaurus (which has, for some inexplicable reason, been stored in the bedroom bookshelves and not in the kitchen) and this has some very good ideas of other flavour combinations that I could explore. The great thing about these Mini angel cakes is that they are very easy to do, don’t require much effort and are not quite as sweet as meringues + not so much work as for macarons so I can see them becoming an ‘egg white leftover’ staple.

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