As promised, I’m going to review each of my must have kitchen gadgets in a bit more detail. I still remember the first time I learned about the microplane – I was taking a cooking class at The Chopping Block and all of the sudden the chef whips out a microplane and starts rapidly zesting lemons and limes and I was in awe. I knew I had to have one and it has continued to be one of my favorite tools. I love cooking with citrus and often use the zest of lemons to brighten up my flavor profile so this tool comes in handy. I’ve also used it to finely grate ginger, garlic and spices. There are several types of microplanes, some have a very fine grate and are really only appropriate for zesting, while some have a larger grate and can be used for cheese or chocolate. Here is a link to my personal favorite – Microplane 35001 Home Series Coarse Grater, Black. I’m also including a recipe that requires you to do some zesting with your microplane. Just remember, when zesting citrus you only want the outer peel which contains all the flavor and the essential oils, not the white pith which can be bitter.
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup egg whites (@ 5 large eggs)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsps lemon zest
- 1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
Spoon cake flour into measuring cups and level. Sift together flour and powdered sugar into a bowl. Repeat procedure. (Sifting multiple times helps to give you light and airy angel food cake).
Beat egg whites and salt at a high speed until the mixture becomes frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Lightly sprinkle flour mixture over egg white mixture, about 1/3 cup at a time and gently fold in after each addition. Gently stir in vanilla and lemon zest.
Divide mixture among muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool before frosting.
To prepare frosting, beat butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Gradually and slowly add the powedered sugar with the mixer on low speed (or else you will have powedered sugar all over your kitchen). Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat until fluffy. Frost cupcakes and serve.