Special equipment: White cupcake liners, 2 pastry bags, no. 4 round pastry tip
For the cupcakes: Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Sift the flour, confectioners' sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt through a fine sieve into a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine the egg whites in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to medium-high, and continue beating until the peaks are stiff and very shiny, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Remove the bowl from the stand.
Sprinkle 1/4 of the flour mixture on top of the eggs, and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Evenly fold in the remaining flour mixture in 3 additions.
Divide the batter evenly among the lined muffin cups in messy mounds taller than the liners, and bake until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
For the halo decorations: Cut 12 sticks 1 inch long and about 1/8 inch thick out of the crystallized ginger. Trim the ends so they are straight across.
Trace 12 circles on a piece of parchment with a 1-inch round cookie cutter. Turn the paper over; set aside. Fit one of the pastry bags with the tip.
Microwave the candy coating in a small bowl, uncovered, at 40 percent power in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and completely smooth. Transfer the candy coating to the pastry bag, and pipe it into 12 circles, using the parchment template as a guide. Set aside to let harden slightly. Pipe 1 small dollop of the candy coating directly onto each circle, and push a ginger stick into each so it is standing straight up. Let the halos harden completely.
For the frosting: Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a stand mixer's heatproof bowl above the water (or a large heatproof bowl if using a handheld mixer). Whisk the egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tartar and a pinch of salt together in the bowl; set the bowl above the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat the egg white mixture with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until it is cool and forms stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
Decorate the cupcakes: Transfer the frosting to the remaining pastry bag, and pipe generous swirls on top of each cupcake, lifting the bag up quickly to make a peak. Push the ginger stem of a halo into each, and serve right away.
Consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, shellfish and meat may increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Copyright 2014 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.
Check Out Our
Get a sneak-peek of the new Food Network recipe page and give us your feedback.See it Now!