- For the Cupcakes:
- 1/2 cup cake flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup egg whites (about 5 large)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Have ready a muffin pan with 12 muffin cups.
- Sift the flour and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until the whites are foamy and the cream of tartar dissolves. Beat on high speed until the egg whites look shiny and smooth and the beaters form lines in the mixture; if you stop the mixer and lift up the beaters, the whites should cling to the beaters. Slowly beat in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, then beat for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon zest, vanilla, and almond extract. Beating on low speed, sprinkle 1/4 cup of the flour mixture over the egg white mixture at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate it.
- Using about 1/2 cup for each, spoon the batter into the 9 unlined muffin cups. The batter may even be above the tops of the cups, but this stiff batter will not spill over the sides. Do not smooth the tops–let the batter remain in fluffy mounds. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. The cupcakes will rise quite a bit. Arrange 2 cans on a wire rack and invert the pan over the cans so the ends of the pan rest on the cans. This lets air circulate while the cupcakes cool upside down. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
- Use a small knife to loosen the edges of the cupcakes from the pan. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan, using the knife to help release them if necessary, and set them right side up on the rack.
- Frost and decorate as desired.