I PROMISE THIS ISN’T GOING TO BECOME A GLUTEN-FREE BLOG.
I don’t even like gluten-free baked goods very much. I love wheat. Mmmmm . . . wheat . . . nomnomnom. OK, you happy? So here are the Gluten-Free Cupcakes I made for the Bakesale For Japan last Saturday.
These cupcakes are an interesting size. I wanted to do smaller than full-size cupcakes for the bakesale, but minis just seemed too small. Also, occasionally gluten-free cupcakes separate from their liners in a way that’s undesirable. So I found these paper portion cups at work, and they were the perfect size. They are almost twice the size of a mini liner, but still almost half the size of a full-sized liner. So, substantial enough for a bakesale, but not so big as to be intimidating. So anyway, here’s the recipe:
To make these Gluten-Free Almond Cupcakes with Chocolate Espresso Buttercream, you’re going to need:
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
So then, you:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line your muffin tin with 24 mini paper portion cups, like Jason in this total action shot:
2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, xanthan gum, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk this mixture together for about thirty seconds, to make sure it’s evenly mixed.
3. Pour the almond milk into a glass measuring cup and add the vinegar to it. Let this mixture sit a few minutes, until the almond milk looks slightly curdled.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until very well combined. Add the extracts. Now beat in the curdled almond milk.
5. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a whisk for one minute. As the xanthan gum starts to really activate, it’ll really thicken your batter. So make sure you beat it until it starts to look much thicker.
6. Fill your baking cups two-thirds of the way full with batter (which, for these liners, was about two tablespoons per cupcake).
They shouldn’t look any more full than this:
7. Bake at 350ºF for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the biggest cupcake comes out totally clean. Depending on the liners you use, you should check these often. If you’re using smaller liners, these could be done after about ten minutes. And keep in mind that gluten-free batter tastes gross until it is fully baked, so make sure that your cupcakes are totally done.
8. Set aside to cool completely.
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup margarine
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tablespoons pure coffee extract
So now you:
1. Beat together the shortening and margarine with a stand mixer or hand mixer until it is all fluffy.
2. Sift in 1/3 of your confectioner’s sugar, along with the cocoa (and yes, you have to sift it. Lumpy frosting is for suckas). Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of milk.
3. Beat until the sugar and milk are incorporated into the fats, and the whole thing looks like really stiff frosting. Repeat this in two more steps, until all of the milk and all of the sugar are just combined. Add your extract and stir to combine.
4. Now, you’re going to beat the whole thing for about four minutes, until it’s all nice and fluffy.
5. Taste your frosting. It should be firm, but creamy, with a pretty strong coffee flavor. Adjust the milk or sugar to get it the texture you want. What we’re shooting for here is really thick, but still soft and fluffy.
6. Now put your frosting in a piping bag fitted with a giant closed star tip, and frost your cupcakes. We really like these with TONS of frosting on them. If you want to use a lot less, you could get away with halving the recipe, and very lightly coating the cupcakes.
We finished them by placing a whole chocolate covered espresso bean on the top of each cupcake. This is, of course, totally optional. Do what you want.
So you may have noticed that our Chocolate Espresso Buttercream doesn’t actually contain any espresso (or butter or cream, actually. Haha). I originally tried this frosting with espresso, and then again with a mixture of strong-brewed coffee and coffee extract. Strangely, the best, most “espresso” tasting flavor came from using only coffee extract. So, use what you want or call it what you want, but this is what I would recommend. So there.
Oh, and one other thing: If you are absolutely not going to make these because they are gluten-free, you can totally make them with traditional flour instead. You just omit the rice flour, chickpea flour, and xanthan gum, and replace the whole shebang with 1 1/4 cups of unbleached flour. You party pooper.