Monday, May 10, 2010
Chocolate Gluten-free, Dairy-free Cupcakes
My son knew just what he wanted to make for me for Mother's Day. He saw a photo of a lovely chocolate cake with pink frosting on another healthy food blog quite a while ago, and knew that he wanted to make that for me. The only problem was, he isn't a proficient baker yet. But Sunday morning he arrived in the kitchen and started pulling the ingredients out of the cupboard, sounding out the next item on the list as best as he could. Did you know how to pronounce Xanthum Gum when you were 10? He didn't either, but he found it in the cupboard anyway. In order to divert disaster, I took on a advisory role, and ended up having lots of Mother's Day fun with my enthusiastic son manufacturing cupcakes in the kitchen. And I'm happy to say the results were cute and a great success. We even learned some things to pass on to you, to improve you baking results if you try this great gluten free recipe.
You can go find the recipe at Whole Life Nutrition's excellent blog. And you will see a photo of the beautiful two layer cake that first caught my son's attention, inspiring his Mother's Day efforts.
We followed the directions for the cake exactly, except we put it into cupcake liners instead of cake pans. It made 17 cupcakes. We filled them pretty full. They rose just a little bit, but didn't fall either, which is notable for gluten-free, dairy-free baking. It took 25 minutes to bake, and came out just as we expected, perfectly delicious!
We learned a few things on the frosting. We made a half batch of the frosting, and there was still some frosting left over after we had frosted 17 cupcakes. First of all, make sure your mixer is ready before you put in the ingredients. And then, we think it might be important for your Spectrum Palm Shortening to be cooler then room temperature. We also think it is possible to over mix the frosting. The shortening seemed to melt just a little bit and made darker pink spots in the pink fluffy frosting that might be solved with cooler shortening, and not over mixing. (Hence the separated look in the photos. They still tasted very nice.) We also thought it might be good to place the frosting in the refrigerator as soon as you are done mixing it to keep it from separating. When we squeezed raw beets through our garlic press, it didn't make hardly any juice, but we figured out that you just add a little water, and you have as much juice as you needed. The color was splendid. We really thought it was much prettier then food coloring and will use beets to color all pink frosting in the future. We flavored it with vanilla, but next time I want to try making it mint flavor, making chocolate mint cupcakes.
I think that this is a splendid frosting recipe, and am excited that it doesn't use the traditional powdered sugar. Arrowroot gave it a great texture and the agave nectar gave it perfect sweetness. But it has been so long since I have eaten frosting, I found it much too fatty and sweet for my personal taste. But that means, it will be an excellent alternative for people who are used to the real thing. What I think I would really like on these muffins is some lightly sweetened, thickened raspberry jell spread on each one. I think it would be very pretty, but not too sweet or fatty. Actually we left some cupcakes unfrosted for my husband who is very careful to stay away from fat to protect his heart, and they were fantastic muffins, just by themselves.
Thanks to Whole Food Nutrition for another excellent gluten free recipe! You and your recipes are great! And thanks to my dear son for a lovely Mother's Day treat!