Sunday, September 18, 2011
Now that I am permanently on a Gluten-Free diet and temporarily on a dairy free diet, I decided to go all the way (I am technically allowed to eat organic eggs during this temporary no-dairy stage) and concoct a vegan, gluten-free cupcake.
It took a few tries, but I think I came up with a darn good cupcake. You would never know it's missing the gluten, eggs, butter, or milk! In fact, the cake is so moist and rich, I think I even prefer it to my favorite regular chocolate cupcake recipe. The other great part of this cake is that it is soy-free. For a while, soy had a reputation for being a "healthy" alternative, but it actually is not and can cause problems for both men and women when consumed in large amounts. But I digress...
If you're a vegan, or if you have friends of mixed diets, I would highly suggest making up a batch of these. In fact, even if you're NOT vegan or sensitive to gluten, give these a shot. I'm totally planning on bringing a couple of dozen of these to the next party I go to and not mention anything about the fact that they're a special new recipe because I'm absolutely convinced that no one will be able to tell.
I was feeling kind of down when I first found out that I couldn't eat gluten anymore and would have to completely re-orient myself with baking. I'm now very much encouraged, though, and I even feel like this is maybe how it was supposed to be for me- baking with a sensitivity towards allergies and alternative diets.
For the Double Chocolate Cupcakes:
(Vegan, Gluten-Free) makes 24 cupcakes
2 cups brown sugar (you could also use agave or an another alternative sweetener)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (canned)
1 cup hot water
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used a Valrhona bar from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup good quality dutch process cocoa powder (I used Valrhona, which can be found at speciality baking stores)
1 cup Bob’s AP GF Flour
1/2 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup cornstarch (or potato/tapioca starch, if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar*
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Sift together all of the flours, starch, cocoa powder, xanthum gum, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Melt chocolate and set aside. Combine coconut and canola oil in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add sugar and mix for about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract. Add all dry ingredients and mix slowly until very well combined (**see note below). Batter will be thick and doughy at this point. Add the coconut milk and chocolate and mix well. Lastly, add the 1 cup of hot water and hand mix to incorporate with large spoon or offset spatula. Once batter is fully mixed, fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter and bake at 330 degrees for 23-25 minutes. You should rotate the cupcakes one time after 15-16 minutes of baking, but DO NOT open the oven any more than that. Be sure to leave the cupcakes to bake long enough- it may help to stick the middle of the cake with a toothpick to test for doneness (since they're GF, cupcakes may spring back at touch earlier than they are really done in the middle).
*I know vinegar sounds weird, but the vinegar and baking soda combine to give a rise and moisture similar to what eggs would normally create.
**since there is no gluten in the batter, there is no danger of over mixing your batter. In fact, all sources I consulted suggest that mixing GF/vegan batters MORE actually aids in creating a better texture for the final product. In my novice opinion, this does indeed seem to be the case.
For the Peanut Butter Frosting:
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I like Laura Scudder's Natural, no-stir creamy)
1/2 cup, plus one tbsp organic, non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (the organic non-hydro stuff does not have the gross Crisco taste, trust me)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner's sugar
Combine peanut butter and shortening in bowl of stand mixer and mix with paddle attachment until well combined. Add vanilla and mix well. Add in confectioner's sugar and mix until incorporated and smooth. Decorate/frost cupcakes as desired.