Sunday, January 29, 2012

Delicious Chocolate and Blood Orange Cupcakes

(Which I was going to call “Gluten-free vegan chocolate cupcakes with a customization option which I made with blood oranges” but I realized that this was a rather long-winded way of titling something which, quite simply, was delicious).

These pictures are not the greatest; I was in a hurry to finish baking before a meeting.

A lot of people in my life have food allergies/intolerances now, and so it is pretty common to have long email threads before a gathering to see who can eat what, and what people should bring that everyone can eat. This is very confusing for folks who do not live with these dietary issues, particularly when it comes to baking. So, usually I am asked to handle the desert. Which I am happy to do!

Most recently, we needed to accommodate egg, dairy, and gluten issues, so the brownies that I normally make were out. I had made these mocha cupcakes before, and they were delicious, but there were young kids at the gathering, and I didn't think their parents would appreciate a caffeine-laden desert. But I liked the idea of cupcakes (according to The Internet, cupcakes are a culinary trend that is becoming unfashionable) (I think that is ridiculous, cupcakes have always been a mainstay of birthday parties and gatherings where a layer cake is impractical) (plus they are super-kid friendly and seem to make a bit less of a mess) (good heavens this is a lot of parentheticals) so I tweaked the already-fabulous recipe into something that would work for me.

And thus we have this recipe for a plain chocolate cupcake, which is also vegan and gluten-free.

Chocolate cupcakes

Adapted from the Gluten-Free Goddess

Dry ingredients

¾ cup sorghum or brown rice flour
¾ cup cornstarch
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
½ rounded tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum

Other ingredients
2 Tbs ground flax seed + 4 Tbs warm water (you can use 2 eggs instead if you prefer)
1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
3 Tbs light-tasting oil
½ tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine the flax with the warm water in a small bowl, and set aside, allowing it to sit for at least five minutes. This is your “egg.”

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and whisk together to incorporate.

Add in the other ingredients, including the flax “egg,” and mix for 2-3 minutes. This can be done in a stand mixer or with a regular spoon or whisk if you don't mind a work-out. The batter will be very thick, and somewhat stringy.

Fill muffin tins (lined with cupcake liners) about 2/3 full of batter. It may be necessary to smooth out the tops of each tin of batter with the back of a spoon in order to get a smooth top after baking.

Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

Remove from the tin to a wire rack to cool, or else the cupcakes become slightly soggy.

Wait until the cupcakes have completely cooled prior to frosting.


2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tbs shortening (I used Spectrum)
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 Tbs non-dairy milk

Combine the first four ingredients, then add “milk” one tablespoon at a time. Blend with a stand or hand mixer until fluffy. Add more liquid if necessary. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Unfrosted chocolate cupcakes. Gluten-free baked goods are often a little lumpy if you don't smooth out the batter.


After making these, I decided to try to make another variety. I suspect you could make infinite variations to this recipe if you so desired. Basically, you change what spices or extracts you add to the batter, replace cocoa powder with cornstarch if the cupcake is non-chocolate, and use different liquids for the “milk.” I made a blood orange cupcake, and it was fantastic. I used these ingredients, following the instructions above. Please experiment with making your own changes to the recipe, until you find something that you really like! The recipe seems to be pretty forgiving.

Blood orange cupcake variation

Dry ingredients

¾ cup sorghum flour
1 ¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
½ rounded tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
half the zest of a blood orange
½ tsp nutmeg

2 Tbs flax + 4 Tbs warm water
3 Tbs oil
½ cup blood orange juice
½ cup coconut milk
2 tsp lemon juice


2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tbs shortening
half the zest of a blood orange
~2 Tbs blood orange juice

Unfrosted cupcakes. These were pretty tasty plain.

Pretty pink frosting.

So try either variation, or play with the ingredients and make your own! Cupcakes should be fun as well as tasty.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Gluten-Free Twist on Eggs Benedict

One thing I miss quite a bit since going gluten-free is Eggs Benedict. It is a delicious dish, but in my mind it is dependent on having a perfect English muffin. I have not found a DF/GF English muffin yet that works for me, and I haven't gotten around to making my own yet. I am still working on a bread replacement that tastes like real bread (my recipe on this site is tasty enough, and good for putting sandwich fillings on, but the texture is all wrong when I crave real bread) after all. So I decided to put together a deconstructed Eggs Benedict since I had Canadian bacon in the fridge. Then I thought I'd add salsa and avocado. I needed some carbohydrate to hold it all together, so I made brown rice.

The result was more of a Southwestern-inspired meal, and is nothing like Eggs Benedict aside from the egg and canadian bacon, but it was good.

To make your own, first start cooking some brown rice. When it is done, fry a slice or two of canadian bacon. Meanwhile, spoon some rice onto a plate. When the bacon is done, place it on top of the rice. Fry or poach an egg until it is soft in the middle. Or until runny, if that is what you prefer. Slide the egg onto the bacon, and spoon salsa over the whole thing. Add avocado slices if desired. Hollendaise sauce would be awesome, but I didn't want to get that many dishes dirty. Put some salad greens on your plate if you are trying to eat better.

Result: tasty, and naturally gluten and dairy free.