Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Cupcake Chronicles Part 3: Gluten Free

That's right:  gluten free cupcakes.  For those of you who have attempted gluten free baking before, I don't have to tell you how challenging it can be.  It is very difficult to achieve a good texture without flour, hence why most gluten free packaged products do not taste even half as good as the real thing (and they cost twice as much!).  I must admit that I was NOT successful on the first try.  I made some gooey and doughy heavy cupcakes that turned out like a flattened bread roll.  Instead of throwing them in the garbage (or using them as a doorstop), I froze them to use as crumbs in other recipes at a later date (a tip I got from The Gluten Free Goddess Baking Tips).  If at first you don't succeed, take heart!  With practice, you can make gluten free baked goods that are just as delicious as the real thing.  In fact, after eating my soft, tender and tasty vanilla cupcakes with coconut frosting, my husband exclaimed, "These taste better than regular cupcakes!"  Never in my life did I think I'd hear those words from him.  What more can you ask from a cupcake?

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcake with Triple Coconut Buttercream Frosting

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

1 1/2c white rice flour
3/4c tapioca flour
1tsp salt
1tsp baking soda
3tsp baking powder
1tsp xanthan gum
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4c sugar
2/3c mayonnaise, room temperature (make sure it's not flavored!)
1c buttermilk, room temperature or slightly warmed
4tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 16 cupcake tins with liners.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside.
3. Mix eggs sugar and mayonnaise until fluffy.  Add the milk, vanilla and flour mixture and beat for 10 minutes (to work in the xanthan gum).
4. Drop batter into cupcake liners and bake until the cupcakes spring back slightly to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (in my oven: 17 minutes).
5. Cool completely before frosting.

Triple Coconut Buttercream Icing

2 sticks butter, room temperature
2 pinches fine sea salt
2 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 of 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1-2tsp vanilla extract
1/4c coconut milk (I used reduced coconut milk by boiling a can of coconut milk until reduced by half and letting it come to room temp.  Do not add warm or it will melt the butter and your frosting will be liquid).
2 handfuls shredded sweetened coconut (more to taste)
Toasted coconut, for topping

1. Beat butter until smooth.  Add salt, sugar, vanilla seeds and extract and coconut milk.  Beat on low until combined and then on medium high until light and fluffy.  Add shredded coconut to taste.
2. After frosting the cupcakes, top with toasted coconut (bake in the oven at 350 and stir every few minutes until golden brown, about 7 minutes).

Four of these were gone instantly

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