Oct 282012

Gluten Free Cupcakes Crumb and TextureI’m not entirely sure what possessed me to attempt more gluten-free cupcakes, but I stumbled upon this recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s archives while searching for something else, and I was curious how it would turn out. The other cupcake recipe of hers that I tried uses almond flour, and while still yummy, those cupcakes are dense, heavy, and moist to the point of almost seeming soggy.

I know I’m not going to get the perfect spongy cupcake mouthfeel when baking gluten-free, and that is frustrating at times. This recipe is made mostly with eggs and coconut flour, so I figured it had to be at least a little lighter. Plus, the ingredient list is short and simple, with no flour blends to measure and mix, and the method is quick. You could easily have these baked (and possibly iced) within an hour.

Gluten Free Cupcake IngredientsAs usual, I subbed coconut oil for grapeseed and maple syrup for agave nectar, but I otherwise kept with the original recipe.

½ cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
6 eggs
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F and line the cavities of a standard muffin/cupcake pan with paper baking cups.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcake BatterCombine the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients together, and if you’re using coconut oil, you may need to warm it up so it’s liquid and/or make sure your eggs and maple syrup are at room temperature. If the eggs are still cold, the coconut oil will harden and clump up. I learned this the hard way.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix well until the batter is smooth. Pour into the pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Allow the cupcakes to cool before frosting. I used the same vegan chocolate icing recipe as before. Just know that it sets up really firm if you store these cupcakes in the refrigerator.

The flavor of these cupcakes is very mild, almost bland, in fact. I can’t help but think they border on being a little eggy, but I guess the tablespoon of vanilla extract helps to balance that, even though I can’t taste any of it. Coconut flour recipes usually call for a lot of eggs, and these cupcakes taste very similar to the grain free bread loaf I posted a couple of months ago.

Gluten Free Cupcakes and Vegan Chocolate IcingOne thing I noticed is that these cupcakes change texture overnight. I baked them yesterday, and once cooled a few were sacrificed for quality control purposes, and they didn’t hold together as well.

A lot of the crumb stuck to the inside of the baking cup, which I hate because it basically wastes a good portion of the cupcake unless you’re willing to scrape off the stuck crumbs. I made a mental note to myself, thinking that maybe these would be better off baked without liners in a greased cupcake pan.

However, after a night in the refrigerator the wrappers are peeling off fairly clean, but now the cupcakes themselves seem a little dry and more dense. A lot of times coconut flour gives baked goods a grainy mouthfeel, and that was something I noticed a little bit yesterday. Today they’re still heavy and stodgy, but they’re not at all grainy. So I’ll leave it up to you to decided if they benefit from a day or so.

Personally, I liked them better today. But maybe that’s because I finally slapped some chocolate icing on their tops. The next time I want to bake gluten-free cupcakes, I might try the chocolate version of this recipe. There’s less coconut flour, and therefore fewer eggs.

Another recipe variation that might also help lighten the texture is separating the eggs, whisking the whites to stiff peaks, and then folding them into the batter just before baking. I might just have to try that.

As it turns out, in addition to her almond flour cookbook, Elana Amsterdam now has a Gluten-Free Cupcakes cookbook. My amazon.com wish list just keeps getting longer.

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