Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gluten-Free Cupcakes (with chocolate icing)

I finally tried the Very Vanilla Cupcakes recipe in Elana Amsterdam's Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook. I've been wanting to make them ever since I got the book, but for one reason or another I just didn't get around to it. Probably because I usually end up making her chocolate chip cookies, which are exceedingly addictive and rarely last more than a few days around our house, if that long.
I get my almond flour from Honeyville. It's not cheap, so I've been waiting for them to have a sale or send out a coupon code, which they recently did. Today is the last day to take advantage of the coupon code, by the way! Enter PATRIOT at checkout for a 15% discount.

Once I had my new 5 pound bag of almond flour ordered and knew it was on its way, I decided to go ahead and use up the remnants of my current bag. Only, there was just over a cup left, and nearly all the recipes called for 2 cups or more. And I really wanted to make these cupcakes. So, reasoning that if the recipe made 10-12 cupcakes, I figured that half the recipe would make 5 or 6, which was a safer quantity for me to have on hand.
Halving the recipe wasn't the only change I made. I also subbed coconut oil for the grapeseed oil, and used maple syrup instead of agave nectar. I tend to always do that whenever I make one of her recipes. I'm not all that crazy about agave nectar, and I always have coconut oil on hand, whereas I rarely buy grapeseed oil. I didn't take pictures of the ingredients or recipe in process, and for that I apologize. But I do have photos of the finished product.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes, as I made them. For the original, full recipe, double the quantities and don't use the substitutions mentioned above.

1 large egg separated
1/8 cup/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the cavities of a standard muffin pan with paper baking cups.

Using an electric mixerwhisk the egg yolk until pale. This is easier said than done when using a counter top mixer because a single yolk really isn't enough for the beater to do anything with, so that's a lesson learned. Beat in the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and lemon juice.

In another, clean and totally grease-free mixer bowl, whisk the egg white until still peaks form. Gently fold the egg white into the yolk mixture.

Combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt in yet another bowl--yes, that's three mixing bowls I dirtied for just 6 cupcakes. I must have REALLY wanted some cupcakes, because I hate washing dishes. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, and evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing. Oh, and the centers will sink. It says so in the book, so that's nothing I did wrong.
I made the chocolate frosting recipe also in Elana Amsterdam's book, as that's what she recommends icing these cupcakes with, and I'm a big fan of white cake with chocolate icing. Again, I made my usual substitutions, as well as used 60% cacao chocolate chips (her recipe calls for 73% cacao chocolate) since that was the darkest chocolate I had on hand.

Chocolate Frosting (I made the full recipe because I wanted leftovers)
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil until smooth, then stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Allow the chocolate to chill in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (don't forget about it!) and then beat with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until it thickens and starts to look like frosting.

I filled a disposable piping bag with it, snipped of the end, and used that to ice the cupcakes. I knew this icing would be really rich, and I'm not a fan of the mile-high frosting mound that's so popular on cupcakes now, so I opted for no piping tip over the large star #1M I typically use. This way I could ice the cupcakes with just enough frosting. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, but know that the icing will set up and harden, so leave the cupcakes out for a few minutes at room temperature before serving.

Overall, these came out okay. Almond flour is going to give you a coarser crumb than all purpose or cake flour, so I was ready for that. They actually taste a lot like the cookies in cupcake form. Considering how similar the recipes are, I suppose that's to be expected. I'll fess up and admit that I didn't test the cupcakes for doneness with a toothpick. I just saw that they were a lovely golden color and assumed they were ready. I think they could've used another 5 minutes baking time, though, because they're so moist that they're a bit gooey. Next time I'm making the full recipe.

Honeyville Gluten Free Almond Flour

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