Gourmet Cupcakes to Sweeten Up Your Gluten-Free World

An excerpt from “Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 From-Scratch Recipes to Delight Every Cupcake Devotee — Gluten-Free and Otherwise”

Why an entire cookbook dedicated to nothing but gluten-free cupcakes? For us, the answer comes down to a single word: fun. Cupcakes embody single-serving-size, gluten-free baked goodness. In our opinion, there’s a lot to love about them.

For one, they’re great for portion control. When it comes to cupcakes, there’s no question of “Did I cut the cake slices too thin or too thick?” Cupcakes are pre-portioned and ready to eat. Their small, single-person serving size also makes them satisfying. It’s easy to finish off one cupcake in its entirety when you’re left with nothing but the crumb-filled wrapper as evidence of your cupcake-consuming victory.

Cupcakes are also wonderfully versatile and delicious, and there’s no reason the gluten-free community can’t have their own cupcake satisfaction.

NOTE: Both recipes below use our Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend, which can be made up in advance and stored in an airtight container.

 

Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups brown rice flour
  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and whisk thoroughly by hand to mix well. Can be refrigerated to preserve freshness.

 

Sweet Potato Walnut CupcakeSweet Potato Walnut Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes
 
Sweet potato works surprisingly well in baking. It has a subtle flavor, and it lends moisture and a tender crumb to cakes. Our cupcake is delicious in its own right, but if you’re looking for another reason to make it, it’s also a great way to use up leftover sweet potatoes from dinner. The recipe calls for mashed sweet potatoes. We typically peel, quarter, and steam our sweet potatoes, but they can also be boiled. The butter–brown sugar–walnut topping adds major flavor and takes the subtle sweet potato to new heights.
 
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup salted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons GF pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 2½ cups Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon GF baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Walnut Topping (recipe follows)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line standard cupcake tins with paper liners.

  2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.

  4. Add the sour cream and sweet potato, and mix until combined.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, and mix with a whisk to “sift” the ingredients and break up any lumps.

  6. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the sugar mixture and mix for about 10 seconds at medium-low speed to incorporate.

  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at high speed for about 5 seconds, just until the batter is completely mixed and smooth.

  8. Divide the batter evenly among the paper-lined cups. Make the top of the batter as smooth as you can.

  9. Sprinkle the Walnut Topping evenly among the cupcakes.

  10. Bake for 25 minutes.

  11. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely in the tins.

 

Walnut Topping 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 

Directions:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and walnuts in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves.

  2. Remove from the heat and set aside.

 

Mojito CupcakeMojito Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

We’ve always enjoyed this Cuban highball drink made with lime, mint, rum, sugar, and sparkling water (at least since we’ve been of legal drinking age …). Though some were skeptical at first, we’ve since earned many converts to this cupcake, with its balance of mint and lime. Its flavor comes from freshly squeezed lime juice and chopped mint leaves, giving it a clean, fresh taste. 

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup salted butter (1½ sticks), room temperature
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons GF pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup light rum
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup lime juice (about 1 lime, juiced)
  • 2 tablespoons minced mint
  • 3 cups Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2½ teaspoons GF baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Lime Mint Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • 2 to 3 limes, sliced thin
  • 24 mint sprigs 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line standard cupcake tins with paper liners.

  2. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.

  4. Add the buttermilk, rum, zest, and lime juice, and mix until combined.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix with a whisk to “sift” the ingredients and break up any lumps.

  6. Add the dry ingredients all at once to the sugar mixture, and mix for about 10 seconds at medium-low speed to incorporate.

  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix at high speed for about 5 seconds, just until the batter is completely mixed and smooth.

  8. Divide the batter evenly among the paper-lined cups. Make the top of the batter as smooth as you can.

  9. Bake for 25 minutes.

  10. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and let cool completely on a wire rack.

  11. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the Lime Mint Buttercream.

  12. Use a large star tip to pipe the Lime Mint Buttercream in an upward spiral on the cupcakes.

  13. Garnish with 1 lime slice and 1 fresh mint sprig.

Note: Be sure to zest the lime before juicing. Zesting an already-juiced lime is nearly impossible!

 

Lime Mint Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 1⅓ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 15 mint sprigs (about 30 leaves)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups salted butter (3 sticks), removed from the refrigerator when you start the buttercream
  • ¼ cup lime juice (about 1 lime, juiced)
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup mint, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Mix 1⅓ cups of the sugar and the water in a heavy saucepan. Add the mint sprigs. Put a candy thermometer in the sugar mixture and heat to 240°F without stirring.

  2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and salt at medium-high speed until frothy.

  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar to the egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer off and let the egg whites sit until the sugar comes up to temperature.

  4. When the sugar mixture reaches 240°F, carefully remove the mint sprigs and any loose leaves, and with the mixer at medium speed, slowly drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the beaten egg whites.

  5. After all the sugar is added, continue whisking the mixture until it is cool, about 10 minutes.

  6. While the egg whites are whisking, cut the butter into tablespoon-size pieces.

  7. When the egg whites are cool, leave the mixer running at medium speed and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing enough time for each tablespoon of butter to incorporate after each addition, until all the butter is added.

  8. Switch to the paddle attachment, add the lime juice, zest, and chopped mint, and mix at medium speed for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the air bubbles are out of the frosting and the frosting is silky smooth.

 


Recipes from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 From Scratch Recipes to Delight Every Cupcake Devotee—Gluten-Free and Otherwise, copyright © Kelly Bronski and Peter Bronski, 2011. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment, LLC,. Available wherever books are sold.

 

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