How To Make One Cocoa Cupcake (gluten-free)
After a loooooong (lovely!) week and a loooooong (lovely! lovely!) Saturday, I found myself hobbling a bit while walking my dog last night, my aching hips and knees a reminder that I crossed a line somewhere in all the awesomeness of hard work and good people, and still have chronic conditions from almost 20 years of Lyme Disease and its related terrors. I wanted to take a hot, Epson-salted bath. Or break my legs with a hammer. I know a few of you out there will recognize that sensation.
So instead of going out dancing way downtown, I cut my night short and parked it inside. I was shocked to find myself drawn to a Josh Duhamel movie. This made absolutely NO sense since I’m generally not a “chick-flick” or “rom-com” or any other horribly kitschy-named movie genre fan and don’t think I’ve ever actually seen this dude in a film before. Why was I drawn to a film that would bring out my innermost, snarkiest criticizer but also bring me some weirdly cheap comfort? Because I recalled that during my last serious bout of Lyme all my exhausted brain and body could handle were the most mindless shmather (it’s a word, now), movies that were nothing more than visual background noise (realize I’m taking too many liberties with language now… I’ll get to the point).
One cupcake. Along with my bad movie I just wanted one cupcake. Not a bunch of cookies, not a batch of anything to have sitting around.
So I made one. Using Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio for sponge cake as a base, I made an incredibly dense, fudgy cupcake, perfect with a dab of the leftover vegan blackcurrant “cream-cheese” frosting haunting me from another recipe (posting soon). I sloppily mixed weighing and measuring ingredients together and checked the timing on it occasionally while giving myself a good stretch on the floor.
And then I ate it while pondering Duhamel’s left eyebrow. And mulling over the state of romantic comedies of my age demographic. And willing myself to just change the channel!
You ever have nights like this?
When you just want one… here ya go.
Oh, and now that I’m rested and medicated, the sun is shining and I’m off to review a few incredible NYC food events… life is back to lovely.
Blackcurrant Cream Cheese Frosting – Vegan!
- 1 ounce unsalted butter
- 1 ounce beet sugar
- 1 ounce beaten egg
- 1 ounce gluten-free cake flour
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp chocolate extract
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- dash of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350°. Put a cupcake liner in a tin or ramekin.
- Add the salt and cocoa to the flour.
- In a small bowl, beat butter on medium/high until creamy.
- Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add egg and beat until pale and fluffy, and slightly expanded in volume.
- Add extracts and beat to combine.
- Add flour and mix on low until just combined.
- Pour into prepared dish and bake for about 18 minutes or toothpick inserted comes out clean.
This is what I made last week.
- Carob Cupcakes with Almond Butter Filling
This is where I was this weekend.
On Lake Moore in Warwick, MA
This is who I made them for.
My gorgeous friend.
Life is good.
Happy Belated Birthday!
My dear friend suffers from food sensitivities far worse than I am currently dealing with, and I wanted to make her something special in celebration of a reunion with good friends and a birthday of hers that passed too long ago when I wasn’t nearby to celebrate with her.
This is an only slightly adapted version of her Chunky Cake that I made with her a few weeks ago. I simply upped the ghee content a bit, fussed around with a few measurements and put some creamy almond butter in the middle.
They are FREE OF: sugar, flour, soy, chocolate, caffeine, nuts
Here’s how you can make them!
- 1 1/2 cup ground flax meal
- 1 cup carob powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp bourbon vanilla
- 3/4 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup smooth almond butter, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line 24 muffin cups or heavily grease an 8″ cake pan.
- In a large bowl, mix ingredients in the order above, adding water gradually at the end, whisking throughout.
- For filled cupcakes, pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/2 inch, then dot 1 tsp of almond butter in the center. Cover with more batter until about 2/3 full.
- Bake cupcakes for 16 minutes and full cake for 40 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Almond butter filling
“I’m the most delicious gluten-and-dairy-free Red Velvet cupcake you’ll ever eat. And now that I’m topped with light and fluffy vegan frosting, that’s so spreadable and pipeable, you’ll never wanna stop making me. Kisses.”
I swear the cupcake insisted that I write that – I was completely at its mercy. Maybe because I ate several of his fellows before changing frosting tips to see if I could pipe letters, which I did with ease.
The cake in this cupcake is truly divine – both moist but light, full of cocoa flavor but not too chocolatey. Several friends who have no gluten or dairy problems could not tell that they are both, one even suggesting I match it up with a gluten-full cake and blind taste test some people for the fun of it.
Please try it, and tell me what you think. I dubbed it Little Red Velvet Riding Hood Cupcake. But if you just wanna call it Mmmmm, that’s okay too. Recently I’ve been calling it “Oh my Dog!”, while it’s still in my mouth.
Now, the only reason I’m reposing this cupcake is because of the frosting issue. The first I tried was lovely – a sweet vegan “cream cheese” frosting – but it came out more like a glaze, and no amount of whipping or refrigerating gave it a stiff enough consistency for me to pipe or even pile high.
So I tried a Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero and BOY-OH was I happy! Insanely easy and amazingly fluffy, the frosting stayed stiff enough to pipe with several different tips long after I had colored it and bagged it. Because it’s made with vegan butter and shortening – which are obviously both vegetable-oil based – it whipped easily at any temperature and functioned well.
And the taste! Like a classic butter-cream it tastes primarily like sugar and vanilla. But unlike butter-cream it didn’t taste overpoweringly so. The shortening gave it enough body so that the sugar content was slightly lower. Don’t get me wrong – this is very sweet. As someone who struggles with hypoglycemia, I did a decent job at staying away (after one cupcake of course!) But it’s not going to overwhelm your taste buds nor distract from the cupcake you put it on. And because of the light and fluffy consistency, it particularly matched the classy cake underneath it and would do as well with a rich chocolate – ooh, or banana!
The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Click on the title above for their recipe.
This frosting is fluffy and easy to work with
Having fun with frosting