Go figure that the same week I am trying to do a smoothie cleanse happens to be the same week that I need to test two different kinds of gluten-free cupcakes.
I guess the universe is just telling me to eat more cake. And when the universe calls…. You answer.
I am an equal opportunity dessert consumer, and just like chocolate cake doesn’t have to be ‘kosher for Passover good’, I don’t believe that a cupcake should have to be ‘good for gluten-free’ good. And thus… the gauntlet was thrown.
Gluten-free baking can be finicky. There are typically three routes you can take:
1. Use a single flour alternative, like almond flour or gluten-free oat flour. Great in some recipes like flourless chocolate cake and coconut-lemon meltaways, but not really a ‘one size fits all recipes’ solution.
2. Make a gluten-free flour mix. This typically involves 2-3 different types of non-gluten grain flour [think sorghum flour, rice flour, ect], plus a few specialty ingredients including but not limited to potato starch, arrowroot, xanthum gum, tapioca flour, or cornstarch. Great in theory… until xanthum gum is $15 dollars, arrowroot is $7, tapioca starch is $4, and the list goes on. [If you do the math, I would basically be making cupcakes every day for the rest of my life to justify these purchase].
3. Take a little help from your friends at Arrowhead Mill’s and buy the gluten-free baking mix… an almost perfect one for one substitution in baking recipes for $7 dollars a box.
I’ll go with number 3 this time.
So… mix in hand, I whipped up a batch of vanilla cupcakes that are on par with any good cupcake out there. Classic yellow cake color, not too sweet, moist with just the right amount of crumb, and no dairy in sight. They are amazing hot out of the oven [thus the downfall of my cleanse], and are the perfect canvas for your favorite icing and/or toppings.
Gluten-Free Classic Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
Adapted from Bakerella
½ c. vegetable shortening
1 c. sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
1 ½ scant c. Arrowhead Mill’s gluten-free baking mix
1 t. baking powder
½ c. almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with papers
In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients.
Cream together the shortening and sugar. Mix in the vanilla. Whip the eggs, and add to the mixture, mixing as little as possible.
Add half the dry ingredients. Add the milk, mix, and add the rest of flour. Don’t overwork the mix!
Pour into cupcake liners, and bake for 18-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Gluten… you’ve met your match.