Sunday, 22 November 2009

gluten free chocolate cupcakes

With no apologies, this is another recipe baked to cheer up the teen. She is already sorely missing the summer sunlight and the other day, life got a bit too much for her.  She had a miserable day for no particular reason (we all know that feeling) and then got soaked on the way home.  She was so down in the dumps, I wasn't sure what - apart from the new season's unaired Gossip Girl episodes - would cheer her up.  As I am neither pirate nor hacker, she had to suffice with repeats and a plate of cupcakes!

I haven't baked cupcakes for years so I scaled down my old recipe and reworked it for us today.  Naturally it's gluten free and for the benefit of my conscience, a bit healthier, using a natural sweetener as well as sugar in the cakes (but I forgot to do the same in the icing).  The teen hasn't noticed the difference so far, well, not until she reads this!

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 175g castor sugar
  • 75g light agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 200g white rice flour
  • 60g cocoa
  • 40g millet flour
  • 30g tapioca flour
  • 30g glutinous rice flour
  • 6g (1 dsp) arrowroot flour
  • 1.5 tsp gf baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 150ml (1/2 cup) rice or cow's milk 
  • 125g (1/2 cup) margarine
  •  125g (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 425g (3.5 cups) sifted confectioners' sugar
  • liquid colourings as required + 1 tbsp milk
  • 75g cocoa powder (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 100g dark chocolate melted in 50g milk
  • line 16 holes in 1-2 deep muffin pans with cupcake liners (I used 2.5" liners)
  • weigh up all dry ingredients and sieve together.
  • preheat oven to 180° C.
  • beat eggs and sugar in a mixer for one minute until the mix makes thin visible ribbons on the surface.
  • add agave nectar & vanilla extract, beat for another 30 seconds.
  • add dry ingredients, along with the oil and milk.
  • beat everything together for 1 minute.
  • using a dessert spoon, scoop a large spoonful of the mix and use to fill one liner
  • repeat until all the mix is used.
  • bake for 20 mins until firm and a skewer inserted into the tcake comes out clean.
  • leave he cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 mins before removing to a cooling rack.
  • ice once cold.
  • this makes too much icing but I find it to fiddly to make smaller quantities
  • melt the chocolate in milk in the microwave (approx 30 secs in 800W oven)
  • stir to ensure it is fully blended and creamy
  • beat butter and margarine together in food mixer or processor until soft and creamy(unless you bravely do this by hand).
  • divide this mixture in half, leaving just 125g in the mixing bowl.
  • sift in 250g (2 cups) icing sugar and mix till combined - this will give a stiff mix.
  • divide this equally into small bowls - 1 for each colour.  
  • add colouring as per instructions and mix into the icing
  • add milk, 1 tsp at a time to make a smooth but slightly stiff icing paste
  • cover each bowl with damp cloth and set aside whilst you make the chocolate icing
  • put the rest of the butter mix into your mixing bowl
  • sift 175g (1.5 cups) icing sugar & 75g cocoa powder into the butter 
  • mix until fully blended
  • add milk, 1 tsp at a time, until the icing is creamy but still stiff
  • add the melted chocolate ganache mix to the chocolate icing
  • mix briefly and then scrape into smaller bowl or piping bag ready to use.

We decorated our cakes simply using teaspoons to spread the icing - not a professional job but lots of fun.  The teen shredded some chocolate for decorating.
We also made very pink colouring by grating 40g beetroot and squeezing the juice through a piece of gauze.  This gave about 2 tbsp juice which we used like normal food colouring.  Our green colour was achieved using colouring (I haven't started squeezing spinach or wheat grass for colouring ... yet!).

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