Life is sweet.
So far gluten-free baking has been a lot of trial and error, a lot of disappointments and some minor successes. But this recipe has been a definite success! I gave a mini-bundt cake version made from leftover batter to a friend of mine and she told me “I hope you wrote down whatever you did, because that was amazing. I couldn’t even tell it was gluten-free!” I thought I remembered what I did, so I made sure to make them immediately again the following day and write everything down.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret that I’ve probably admitted before, but, I don’t like measuring things, and therefore I’m much more of a cook than a baker. Sure, I can bake stuff, but my will to eyeball and guesstimate everything gives me a bit less than consistent results. That’s why I’m much more of a cook, and furthermore why I don’t have as many recipes as I’d like to on this blog – measuring is stifling to me, and sometimes it feels like I don’t get the best results when I’m busy with teaspoons and measuring cups and pens and notebooks. Or maybe I’m just expecting an over-the-top spectacular mouthgasm since I’m putting all that “work” into making that food/recipe, when really it is totally yummy and I just need to calm down a little and enjoy tasty food for what it is. (This, among other reasons, is why I have a gigantic list of recipe ideas for the next zine, but very few actual recipes. I’m working on it ).
But now I’ve got this little gem of a gluten-free dessert recipe because I DID write things down (and I made it three times in the last week). I started with the Coconut Lime Cupcake Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is very lovely and a favorite of many. However, it is glutenous and contains refined sugar, which I generally try to avoid these days in favor of agave, maple, dates, or brown rice syrup. This is less-sweet than the original recipe and perhaps a bit “healthier”-tasting, which is how I roll with baked goods (the last time I made something with the full amount of sugar called for I got a sore throat), and contains a couple other minor changes to make up for the differences in gluten-free flours. Though far from fat-free, I think using real, natural fats is super-okay, and these are meant to be treats, am I right?
While I imagine this might work with a different flour blend, my little experience with gluten-free baking goes to show that even minor changes can yield drastically different results, and I’d recommend trying out the blend given here. As a bonus, you need no pricey xantham gum to achieve these sturdy little cupcakes; they are “firm” like a traditional cupcake and won’t fall apart on you once you’ve taken a bite. But most of all, they are really really tasty, especially when paired with the tangy avocado lime frosting (which is soy-free and refined-sugar-free too!). So if you’re gluten-free or you’ve got a gluten-free friend in need of a special tropical treat, I really hope you’ll give this a try.
GF Coconut Lime Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup agave nectar or brown rice syrup
1 1/4 light coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (make sure it’s gluten-free if you need it to be)
zest from two limes
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
3 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease or line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil and agave or brown rice syrup. Add the coconut milk, vanilla and lime zest and stir well.
Sift together the millet, sorghum, tapioca, and coconut flours with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the liquid mixture and combine with a whisk or rubber spatula. Stir in the shredded coconut.
Pour into prepared cupcake pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until the tops “spring back” under light pressure and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
I’m not a huge fan of frosting, particularly “buttercream” frosting. It’s always been like eating sickeningly sweet flavorless fat to me. And I know some agree with that and some don’t, and if you don’t, a limey buttercream frosting will be perfectly divine on this cupcake. But if you want to try something new, make friends with the magic of avocado! It’s pretty and green and isn’t salty like that certain popular brand of non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (which admittedly I do love on toast). This frosting isn’t quite as stiff as a margarine-and-powdered-sugar frosting is, but it will retain its piped shape beautifully once it’s gone through the chilling process…the key here is the addition of some liquid coconut oil which becomes solid when cold. This also makes a great raw mousse or pudding, too, if that suits your fancy!
Avocado Lime Frosting
makes about 10 oz.
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
juice of one large lime
splash vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 cup agave or brown rice syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Blend the avocados, lime juice, vanilla extract and sweetener in a food processor or blender until smooth. With the machine on, slowly add the melted coconut oil and process until combined. Transfer to a bowl or container and chill in the refrigerator until set.
To decorate the cupcakes, frost or pipe with the avocado lime frosting and decorate with flaked coconut if desired.
This cupcake business has got me into a gluten-free baking frenzy, at least for someone who doesn’t bake very often! Unfortunately my attempt at a muffin recipe resulted in a very tasty but very crumbly mess, though I’m having higher hopes for some hazelnut chocolate crisps (above), which I nibbled on with leftover frosting. Should further attempts prove successful, a recipe will be forthcoming later in the week. Hip hip!