Monday, May 16, 2011

Improvised, Adapted and Overcame

. . . or Vegan Cupcake Success.  (And I couldn't resist another Clint Eastwood reference.)

Although the calendar told me I was going to be starting on the graduation cake today, plans change.  Justin got a job, so the party has been postponed.  From a scheduling standpoint, I'm okay with that, but it would have been nice to have the $$ for the shopping trip I'm going on with my friend, Tracie, on Friday.  Now I'll have to do a little more browsing than shopping. 

But.  Since I didn't have a cake to work on that left me with time to rework yesterday's vegan chocolate cupcakes.  And truthfully, I'm not mad at the results at all.  I made some significant changes resulting in the batter being much thinner today.  I wasn't sure if they were going to rise or be hockey pucks.  Fortunately, they did rise.  And, not only did I keep them vegan, but I also made them gluten free. 

Oh yes I did.

If you've read any of my other recipes (thank you if you have!), you've probably figured out that I am neither vegan, nor gluten-free.  But as a wannabe baker, I want to know how to bake for those on restricted diets whether it be because of choice or necessity.  Not only do I want to learn how to bake for restricted diets, but learn to do it well. 

I think the only thing about these cupcakes that isn't 100% is the texture.  While they don't fall apart in your hands, they do sort of melt in your mouth.  Not that this is a bad thing; it's just that most people expect the texture to have a little bit of "chew" to it. 

Some time ago I had read on Gluten Free Girl and the Chef that teff flour provided a good texture to gluten-free baked goods.  Other things I've read recommended xanthan gum.  I may try adding a very small amount of xanthan gum in the next batch.  But all in all, I'm considering this recipe a success.  So here it is if you'd like to try it.

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 10 cupcakes but can easily be doubled

2 oz raisins
2 fl oz boiling water
1-1/4 oz natural cocoa powder
7 fl oz almond milk*, divided (3+3+1)
1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 oz brown rice flour
1-1/2 oz sweet rice flour
1/2 oz teff flour
1/2 oz potato starch
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz finely grated carrots
 1 oz agave nectar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze (optional)
1 Tbs almond milk
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven 350°F.  Line cupcake tins with foil liners.

Put the raisins in a small bowl with a lid and pour the boiling water over them.  Cover and set aside to soften for 20 minutes. 

Heat three ounces of the almond milk in a glass measuring cup in the microwave until steaming hot (about 90 seconds).  In a small bowl, add the hot almond milk to the cocoa powder.  Whisk until no lumps remain.  Set aside to cool.  Combine one ounce of cold almond milk and the cornstarch and stir until dissolved.  Set aside. 

Combine the flours, potato starch, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.
Transfer the raisins and their liquid to the bowl of a food processor and puree.  Add the grated carrots and remaining almond milk to the raisins and puree until smooth.  Add the cocoa mixture, dissolved cornstarch, agave nectar and vanilla and process until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and process until everything is completely mixed.  Since there is no gluten, you don’t have to worry about over mixing.

Use an ice cream scoop to portion batter into the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake 16 – 18 minutes or until a tester comes out mostly clean.  Cool on a wire rack.
Make the glaze if using.  Add the almond milk to the confectioner’s sugar and whisk until no lumps remain.  Spoon the glaze over the cooled cupcakes.  Alternately, the cupcakes can simply be dusted with confectioner’s sugar or a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.

*What I used today was actually called an almond "drink".  Ordinarily I try to get Silk Original Almond Milk, but the supply is sporadic around here.  I think either would work just as well.

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