Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes-A Google Adventure...

Above are two different times I made these cupcakes.  Once with Yellow Vanilla Buttercream frosting and another time with Lemon Buttercream icing.  As I mentioned in my previous post I am an avid baker. I love to get creative in the kitchen, but sometimes I just don't have the time to start from scratch. I was in my kitchen getting ready to create right before Thanksgiving-I had the baking bug! I went through all of my recipes that I had collected over the years and each recipe seemed like so much work and energy that I just didn't have time for. So I ran to my computer and googled GF cake recipes. I came across this link from ABC News and clicked on it. Not only was there an actual recipe, but there was a video. Rarely, would I actually take the time out to watch a video on google, but I was inclined and determined to make a wonderful cake. The video was self-explanatory and easy. I was excited. The only thing that this lovely woman didn't do in her video during her demonstration, that I did, was to sift the starches together ahead of time before adding in the rest of the ingredients. I find that when baking Gluten-Free, in order to avoid lumpiness and clumps and to achieve a finer consistency- it's best to sift. So if you don't have a SIFTER (, run out and get one!

***BIG TIP! Don't forget to SIFT and don't forget the XANTHAN GUM! You will always need to do these two things!!!

What I also liked about this recipe, was that it didn't use any FLOUR. It used Potato and Corn starch (GF of course). I had never made a cake before without using GF flour. I personally found the recipe to be small for a cake. If you are making a double layer cake you will want to double the recipe and maybe triple it. Instead I opted for some fabulous cupcakes.

But I wasn't done there. I wanted a scrumptious Buttercream icing (this I made from scratch). I used the Magnolia Bakery Buttercream icing and added in real fruit juice. It came out fantastic! I used pure lemon juice, maybe just two teaspoons, and It tasted like there were real lemons in the icing.

I also noticed that with most GF cakes, the "moist factor" remains unseen. The one thing I hate about GF cakes and cupcakes that I have tried over the years is that they are dry. Without that icing, you will need an entire glass of milk to wash it down. So I found another icing recipe online from Land O Lakes and took a pastry bag and piped the chocolate icing into the middle of the cupcake. Ta-Daa! A masterpiece!

Whenever I make creations I always give out my goodies to friends, coworkers and neighbors (okay, okay I also give out my goodies to my doormen and my fellow friends at the gym-I'm friendly, what can i say. I think we all know that any kind of pastry, cookie or cake is going to be be fattening, whether it be GF or not, and I for one am trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So I keep 1 or two for myself and give away the rest. This way I can enjoy while baking and stay fit!

So let's review what I have here. An amazing GF Vanilla cake recipe posted on Google from October 2008-which I find in November 2009 (Google rocks)!, an amazing Buttercream Icing recipe from Magnolia Bakery (famous delicious bakery in the heart of the West Village in New York City) and a LandOLakes Chocolate Icing recipe-another fabulous Google find! All rolled into one sweet-ass CUPCAKE.

Yes, It all seems like so much work once the finished product is given out. The cupcakes come out beautiful and look gourmet. Friends, family and co-workers oohs and ahh's fill the room. Pat on the back for me. If you don't mind getting a bit messy in the kitchen and multi-tasking by making a few recipes at once, then this fantastic cupcake is for you. I would never post a recipe that I personally have not tried making. This CUPCAKE had A LOT of air time with my friends and family. And only myself and my mom are Gluten-Free. Everyone else I know is into "Gluten". With their responses I know I have landed myself yet another masterpiece.

P.S. You can also freeze these babies if you want to savor the sweet sugary sensation! Goodie Goodie!!

So here you go. From me to you. Enjoy!!

I am posting links and pics, so it's that easy for you.

GF VANILLA CAKE RECIPE:  This address shows you how to make the batter, not the icing.

2/3 cup GF cornstarch
2/3 cup GF potato starch
1/2" Tsp. GF baking soda
1 Tsp. Xanthan gum (this recipe calls for guar gum but I substitute Xantham gum)
2 tsp GF baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. GF Vanilla extract (if you want to experiment you can use any extract you want, gluten-free of course) The original recipe calls for Anise extract, but I didn't have that at the time so I used GF vanilla instead)
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk (soy milk, skim milk, lactaid milk or regular milk)
2/3 cup superfine sugar
3 Tbsp. Veg. oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray pan with shortening or if you are making cupcakes you need not worry : )
Sift together sugar, corn starch and potato starch in a mixing bowl. Add the following Ingredients in this listed order and mix with an electric mixer: baking soda, xantham gum, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, egg, milk and oil.

Once the ingredients have been mixed, scrape the mixture into the cupcake shells only about 1/2 way (these babies rise)!
Bake for about 25 minutes (time varies on different ovens and how long your oven has been preheated). Watch the cupcakes until they become golden and a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a cooling rack and shortly after prepare to Ice. **It is best to ice the cupcakes once they are fully cooled, otherwise you may have some runny icing. I made that mistake. oops!

I personally did not use her icing recipe as I had opted for the other ones I have mentioned.


1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
1 1/2 cups confections sugar (powdered sugar)
1/3 cup GF cocoa powder  (Recipe calls for Unsweetened but I used sweetened)
1/2 tsp GF Cocoa extract (this recipe calls for Vanilla, but I wanted that extra chocolate zing, so I opted for Cocoa)
2-3 Tbsp skim milk

Beat 1/4 cup of unsalted butter with a electric mixer till creamy.  Butter should look smooth and have a faded yellow/white like coloring.  Figure about 3 minutes or so.  Add rest of of ingredients starting with the confections sugar, followed by the rest of the ingredients.

From The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook by Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel

Now remember instead of using extract for this recipe try using real fruit juice! It makes a wonder of a difference!!

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
6-8 cups of confections sugar (I used about 7 cups)
1/2 cup milk (remember you can use any kind of milk needed for your dietary needs)
2 tsp fresh fruit juice (I used Lemon juice, and the recipe called for vanilla extract)

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and the fresh fruit juice. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled). Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

**Makes enough for one 2-layer 9" cake or 2 dozen cupcakes.

Now you are probably wondering how I got the chocolate icing into the middle of the cupcake.  Well I used a pastry bag with a large skinny tip.  I filled the pastry bag with the icing.  Sometimes this can be a bit of a task as you don't want to get the icing all over yourself.  So I take a tall glass and fold the pastry bag over and into it.  See picture for reference:

You can use a disposable pastry bag a cloth pastry bag or a mechanical pastry bag.  Both are fine and you will have the same results.  A great thing about the disposable bags is you don't have to clean them when you are done.  It's that easy.  Just throw them away, but don't throw the tip away!! Those are metal and you keep those.  Any baking store like Williams Sonoma or Broadway Panhandler or any other baking store.  You can buy the tips individually or in a package.

Then I take a spoon and put the icing mixture into the pastry bag.  You don't want to fill it to the top because you have to then pipe it.  You want to squeeze the top and push the icing down.  You can test it on a napkin to make sure you are squeezing the bag correctly.  Each tip you use has a different shape and that is how the icing is piped differently.  For example if you use a shell tip you will have the icing come out in a decorative form.  I used a circular tip just to pump the icing inside.  On the outside of the cupcakes you can get creative if you choose by using different tips with different shapes.  See example:
Now.  There are 4 parts you need to buy for a pastry bag.  There is the bag (disposable as above pictured, cloth or mechanical).  Then you need the 2 plastic pieces.  These usually come together in a package.  One piece goes inside the bag and the other goes on top of the tip to secure the tip.  Last but not least is the metal tip and voila.  Your pastry bag is ready to be used.  When you buy the pastry bags they look like long triangles.  You have to cut the bottom with a scissor on an angle and then wedge the plastic piece inside.  This part is easy.  That's what's so great about the disposable bags.  If you make a mistake it's no big deal.  See below for picture reference:

Once the bag has the icing inside and all pieces are intact, you are ready to pipe!! I usually shave off a slither of the top of the cupcake with a sharp knife to level out the cake (to make flat), then with the pastry bag i dip the tip into the center of the cupcake and pipe (push the icing inside), and then when I think there has been enough piped I "pull out" which leaves a residue of the icing on the top of the cupcake.  Then I take another pastry bag filled with the other icing and I use a round tip (there are many at the store, I choose a wide round tip) and I ice the tops of the cupcakes.  See pics:

And then we are ready to ice the top and with the buttercream icing and you are ready to serve!! These cupcakes are amazing, I kid you not.

Last but not least, just so you get to see what the middle looks like... Drum roll please... ... ... ... Are you ready for the sweet fudge insides???

This is the moist factor I am speaking about.  Pure decadence.  Enjoy!!

To my fellow followers and viewers-If you make this lovely recipe let me know what you think. Tell me your thoughts, as I would love to hear back.

Happy baking!!

xoxo Julie


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  2. For some reason it did not work when I tried to add the links to these fabulous recipes!! Stay tuned, I'm working on it. In the meantime, you can click on the main picture at the opening of my blog and it will link you to the video and recipe. Happy baking!! xoxo Julie

  3. Thanks Julie! As newb to GF I am excited to make the cupcakes for a family birthday party in a few weeks. Yours are beautiful!

  4. Hey Skier Girl! Thanks! I can't wait to share more fabulous recipes! I am new to blogging but I am so happy that I can share this with everyone out there who are Gluten-Free. So you are a Gluten-Free newbie? I hope you are feeling great and don't worry! There is soooo much out there for you to eat!! When piping the chocolate icing into the cupcake you will need a large pasty bag with an oversize tip. Tips are the silver caps you put onto the pastry bags so it pipes correctly. Check out any baking store like Broadway Panhandlers or William Sonoma. Good luck!

  5. Hey Skier Girl-I figured out how to add links! Now you can see click on the links to see where I got everything from!

  6. Thanks Julie! I am feeling so much better just after 1 week GF! Saw my Internest yesterday and he was skeptical. Definitely B12 deficient by the cracks on my mouth. Gave blood for the Antitransglutamate test and other vitamin deficiencies. Hope it comes out with a confirmation, even if not, I'm not changing. It will just be easier to convince others. Love you blog, fun! Overwhelmed right now but I am going to try some recipes soon!!!

  7. Hi Skier Girl, even if you don't test positive but see improvements from going gluten-free you have your answer. I know it's hard, convincing others when you don't have it documented, but many out there do not. As long as you are feeling better, then don't change the diet. Thanks on my blog! I appreciate that! I am glad I can help!


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