Friday, 21 March 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Latte Frosting

It was my mums birthday back in February but I had a few scarily close deadlines for training contract applications and coursework, so I made and iced these cakes in advance, and froze them so they kept - they freeze absolutely fine, and my mum loved them - apparently my best baking so far!

I adapted Nigella Lawson's gluten-free vanilla cupcake recipe.

She specified using 110g Dove Farm Gluten free self raising flour, however I realised after setting up and weighing out part of the ingredients, that I had barely any gluten free flour mix left… so after success with using ground almonds in cake mixtures previously, I decided to improvise with the ingredients in my baking cupboard. the cakes turned out fantastically well, with a deliciously rich vanilla flavour, and a moist, open crumb texture.

  • 110g Dove Farm gluten free self raising flour
OR (approximate amounts)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 15 g gluten free plain flour
  • 15g gram glour
  • 15g potato starch
  • 15g corn meal (fine ground polenta)
  • 110g Pure dairy-free spread (I used the soy version)
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 20g soft brown muscavado sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients
(I cheated a bit here, but I have yet to perfect the consistency of my dairy-free buttercream icing…)
  • ~1/2 tub of Betty Crockers Vanilla frosting, or as much as you want to top your cakes
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1-2 teaspoons boiling water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Pre-heat oven to 175°C. Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, potato starch and ground almonds with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Beat together the dairy-free spread, brown sugar and about half of the caster sugar, either by hand or with an electric mixer, until smooth and creamy. Beat egg yolks and add gradually, to avoid curdling the mixture.
  4. Using an electric mixer, whisk up the egg whites in a very clean bowl, gradually adding the remaining caster sugar, until the mixture thickens to a foamy 'peaked' stage.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add to the egg yolk mixture, along with the cinnamon.
  6. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the bowl of flour, and mix until almost combined – do not over-mix. At this stage I like to add the xantham gum, as I think adding too early and overworking it can sometimes make the mixture a little chewy.
  7. Add a little lactofree or dairy-free milk at this stage aswell, if necessary. I found I didn’t need to.
  8. Very gently fold in the egg white 'meringue' mixture - be careful not to knock out the air. When the mixture is only just combined, divide into the paper cases, and pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden on top,
  9. Keep an eye on them. I have found gluten free bakes dry out very quickly if left even slightly too long. The time needed will vary depending on quantity of cake mix portions and the size of the cases. Use a cocktail stick or similar to ‘prong’ the middle of a cake if they look almost done – if it comes out clean they’re ready to take out.

To make the frosting, make up a very strong coffee paste with a teaspoon of coffee granules and as little boiling water as possible in order to dissolve them. When slightly cooled, mix in a bowl with the vanilla frosting and add cinnamon to taste. The quantity of coffee can be adjusted according to how strong you want the flavour, but too much liquid will make the frosting too runny. Spread with a knife or pipe onto the cakes when they are cooled

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