Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, gluten-free #recipe

I’ve had the toughest time making gluten-free baked goods keep their shape. You know what I mean, the rise after it comes out of the oven. Oftentimes, gluten-free cakes sort of fall. A couple of weeks ago, I was reading the Los Angeles Times and saw in the Food section that their cooks had worked and slaved over a gluten-free cookbook, coming up with recipes that they tested and retested to make sure the recipes worked. I bought the book. I’m easy that way. I love cookbooks. I trust when a group says it really tested…

The book came in, and as always, my husband got to it first. He loves browsing recipes. He doesn’t cook, but the pictures call to him. And he loves to look out for me when it comes to my gluten-free issues. So, while I was working on my latest novel, he started reading—out loud—some of the hints and tips this book gave. It’s hard for me to write while he’s vocal, so I set my novel aside and listened. Many of the recipes were calling for the same items I put in my breads, so I wasn’t that impressed, and then he shared the recipe for the dark chocolate cupcakes. The bakers used a lot more baking powder and less baking soda than I usually did. Hmmm. I had to try this out.

And it worked.

And my stepson and his family came over later that day, and none of them could tell that I’d used gluteln-free flour. Now the cookbook chefs suggested I use King Arthur’s GF flour. They believe it combines best with the xanthan gum—which is a must; I’ve been using it for years. I used my own mixture of GF flours—half sweet rice flour and half tapioca flour. I believe the result was the same. Perfectly beautiful cupcakes.

I’ll confess. I cheated because I was short on time and used a premade frosting. I’m sure any frosting made with butter and confectioner’s sugar (or powdered sugar, or as Mary Jane calls it in Canada, icing sugar) would do.




1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup GF flour (see notes below)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%; cookbook asked for whole milk)
2 cups frosting

Make sure oven rack is in middle position Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Put oil, chocolate, and cocoa together in a microwavable bowl. Microwave at half power, stirring occasionally until melted. About 2 minutes. Whisk mixture until smooth, then set aside to cool slightly.

Doesn't this almost look like art?

In separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt together.

In large bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla together. Whisk in sugar until combined. Whisk in cooled chocolate mixture and milk until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until batter is combined and smooth. About 50 stirs.

Using ice cream scoop (*NEW TO ME) pour the batter into the muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes. IMPORTANT: Rotate tin halfway through baking.  Let cupcakes cool in tin for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from tin and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Note: unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in airtight container at room temp for 1-2 days.

Spread or pipe frosting over top of cupcakes and serve. {I have to admit, I used already made frosting, gluten-free from Betty Crocker.}

Note: these cupcakes rose and stayed “risen” after baking. I was amazed. Most GF cakes “sink” a little. Amazing!

Note re: flour – the cookbook authors said they really liked King Arthur GF multi-purpose flour. I use a mixture I make myself using sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, and potato flour. You choose.


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  1. The cupcakes look delicious. Thank you for sharing! I love both of your series :)

  2. My mouth is watering just looking at those pictures. Yum!

  3. they look wonderful Daryl! I love the idea of your hub finding recipes and tips for you:)

    1. Isn't that fun? He's fully engaged in the process. He's a real foodie! But he looks out for me, too. Aww.

      Daryl / Avery

  4. Those look fantastic. I agree that most gf cakes and breads look really good when they first come out of the oven and then sink. I use Domata All Purpose gluten free flour to bake with and to make gravy with and it works well. It is a cup for cup flour. I will have to try these cupcakes thanks for recipe

  5. They are beautiful.
    I love the idea of your husband reading recipes tips to you.

  6. What a super recipe, Daryl! It looks beautiful. Glad to have your alternative GF flour recipe too because we don't get King Arthur up here. I'm off to alert my GF friends to this.



    1. Oh, good, MJ. Glad to help. I know it always bothers me when a recipe calls for something specific and you can't get it. Alternatives are important!

      Daryl / Avery

  7. Beautiful cupcakes, Daryl/Avery. Great tip on the extra baking powder for GF recipes, and I can just see your hub reading the tips to you. That's wonderful. ~ Cleo

    1. Cleo, I'm always so amazed when I see both baking soda and baking powder in a recipe. It just seems to me that one would cancel out the other. Good thing I'm not a chemist!

      Daryl / Avery

  8. These are gorgeous, Daryl. I bet you made a lot of people happy today with this recipe!


    1. I hope so. I had some woman on FB say that gluten-free had been "debunked" by scientists and so she used flour. I rallied that, indeed, it has not been debunked at all. There are millions out there, like me, who absolutely need to eat gluten-free. Sure, there are lots of people who do it for the "fad" but it's necessary for so many!! Gack. I sort of got "ticked." LOL

      Daryl / Avery