Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coconut Cupcakes and a Winner!

I enlisted Ellie's help in choosing a winner for the Pay it Forward Giveaway. Our highly scientific system consisted of her repeatedly biting and slapping a hat full of names until one fell out. And the winner is...

The first of the two Andreas who commented, Seattle Andrea of Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking! (Just after I took a picture of that paper slip, Ellie ate it.) Congratulations, Andrea! Send me your address, and I'll get a package of Maine treats right out to you.

Let's celebrate with some cupcakes!

I decided to give Flying Apron's Gluten-free & Vegan Baking Book another try, using the recipe for Coconut Heaven Cake. The recipe calls for 2 parts brown rice flour and 1 part chickpea flour, and there is definitely some chickpea aftertaste going on. If you're used to gluten-free baking, you might be okay with it, but normal people will think these are weird.

There was no mention of xanthan or guar gum, so, skeptic that I am, I made half the cupcakes according to the recipe, then added ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum to the second half of the batter. After the suggested baking time of 15 minutes, the cupcakes were still gooey in the middle, so I kept them in for another 5 minutes.

The cupcakes made with xanthan gum turned out much darker than those without, and, no surprise, they were more cohesive. The cupcakes without xanthan gum were more moist, but they were nearing burnt on the bottom while the tops were still gooey.

If I make these again, I'll try adding ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum to the whole batch to see if I can strike a balance between moist and sturdy. I'll also try swapping some of the chickpea flour for another high protein flour like quinoa or almond. Additional notes:

•The recipe claims to make a 9-inch three-layer cake or 33 cupcakes. I halved it and got 24 cupcakes, so go figure.

•Shredded coconut is listed among the ingredients, but the procedure never tells you when to add it. I mixed it in with the dry ingredients.

•Maybe lowering the baking temperature from 350°F to 325°F would help.

•I made Flying Apron's Coconut Heaven Frosting (a combination of agave and coconut oil), but instead of mixing shredded coconut into the frosting, I sprinkled it on the tops of the cupcakes. I cut the recipe by two-thirds and had enough to frost 24 cupcakes. I won't make this frosting again. It's expensive, sickly sweet, messy (it melts in a warm room), and when I eat it, all I can think about is saturated fat nestling down to rest in my arteries. I should have used the Coconut Icing (coconut milk plus confectioner's sugar) from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

These were okay for gluten-free cupcakes. I won't be serving them to other people. Still, it's a place to start. I'll figure it out eventually.


  1. I'm excited! Thanks so much for hosting this event.

    The cupcakes look nice and "normal," And I'm with you on the coconut oil icing — no matter that coconut oil is the health darling of the moment. Agave has been getting some bad press, lately. Who can keep up?

  2. LOL - Ellie ATE the slip of paper?! Good thing she let you photograph it first, at least! :-) That girl is too funny!

    Congratulations, Andrea! I have no doubt Mary will put together a spectacular Maine goodie package for you and you'll really enjoy it (assuming Ellie doesn't get to it first!) ;-)

    And gosh, this is the first time I've ever been lumped in with a group labeled "normal people!" :-D

    Happy Earth Day!

  3. You're a gluten free baking wiz! I love that your modifications made better cuppies than following the straight recipe.

  4. I'm going to Seattle in a little over a week. I'll be in different parts of Washington for about 9 days. I cannot WAIT!!! I will definitely go to Flying Apron! I have never tried gluten free baking. Maybe it's something I could test out to see if I have a knack for it. I don't have a gluten allergy that I know of, but maybe there are benefit to limiting gluten intake? Dunno, something I'll look into.

    You really are the BEST, Mary!


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