dedicated to Peter, my one and only, the love of my life
Four hours before Valentine’s Day. Mission accomplished. Three batches, 12 cupcakes in each batch, 36 cupcakes total, 3 different recipes, 100′s of pictures, many calories consumed! All in search of the perfect nirvana-esque chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache icing. It was worth it. After all, there’s nothing that says Valentine’s Day more than chocolate. Um, maybe I could think of one or two things.
If you’ve blogged about a gluten free Valentine’s Day recipe and you want to share it with others, please go here. I’ve created an opportunity for you to add your recipe to a link list of other gluten free Valentine’s Day recipes.
If you’re new to gluten free baking and are flummoxed by the large number of flours and starches used, please know that each of them has their own personality, each has a job to do, each is important to the integrity of the finished product. Is it necessary to use six different flours and starches in gluten free baking? No, absolutely not. There are gluten free bakers who very successfully use two or three gluten free flours and starches. But those who are regular readers of my blog know that I favor mixing a good five or six gluten free flours and starches together for my baked goods. This allows me to use the white flours and starches (white rice flour, sweet white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, cornstarch, arrowroot, etc.), but mostly as a supplement to the higher protein ones (millet, sorghum, teff, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth etc.).
Many of my gluten free blog colleagues as well as other websites have written about the properties of gluten free flours and starches. If you’re interested, here are just a few of the many links available online to help you learn more about the subject.
1. The surejel: fairly new member of my gluten free baking arsenal. You might know it as pectin, used to help set and firm up homemade jams and jellies. I’ve been finding it has an important place in my baked goods. I’m still experimenting with it, so I believe that it’s possible to leave it out of this cupcake recipe altogether.
2. The espresso: not integral to the recipe – I’m just a HUGE fan of anything coffee flavored, so I threw it in for good measure, but leave it out if preferred.
3. Quinoa flour: For the longest time, I stayed away from using this in my baked goods because I thought it would lend a bitter taste to the end result. No such thing! Especially in baked goods that are chocolate. The quinoa isn’t detected at all. I’m a big fan!
4. In addition to being gluten free, this recipe is egg-free and dairy-free. You will not miss either, trust me. These cupcakes taste like the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten, with a tender crumb and a moist texture that will have you scratching your head and wondering why.
5. Let these cool for a minimum of two hours before icing AND before tasting, if not more. I know it seems like an interminable amount of time, but you will be disappointed if you bite into them before they’ve had a chance to gel. The difference between how they look on the inside after they are just out of the oven or even an hour outside of the oven AND a few hours later is like night and day. Go figure – it’s part of the mysterious nature of gluten free baking.
Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup sorghum
1/4 cup almond flour
2 tbsp tapioca starch
2 tbsp potato starch
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp flaxmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground espresso
1/8 tsp surejel
1 cup unsweetened soymilk (or alternative milk of choice)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
White Sparkling Sugar Sprinkles by Wilton, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In medium-sized bowl, combine white rice flour, quinoa flour, sorghum, almond flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, cocoa powder, flaxmeal, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, ground cinnamon, ground espresso, and surejel. Set aside.
Combine milk, canola oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar in bowl of stand mixer (or use free standing bowl and hand mixer). Mix until just combined. Keeping mixer on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients. When everything is blended together, increase speed to medium high for 3 minutes.
Spoon mixture into cupcake liners until they are about 3/4 full. This works really well with a spring-loaded ice cream scooper. Bake 23 – 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to sit in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Allow to completely cool before icing.
Chocolate Ganache Icing
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or alternative milk of choice)
1 tbsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix the milk, agave, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave. It is very important to do this in such a way that it doesn’t burn. I usually start out setting the microwave on 50% power for about 20 seconds, and I repeat this one or two more times. Then I give it one more burst on high for about ten to fifteen seconds. Feel free to melt them in a double boiler on the stove. Note that even if they retain their shape and don’t look melted, if you touch a spoon to them, you’ll see that they really have begun to melt
Once the chocolate chips are melted, add to milk mixture and mix until completely blended.
When both the cupcakes and the icing have reached room temperature, spoon the ganache over the cupcake, allowing it to spill over the sides.
NOTES about the icing:
1. Do not use this to ice your cupcakes until both the cupcakes AND the icing are at room temperature.
2. After you’ve iced the cupcakes, resist the temptation to eat them. Walk away, find something to do. Clean the mess you’ve just made in the kitchen, go fold some laundry, walk the dog. Come back about one or two hours later and the icing will have magically set. It will look like the chocolate shell on the Chocolate-Dipped ice cream cones from Dairy Queen. In fact, sneak a peak at the picture at the top of my post. This was taken before the icing really had a chance to set – you can tell it’s still a bit shiny. About an hour after that picture was taken, it looked like a different cupcake!
Click here for printable recipe