Monday, November 5, 2012

Gluten-Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

If you are vegan, not able to have dairy or eggs or know someone with allergies, it can be daunting to make treats without eggs and milk.  Thank goodness, I came across this wonderful cookbook:  Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule.  The authors are brilliant. Just the Fluffy Vegan Buttercream Frosting and the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes recipes are worth the price of the cookbook.  

Several years ago, I had to cut out dairy when I was nursing my babies.  They were fussy and it helped.  These cupcakes saved me from the insanity.  Now, I am (temporarily) going gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free.  These cupcakes came to save the day again! 

The other day, there was a Fun Day at my son's school and I volunteered to bake 3 dozen chocolate oreo cupcakes.  He has a classmate that is allergic to gluten, dairy and eggs.  I wanted him to have a treat too, so he wouldn't feel left out.  I went with gluten-free, vegan vanilla cupcakes, as I am also allergic to chocolate (cruel, eh?).  I frosted them with a fluffy, vegan vanilla frosting

The vegan vanilla cupcake was perfection.  To make it gluten-free, I made my own gluten-free baking mix and used it in place of all-purpose flour.  If you can tolerate wheat, this cupcake recipe is amazing whether you are vegan or an omnivore.  My children INHALED the gluten-free cupcakes as fast as me.  Completely unexpected.  I even shared them with a few preschoolers at my daughter's school.  They ate the WHOLE cupcake.  Boy, was I surprised.  I expected them to take a few bites and leave it untouched.  They sat and inhaled the frosting and cupcakes in one sitting.  I'll take that as a good recipe!

As for my son's classmate, his smile lit up the room as he gobbled the cupcake.

I used a blend of white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, sweet rice flour and xantham gum.  It makes a dense cupcake but the texture is very spongy, soft and moist.  I found that it is better to bake longer than underbake.  Underbaked cupcakes tend to be a bit gummy.

Gluten-Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
makes 1 dozen

1 cup soy milk (I used unsweetened Coconut Dream)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (I used lemon juice with great results)
1 1/4 all-purpose flour or your favourite gluten-free flour blend*
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Whisk the vegan milk and vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.

Beat together the vegan milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain.

Fill cupcake liners half-way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

*I used this gluten-free flour blend from Simply  3/4 cup super fine white rice flour, 1/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour, 1/4 cup sweet rice flour, 1/4 cup tapioca starch (I used an Asian brand) and 1 tsp xanthan gum. This makes about 1 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour.  

- Adapted from Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

I brought one for my son's classmates and the rest to share for preschool.  Everyone enjoyed them!

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Fluffy Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting - Gluten-free, Vegan or with Butter

Cupcakes galore!  I just finished baking 3 dozen chocolate oreo cupcakes and one dozen gluten-free, vegan (egg-free, dairy-free) vanilla cupcakes for my son's Fun Day event at school.  Yes, that's 4 dozen cupcakes in total.  All from scratch!  

This is my favorite and easy buttercream frosting.  I use a dairy-free, non-soy, vegan buttery spread/margarine (Earth Balance) and regular shortening.  It is expensive but sure worth it.  I am cutting out dairy at this moment, so it is a nice to try new products.  I think the frosting would also be yummy if you use all (real) butter or all vegan margarine (in case you don't care to use shortening).

Not easy making gluten-free and vegan treats, but I was able to have my cupcakes and eat it too! 

Place butter/margarine and shortening in the bowl and beat together until combined.  I use the flat paddle from my stand mixer, but the whisk attachment would be better, since I use it later anyways.

Add icing sugar and beat for about 3 minutes.  Look at how thick and creamy the frosting looks.

To make the frosting fluffy like whipped cream, I changed the paddle attachment to the whisk.   More air is whipped into the frosting, so the texture is lighter and oh, so fluffy.  Add milk (or non-dairy milk, if desired) and vanilla. Whip till fluffy for 5 to 7 minutes.  Note:  if you decrease the icing sugar amount, adjust the amount of milk accordingly, or else your frosting will be too soft to pipe.    

Look at how the frosting looks so fluffy, almost like whipped cream!

Time to decorate the cupcakes.  I used disposable pastry/frosting bags and a Wilton 1M tip.  I find it easier to pipe a huge batch of cupcakes than to spread it on with a knife.  

Cupcakes ready to be frosted!

It takes mere minutes to pipe frosting for 36 cupcakes!  

All packed and ready to go!  

Gluten-free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

Fluffy Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Gluten-free, Vegan or not
generously frosts 24-30 cupcakes

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I used Crisco shortening)
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine or butter (I use Earth Balance vegan margarine)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy (I cut down 2 3/4 cups - 3 cups)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavoured extract, if desired)
1/4 cup milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used 3 Tbsp Coconut Dream unsweetened coconut milk or coconut coffee creamer)

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat for about 3 minutes.  Add vanilla and milk, and whip for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy. 

- Adapted from  Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

I didn't have a cupcake stand, so I used this 2 tiered dessert tray for Nessa's 5th birthday cupcakes.  She loved it!


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