Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gluten-free Red Velvet Cupcakes

I am a private person. I bristle when my life is discussed, when my sense of self is put on display and fodder for others interests. And then I have this outpouring and everyone is so kind that it amazes and makes me cry. I sometimes tire of my gluten intolerance and it's frustrating, mostly because I cut out gluten for one reason and when that didn't work I couldn't just go back to eating bread and all kinds of good wheaty things and that sucks. I know that makes me sound like a 15 year old but it's true. My gluten intolerance wasn't linked to my bipolar, it didn't fix my brain but it certainly fixed the rest of my body. It's a good thing that I stopped eating gluten. It really is.

As a way of breaking out of this baking slump I took the advice of Chef Dennis and wandered back into the kitchen. I poked around in the cupboards, watched an episode of Triple D, snooped in the kitchen and went online. It was while I was monitoring Twitter for any suspicious behaviour, such as recipes I had not yet seen, I discovered Jenna from Eat • Drink • Pretty and her Red Velvet Cupcakes. Obviously I would not be able to follow her recipe exactly but I was able to make this gluten free and I was really proud of the delicate texture and flavour of these cupcakes.

However, I'm not going to share with you. Yes, I am. The recipe is below. There was a mishap with the notebook which contains the recipe.

The Recipe

note: I think I might be overzealous with my flours but this garnered a fantastic texture.

57 g rice flour
57 g quinoa flour
37 g chickpea flour
70 g teff
30 g corn flour
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
one teaspoon baking soda
one teaspoon salt
one teaspoon guar gum/xanthan gum (I prefer guar gum, use what you like!)

one cup goat milk w/ tablespoon of vinegar*

2 eggs
1.5 half cups sugar
3 tsp. vanilla (seems like a lot - I find I need more with gluten-free baked goods)
half cup oil (should be neutral, I did use olive because it's all we had)
one tablespoon red food colouring

*This is instead of buttermilk. My babies (all three of them) are intolerant of cow's milk but they can have goat. If you do not imbibe any dairy, the same ratio applies to soy milk in order to make the curdled buttermilk!

1. Mix together the dry ingredients. Those are conveniently separated in the first batch!

2. Mix together the wet ingredients, the batch of all wet stuff in the last grouping.

3. Add the dry to the wet, alternate with the buttermilk. Since this is gluten-free it is extraordinarily runny, I don't remember wheat based cakes being this runny.

4. Fill lined cupcake pans. Bake at 325* for 15-20 minutes. Remember my tremendous muffin tins? I also have super small cupcake tins. Yup, only extremes around here ... we shan't mention the crazy. :)

Traditionally, red velvet cake is served with cream cheese icing. Like usual, I have used goat quark. I love quark because it is a lot lower in fat than other cream cheeses, my beloved babies can eat it First, allow me to apologize for the Wikipedia. In my other life as a university student it is seriously frowned upon, though I do have an unhealthy addiction to it!

The Icing

4 tbsp. quark
1.5 cups icing sugar
hot water (splash)

Mix all ingredients together. The hot water is there to thin it out if you find the icing is seizing and will not mix.

The crumb on these cakes had me so impressed and -dare I say it- proud of my new baking skills. I love baking, the properties of gluten free baking have pulled the rug out from beneath me. It's a journey, and we never really get there, but isn't that the point?


  1. at any rate, the velvet cupcakes look amazing!!!

  2. Kim: Ha! I found the recipe! I was on the phone with the kids and tripped over it!

  3. Joy...I'm going to try it if I can find the ingredients here... otherwise, I'll do it. when I come home... I'm so jealous of the cooking abilities of the two of you... I love cooking but I don't i'm anywhere near the two of you!!1

  4. Lovely velvet cupcakes! I had recently baked some too and it was delicious!

  5. Kim: Don't necessarily worry about finding all the gluten free flours, it works out to 247 g of cake flour. That way you don't have to worry about tracking down a million flours! Well, as soon as you get home you are coming over here for dinner (often) and your abilities are going to skyrocket! Seriously!

    Jeannie: Thank you so much! I've always wanted to try them but was rather mystified by the whole "red" part ... isn't that silly? Cupcakes are delicious and addictive.

  6. :) I'm glad all that experimenting resulted this such deliciousness! Kudos to you... That frosting looks amazing!

  7. A friend of mine has a gluten intolerance, and it's terrible for him too. I learned a lot about how to bake and cook for him.

    These cupcakes look great. I made some (not gluten free), and they didn't turn out so hot. I hear it's about the color and not the flavor so much.

  8. Housewife: Oh, that was definitely the best part! I love icing, it's my birthright.

    Magic of Spice: Thank you so much!

    Nirmala: It's really kind of you to learn how to bake for him. I'm always surprised when my loved ones make an effort. Sounds funny but it really does make you feel loved.

    Thanks, they were yummy too! It did take me a bit to get used to them but my kids and hubby loved them. You know what, I found I had to add a fair amount of cocoa and I wasn't too concerned with getting that intense red because I find if you use too much food colouring it turns the flavour.

  9. these sound great. I'm not gluten intolerant but I do better without wheat...and sugar...and a nice big glass of chardonay. Shit I hate getting old and precious!

  10. Hi, Ms. WP. You must never give up on baking (remember, there are things such as flourless chocolate cakes that are truly without gluten!).

    Thanks for the heartfelt post,


  11. Jan: Oh, you're not old and precious! You just know enough not to keep eating the crap that makes you feel awful. You did mean you still get to have that big glass of chardonnay, right? Because that would not be fair!

    Dan: I won't, I may get tired and frustrated with the amount of time but I won't give up. I love flourless chocolate cake, it's one of my favourites (even from back in my wheat days).

    It's my pleasure (you know, in that weird way professions of self), hopefully others will read it and see something in themselves.