Gluten-Free Cupcakes and Giveaway

I just love coming home on a Friday morning, after playing racquetball and doing Zumba, to find a package on my doorstep.  I especially like to find a pretty cookbook.

Ten Speed Press sent me a new cookbook to possibly review, Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam. There are 50 recipes.  The difference?  They are made with almond and coconut flours, and often use agave nectar.

Now, if you ever see the mess of flours I have, you would think I have everything.  Close, but not quite.  Almond flour is one of the things I don’t own (it’s a little freaky, I must admit).  BUT, many of the recipes in this book use just coconut flour, so Melissa and I made some of those.

With the help of our little girls and Carter, in their aprons, my sister-in-law and I set out to make some yummy cupcakes.

We started with Strawberry Cupcakes, because I had fresh strawberries in the fridge.  It calls for 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder (another one of those rare flours I don’t own), so I subbed a tablespoon of cornstarch, otherwise, I followed the ingredients/directions exactly.

Except for allowing them to cool for an hour – we didn’t let ALL of them cool.

Tasting them hot, Melissa said they were “like a strawberry version of banana bread.”  Honestly, I think that’s a very good description.  Even cool, they were dense and more muffin-like than cake-like.  They were very good, though, just not your typical cupcake.  That’s probably due mostly to the coconut flour (which you could taste a little bit in these, but not much).

Strawberry Cupcake with Strawberry Meringue

When they cooled, we made the Strawberry Meringue frosting.  I think I need to take a class on stiff peaks, though, because mine apparently weren’t stiff enough (but just barely – it still worked).  Melissa and I (and Braden when he got home), all thought that the meringue was way too sweet.  The little ones really liked it.  If I did it again, besides getting a second opinion on my beating skills, I wouldn’t add nearly as much agave.  Personal opinion, though.

Our next adventure was the White Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes. These turned out to be my favorite and Melissa’s least-favorite (but she doesn’t like white chocolate).  Melissa thought they were good, but had too many white chocolate chips.  I thought the amount of chips was just right, and the pairing of the white chocolate and the real cherries was very good.  The coconut flour was barely noticeable in this one.  We never did frost these.

White Chocolate Cherry, Red Velvet, Strawberry

Our last cupcake foray was the Red Velvet.  This one was the closest texture to cake.  The coconut was still pretty powerful, which is fine if you like coconut (I happen to love coconut).  It was quite tasty, and I never frosted it, because, by this point, I had already eaten 4 or 5 cupcakes.

You know the problem with “healthier” junk food?  You eat 4 times as much.  At least, I do.

And then you eat it for breakfast.

But I didn’t feel guilty.  Well, maybe just a little bit.

We did, in fact, eat them for breakfast the next day.   We smothered the tops with peanut butter and it was excellent (Braden said it wasn’t the best on the red velvet – he sneaked that one).

There are some other very intriguing recipes in the book that I haven’t had time to try (or didn’t have the necessary ingredients on hand), like Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins, Flourless Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes, or Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes.

Oh, remember how I said I came home on a Friday after Zumba, and there was the cookbook?  Well, I came home on a Monday, after Zumba, to find a cookbook on my doorstep.  Lo and behold, it was the same one.

So I’m giving it to one of you.

You’ve got until 9pm central, Sunday, May 21, 2011, to leave a comment to enter.  Tell me about your favorite cupcake, or what you would really like to try.  U.S. addresses only, please – I have to ship it myself.

Edited to say I obviously didn’t check the calendar well.  We’ll end it on Sunday, May 22nd, at 9pm central.  🙂

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