Carol Fenster began cooking gluten-free meals over 25 years ago. Back then, learning that she had to avoid wheat was quite a blow to her lifestyle and she didn’t know anyone else who avoided wheat. Her family didn’t understand how anyone could avoid wheat since her father raised wheat on their family farm in Nebraska and she married into a wheat-farming family.
But she found solace in sweets, so one of the first recipes she converted to gluten-free was her mother’s chocolate cake that Carol ate throughout her childhood. Not surprisingly, that recipe found its way into Carol’s original Gluten-Free 101 cookbook. Now she could eat chocolate cake, just like everyone else.
A few years ago Carol noticed that Red Velvet cupcakes were everywhere and, given her penchant for sweets, she vowed to develop her own gluten-free version. So, when Gluten-Free 101 was revised and expanded into the new Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), she included it so everyone—especially beginners who want to eat the same foods as everyone else—could easily make it. So, here is the recipe.It makes a gorgeous little cupcake, dainty and flat—perfect for lots of icing on top. Enjoy!
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free 101: The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking by Carol Fenster (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)
Now you can enjoy this wildly popular treat, just like everybody else. This recipe makes dainty little cupcakes with flat tops (easier to frost), and their brilliant red color is so inviting. Arrange them on a pedestal cake stand for maximum effect when serving your guests.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes
1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
[3/4] teaspoon xanthan gum
[1/4] teaspoon baking soda
[1/4] teaspoon salt
[3/4] cup sugar
[1/2] cup butter or buttery spread, melted and cooled slightly
2 large whole eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food coloring
[1/2] cup water, at room temperature
1 batch Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard nonstick (gray, not black) muffin with paper liners
 In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour blend, cocoa, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt until well blended.
 In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Add the vanilla and food coloring to the water. With the mixer on low speed, beat in one-third of the flour mixture at a time alternating with the water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Spoon [1/4] cup of the batter into each liner.
 Bake until the cupcakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely. Frost and serve.
Per frosted cupcake: 325 calories; 3g protein; 16g total fat; 1g fiber; 43g carbohydrates; 37mg cholesterol; 135mg sodium
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
In a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed, beat 3 ounces softened, reduced-fat cream cheese or cream cheese alternative, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk or water, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract together until well blended and smooth.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour
Whisk together and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry, place.