These little bad boys came about as the result of my volunteering to bring a sweet treat to a Cooking Matters board meeting I was attending last week. You see, one of my fellow board members is about to go on maternity leave to have her first child, so it was decided that we'd have a little baby shower for her at last week's meeting.
As coming up with cool baby gifts is not my strong suit, I offered to bring the eats. My first thought was to make a batch of these Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcakes that I had found on Joy the Baker's site, but upon learning that one of the board members can't tolerate gluten, I had to pivot quick and work up another plan.
As luck would have it, Muppet had recently taken the Flying Apron's Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book from the library in order to find a treat to cook for her mom, who while not eating entirely gluten free, is trying to limit the amount she consumes. In the book I was able to able to find a great chocolate cake recipe that wasn't just gluten free, but vegan as well! As you might imagine I was more than a bit sceptical going-in, with the entirety of my deeply ingrained French culinary training being called into question. I had two basic fears. The first, how could they possibly taste good without using butter, sugar or milk? The second, how in the world would they hold together without either gluten or eggs to act as a binder giving structure? Sacré Bleu!
Well, I'm no food scientist so I'm not exactly sure how the chemistry of this cake recipe works, but not only do these cakes have a deep chocolate flavor, but they also exhibit a fine, dense-moist crumb that really satisfies. Topped with Joy's unbelievably good and deliciously non-vegan peanut butter frosting, and these cupcakes were a huge hit with not just our gluten avoiders, but with the rest of us as well. As this recipe is written for a layered chocolate cake, it makes quite a large amount of batter, enough for two dozen cupcakes to be precise, so plan accordingly. Also, the batter is VERY runny, so I recommend transferring it to a large liquid measuring cup before trying to pour it into the cupcake liners. Trying to scoop it or pour it from the mixing bowl would be quite the challenge. Enjoy!
Cheers – Steve
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
for the cupcakes:
- 1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup garbanzo bean or chestnut flour, sifted
- 1 1/3 cups cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 cup EVOO or canola oil
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups maple syrup
for the frosting:
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar (depending on what consistency you want)
- 1 tablespoon milk (or more if needed)
for the cupcakes:
- Heat the oven to 350℉ and set 2 racks in the lower and middle positions.
- Line 2 cupcake pans with 24 paper liners, set aside.
- Combine the brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, whisk to evenly incorporate the ingredients. In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, water and maple syrup. Slowly whisk the flour mix into the liquids and mix until well combined.
- Transfer the batter to a large liquid measuring cup and pour it (yes, its very runny) till each cup is 3/4 full (you will likely have a little batter leftover). Place the pans in the oven and cook 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with just a few cooked crumbs attached. Rotate the pans between the racks half-way through cooking to ensure even cooking between them.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely in the pans, then remove them to a cooling rack for frosting.
for the frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter with a paddle attachment until creamy and smooth. Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and beat on low to incorporate. Add the milk and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy. Check for taste and consistency, adding more sugar to thicken the frosting for spreading on the cakes with a spatula, or thinning it with a little more milk if needed to achieve a loose enough consistency to pipe the frosting onto the cakes. You make the call!