Vanilla Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)

Cake flour (by which I mean wheat-filled, gluten-filled cake flour) is a low protein flour that is great for making cakes because overmixing flour in cake batter can result in harder, less fluffy cakes. That means less gluten can actually be better for cakes. As a coeliac that makes me think that going gluten free could actually result in better cakes as there is no worry about overmixing the batter and producing a cake that is not as delicious and soft and fluffy as it could otherwise be (which is ironic really because gluten helps to make bread soft and fluffy and, as my 5 year old described glutenous bread, able to be rolled into little balls). I have produced many cake disasters, both gluten-filled and since going gluten-free (particularly during that 17, yes 17 cake run that I embarked on just after my diagnosis to reassure myself that I could still make cake and eat it!). But, as I get to know gluten-free ingredients, particularly the flours, better my cake making has improved and my husband has now declared a couple of my gluten-free cakes much better than any glutenous cakes I made.

And so, when my 7 year old brought home a flyer with details of a bake sale that we needed to provide goodies for in just 2 days time, I did not enter the despair I would have done 6 months ago when I was relatively newly diagnosed and still trying to get to grips with my new gluten-free reality…until I realised we only had 2 teaspoons of butter left. Experimentation ensued and I was very grateful that these worked out so well the first time. I then made them again the next day for the kids to share with friends and was again pleased with the results. The lack of butter made icing these challenging but I managed to make a plan with not-ganache-chocolate-ganache (made with milk) that set enough to not pour all over the sides of each cake. This makes about 18 cupcakes. The recipe below uses a 250 ml mug as equal to 1 cup and I use the spoon and level method (spoon the ingredient into the cup and then level it off with a knife).

What you’ll need:

4 eggs, separated

1/3 cup of oil

¼ cup of milk

1 cup of sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla essence

¼ cup of tapioca starch

¼ cup of potato starch

½ cup of corn starch

½ cup of sorghum flour (this has also worked with brown rice flour instead of the sorghum flour)

½ cup of white rice flour

Pinch of salt

1 dessertspoon of baking powder

What to do:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

2. Beat the egg whites until stiff and then set aside.

3. Put the egg yolks, oil, milk, sugar and vanilla essence into a new, clean bowl and beat until creamy and pale yellow.

4. Add the starches and flours, salt and baking powder to the egg yolks/oil/milk/sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.

5. Carefully fold about a third of the beaten egg whites into the flour/sugar/oil mixture. Then add the remaining beaten egg whites to the bowl and fold in carefully. Stop mixing as soon as the egg whites are incorporated to avoid knocking too much air out of the egg whites.

6. Put about 2 dessertspoons of mixture into each cupcake case and bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, firm and fully baked.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly before icing.

8. Enjoy!

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