I like to think of myself as an equal-opportunity baker. If someone wants a gluten-free cookie, I’ll make it. If someone asks for a vegan cupcake, I’m there. If someone (my niece and nephew, especially) wants a cookie with eggs and butter, I’m happy to oblige. The only baking feat I don’t seem to be able to accomplish is a gluten-free, vegan cake. Well, let me rephrase: The only baking feat I don’t seem to be able to accomplish is a gluten-free, vegan cake that I would be willing to eat.
Some of the gf, vegan stuff made by professionals that I’ve actually paid money for has been, shall I say, less than satisfactory. I can’t believe people are actually shelling out dough to eat stuff that tastes like it’s spent its more flavorful days in a box buried in the Mojave.
Baking is always an adventure, whether you’re making something straight up or you’re improvising to meet dietary needs. Chocolate cupcakes are just about one of my favorite things. I make killer vegan ones, and I developed killer gluten-free ones. But, alas, I cannot make killer gluten-free, vegan chocolate cupcakes. While I figure that one out, please enjoy my offering here.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate-Mascarpone Frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
Mascarpone is less tangy than cream cheese, and I much prefer it to the latter. If you think these cupcakes need a bit more excitement, you can top them with chopped roasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips or toasted coconut.
Canola oil spray (if you’re not using baking cups)
1 cup blanched almond flour
⅔ cup GF Classical Blend flour, or your favorite gluten-free flour, sifted
⅓ cup coconut flour
1 scant cup sugar
½ cup good unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup light coconut milk
⅓ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup mascarpone, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons light coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking pan with muffin cups or spray with canola oil.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, xanthan gum and sea salt. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, almond and coconut milks, canola oil and vanilla and almond extracts. Stir dry ingredients into wet until well combined.
3. Spoon batter into muffin cups to ¾ full and bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to rack to cool completely, about an hour.
4. For the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and mascarpone. Add salt and ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, and then add a tablespoon of light coconut milk. Add the chocolate and beat until combined. Add remaining ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, followed by second tablespoon of coconut milk, beating well to incorporate. Taste and make sure frosting is sweet enough. If you need more confectioners’ sugar, feel free to add it. You’ll also need to add a bit more coconut milk. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Frost the cupcakes only after they have cooled completely. If you want to add toppings, now’s the time. Serve and refrigerate the leftovers for up to 3 days.