Friday, February 1, 2013

Gluten Free Friday ~ Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting


Nearly all of our quaint {and hip!} local bakeries and cafes now have gluten free offerings, but The Esselon Cafe is one of our favorites.  They offer gluten free bread for their delicious sandwiches or alongside their delectable egg breakfasts, as well as several baked goods that are gluten free.  The bread and baked goods are made at another local cafe called the Woodstar, and then sold at both locations.  If you don't get there early enough in the day, you can almost forget about securing a "Fitness Muffin" for your breakfast or morning snack. Made with a blend of high protein flours, coconut oil, carrots, raisins, and nuts, they are a sort of "Morning Glory" that even those who don't have to follow a gluten free diet gobble up or buy in bulk before mid-day! 

I've been wanting to try and reproduce their chocolate muffin with raspberry frosting for a while now, and last weekend, I had the perfect occasion.  A group of women from my church were gathering here for lunch after church in order to finalize plans for our upcoming women's retreat.  This planning session also happened to fall the day before our worship leader, Cindy's, birthday! 

A women's only lunch + one birthday girl = perfect excuse for making cupcakes!

Usually when I make GF chocolate baked goods, they turn out a bit dry and crumbly, but these were fairly moist.  The frosting is the best part ~ made only with butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and REAL raspberries.  I did have a bit of a *frosting crisis, but nothing that Google couldn't solve.  Whew!

They seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed by all ~ even the gluten-eaters. ☺

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting


3/4 cup butter, cut into large pieces
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup GF flour
1 tsp xanthan gum 
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup Greek yogurt, plain

In the microwave, or gently on the stove top, melt together butter, unsweetened chocolate and cocoa. Set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt.  In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Add yogurt to this liquid mixture and then whisk in 1/3 cup of the flour mixture.  Slowly add the remaining flour mixture to the liquid mixture and whisk thoroughly.

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the combined flour and egg mixture and mix completely.

Fill lined muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen. 

 I doubled the recipe for the muffins and the frosting, and this made my three children VERY happy, since there were plenty of leftovers!

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, *at room temp.
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, washed and dried
1 tsp vanilla
1 16 oz. pkg. of powdered sugar

Beat first 3 ingredients together at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar gradually and until smooth.  Spread with an icing spatula or use a pastry bag and wide-mouthed tip to frost cooled cupcakes.

*P.S.  My "frosting crisis" was due to the butter and raspberries being too cold.  The frosting began to separate!  My inclination was to do the exact opposite of what I was supposed to do; I put the disheartening frosting into the refrigerator.  That only made things worse.  After some desperate "Googling" I learned that I needed to put the bowl of frosting into another bowl of warm water to gently warm the icing and then stir until the frosting was smooth and creamy again.  It actually ended up being too thin after this process, and I had to add more powdered sugar.  (It also required a hurried trip to the grocery store ~ on foot ~ before the guests arrived!  My oldest had our mini-van, and my pastor husband was still at church talking with people after the service!} Your frosting should be creamy and smooth in appearance ~ not grainy or cottage-cheese like!

Buttercream frosting rule #1 = all ingredients must be room temp!
 {or even warmer if you live in New England!}

Cindy, the birthday girl, had some knowledge about buttercream frosting, since she is a newlywed, and spent some time this summer sampling wedding cakes.  On one of those occasions, she learned from the chef, that buttercream frosting MUST be room temperature, because even the warmth of our tongues is not enough to properly "melt" and taste the sophistication that is Buttercream Frosting!  Who knew?

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