Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gluten free baking!

A friend of mine was hosting a shower for her sister and her gluten free connection fell through, so she asked me if I might be able to help out. I was eager to help out and learn more about gluten free baking, although it was a little nervewracking as you have to be extremely careful with cross contamination and surprise gluten sneaking in from unexpected places.

This challenge really gave me a window into the world of someone with a food allergy/intolerance, it is so difficult to make sure that nothing contaminates your food. I can imagine on first diagnosis, one might just lose interest in food as it is just so hard to find something to eat.

To combat this I made sure to clean all my equipment, and I checked all my ingredients. I also opted not to use my mixers, since both could be contaminated with flour, it could puff out while I'm mixing. Bob's red mill is a supplier that can be trusted, so I got my almond meal and the baking mix from them, and I also opened a fresh packet of sugar and new baking powder, cocoa and salt, just to be sure I hadnt contaminated any of them with flour. I also checked the labels to ensure that they hadnt been produced in a facility with wheat, or contained wheat. I was disappointed not to be using my favorite callebut chocolate.

I knew one of the cupcakes that would go really well was the kumquat almond cupcake that I've made a few times now, and I just needed another option.

I came across this lovely sounding recipe from gluten free girl and decided to use that. I had some wonderful sour cherries in a jar, and decided to use those. They worked beautifully, adding a sour component, and keeping the cakes moist.

Something to note with gluten free baking is that the consistency is often very peculiar in comparison to regular baking, and with these cupcakes you'll never get a pretty dome, they will just spill over the top of the cases, so only fill 2/3 full, they will sink a little, but think yourself lucky you have extra room for your frosting! Since it is cherry season, I topped with fresh cherries.

Cherry chocolate gluten free cupcakes (adapted from gluten free girl)

150g bittersweet chocolate or choc chips
300g unsalted butter
260 g sugar
5 large eggs
150 g bob's red mill biscuit/baking mix
20g cornstarch
20g grams cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
200g sour cherries (from a jar, drained)
50g dried sour cherries

Preheat the oven to 350f

Melt together the chocolate and butter in 15 second increments in the microwave. Mix in the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk together the baking mix, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.

Whisk the eggs until frothy, mix together with the chocolate mixture and whisk. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until combined, add the cherries, then scoop into cupcake cakes, making sure not to overfill.

Bake for around 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cherry Buttercream
500g sugar
250g egg whites
500g butter
75g sour cherry preserves
5ml lemon oil
5ml vanilla

Whisk together the sugar and egg whites over boiling water until the temperature reaches 160f. Place on a stand mixer and whisk until cool and fluffy. Cut the butter into chunks and add slowly while mixing on medium. When the butter has been incorporated and the frosting is silky smooth, add the preserves, lemon and vanilla, whip for a few minutes until combined.

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