Here in our home, eating for holidays and celebrations can bring added stress and frustration. Our combined food allergies and celiac disease means that the only top-eight allergen we can consume is dairy (in restricted quantities). My son, who is five, bears the widest burden of our limited diet. Birthdays, school parties, and holiday gatherings all require us to plan ahead to ensure that he can partake in treats along with his family and friends.
Over time, some of our close friends and family have indicated their desire to make treats for holidays and birthdays that everyone can enjoy. Even when they feel confident that they can avoid allergen contamination, it is overwhelming for them to find the right recipe, let alone purchase all of the ‘unusual’ ingredients that allergen-friendly baking can require.
This year I became determined to find a cupcake recipe that satisfied the following requirements:
Is free of gluten, egg, soy (including soybean oil and soy lecithin), peanuts, and tree nuts.
Uses only one flour or flour blend – no additional gums, egg replacers, or anything the average person doesn’t have in their kitchen. My goal was to limit the purchase of unusual ingredients to one item.
Tastes like a cupcake.
In fact, tastes enough like a cupcake that even people on non-restricted diets will eat it.
Those of you who bake with restricted diets know that this list can be a tall order. Well, I think I’ve done it. I only have a few caveats for you. One is that the flour that I feel works the best might not be available at your local grocery. It is easy to find where I live, but if you can’t locate it, you can purchase it easily online, or try the recipe with your favorite flour substitute. Secondly, some of you might object to the generous amount of sugar in the recipe. On an average day, my family is very careful with our intake of sweets, but we are also happy to indulge on occasion. Finally, it probably goes without saying, but make sure that all of the ingredients satisfy your dietary needs. It is generally easy to find gluten-free vanilla and soy-free cocoa powder, but it is certainly important to confirm that every ingredient is safe for everyone.
makes 24 cupcakes
3 cups of Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 cups turbinado or white sugar (you can adjust as desired, of course)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil – we use sunflower oil for baking
2 cups water, milk, or milk substitute (or combination)
1 tablespoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Measure the flour by spooning into a measuring cup. This prevents the flour from being compacted, thus using more flour than required.
Sift all of the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. This important step will improve the texture of the cupcakes.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, into which you should add all of the wet ingredients. Mix well in the center of the bowl, then stir until all of the flour is incorporated.
Divide evenly among two cupcake tins which are lined with cupcake papers.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake emerges clean, approximately 20 minutes. This really varies by oven, however, so keep a close eye on them beginning at the 15 minute mark.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Or stash them unfrosted in freezer bags, readily available for every celebration.
Bernadette Emerson is Co-Editor & Publisher of Rhythm of the Home magazine. She lives with her husband and two young children in the midwest. When she’s not working on ROTH, she enjoys singing in a band, playing music, drinking coffee, getting lost in books, shooting photos for PLY Magazine, and following her artistic whims and creative fancies. You can find her on twitter.