May 16, 2011
Coconut Flour Cupcakes with Coconut Vegan Frosting
And these are something a little bit different......
There are absolutely fantastic blogs out there that cater for us InTolerants with amazing recipes using weird and wonderful non-gluten flours with a mixture of starches and flours and protein content - but they are really hard to find and some aren't even available in Australia.
Now these recipes are perfectly suited to the gluten-free lifestyle and produce perfect results every time, but not everyone has them on hand when they Google 'Ginger Kisses- gluten free' or they have an InTolerant friend popping around for dinner. I follow heaps of these blogs myself, and as you gain confidence in InTolerant cooking I would encourage you to as well, but I wanted a blog that people would feel comfortable with all the time, regardless of experience, and one my Cheffy friends could turn to in a hurry and be able to throw together a treat for a special diet that turns up at dinner service without notice. So, I decided to use "mainstream" ingredients that were readily available to most people.
That's why I use generic mix gluten free flours, and lactose free products that you can usually grab at Coles or Woolies on your way home from work. Easy-peasy.
I'm happy to include a new ingredient now and then if it's gaining ground in the 'normal' forums- like cooking magazines and shows, and all over the blogisphere, but mainly to de-mystify it for you and show an example of using it in 'ordinary' cooking.
So today I'm doing a recipe with AGAVE nectar and COCONUT FLOUR.
I recently bought a nifty little cookbook, "Gluten-free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam. 50 irresistible recipes made with almond and coconut flour". I thought it looked pretty good and had heard nice things around the blogisphere so wanted to have a look for myself. I hadn't realised that agave was the sweetener of choice, but as that is readily available too; I decided to blog my experiences with the recipe.
I decided that basic vanilla is always going to set the benchmark for a good cupcake. Quite a few of the recipes are fairly similar with variations on a theme, not that that's a bad thing, there is enough variety to keep your sweet tooth happy and healthy at the same time! And a great selection of yummy sounding frostings as well. I consider this to be a good cookbook investment and I'm glad I got it, but now I need to find a source of almond flour! Congratulations to Elana on such a great book.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1/3 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180*. Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners
In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, agave nectar and vanilla extract. Blend the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture with a handheld mixer until thoroughly combined.
Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared muffin cup.
Bake for 18-22 mins until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for an hour, then frost and serve.
So.... what did I think?
Well, the mix is quite thick- but coconut flour does that you know, but maybe a touch too thick? I think I would add just a tablespoon of water. Our Australian measurements are slightly different, and perhaps the flour moisture content varies too.
I was slack and used a whisk to mix the 2 mixes together, as there is a warning in the front of the book about over mixing. It warns that over mixing will result in cupcakes that not only look odd, but also taste rubbery. Next time I will use the mixer and just give it a bit more of a go. The texture is quite moist and dense, but the flavour is just lovely. I only baked these for the 18mins and they were still a bit sticky, but the extra 2 mins I gave them resulted in the slightly burnt top.
Now, just as you should never be seen in public properly adorned, neither should a cupcake. A cupcake is a dainty, pretty little thing and should be given its due in divine frosting. There are some great sounding recipes in the book for various frostings and I decided to keep with the coconut theme and chose the Vegan Coconut Frosting.
Vegan Coconut Frosting
Makes 2 cups
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon water
1 cup coconut oil, melted over very low heat
(I used Copha solid coconut oil as it can be found at all Woolies and Coles)
In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk and agave nectar to a boil over medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together, then decrease the heat and simmer for 2-3 mins to reduce just slightly, stirring frequently.
In a small bowl, dissolve the arrowroot powder in water, stirring to make a slurry. Increase the heat under the saucepan to med-high so the mixture is bubbling. Add the arrowroot slurry to the coconut mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens and turns opaque and shiny, about 1 minute. Once the mixture becomes shiny, remove the pan from the heat and gradually blend in the coconut oil with a handheld mixture until well combined.
Allow to cool on the counter for 15 minutes. The mixture will not look like frosting yet- don’t worry; this is OK.Chill the frosting in the refrigerator for 1-1 ½ hours, until the frosting fully solidifies and looks opaque white in colour. Remove from the refrigerator and whip with a handheld mixer until thick and fluffy. The frosting will be sticky looking and lumps will dissolve during whipping.
This is the finished product
Quite nice and definitely coconutty, but not as cloyingly sweet as one made with regular icing sugar. I quite like the effects of the agave nectar that way, but it just isn't as easy to get hold of.
I took these little babies to work this week and they were gobbled down. The best comment was 'You'd never guess these had nothing in them, would you?' Sigh... at least I slooowly educating my fellow chefs and the more they enjoy InTolerant cooking, the more understanding they will be when they have to cook for us.
Changing the world, one gluten at a time.
So Readers, have you ever tried agave or coconut flours?
PS. I'm sorry for the posting issues this last week, but due to a snafu at Blogger all my recent stuff was lost. Sorry for any inconvenience lovelies!