One of the great challenges of living with food allergies is satisfying cravings. My biggest weakness is sweets. I have to constantly have something sweet on hand or else I go completely mad trying to find something. And now that I can’t have corn or wheat, my selection has narrowed immensely.
Most prepackaged sweets these days include corn syrup. Even some gluten-free ones use either that or corn starch. And what would streamline baked goods be without flour? Add to all of that my mom’s allergy to sugar and we are a sad pair when it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth.
So Saturday I went about trying to find an alternative that we both could eat. I wanted to make a strawberry cupcake and upon finding not one single recipe that didn’t include either a cake mix or a box of strawberry jello (gross!), I decided to wing it a little bit. I was entirely nervous about it, though. Winging baked goods is risky for me anyway because I’m always so scared I’ll mess it all up and then waste all of the food involved. But winging gluten-free baking? Super scary. But it turned out pretty well, so I figured I’d share the recipe with you.
Strawberry, basil and balsamic cupcakes
(adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes’ strawberry cupcake recipe)
2/3 cup whole fresh strawberries, pureed (you can use frozen if that’s all you’ve got, but it’s summer and strawberries are aplenty!)
1 1/2 cups Bob’s Redmill gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown rice syrup
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Balsamic whipped cream frosting
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
Whip it all together in your mixer until light and fluffy. Apply to cupcakes and garnish with fresh chopped basil and chopped strawberries. (I did overbeat my frosting a little bit…it still tasted ok, but it looks a little like cottage cheese in some photos)
The response to these was varied. My mom, who can’t have sugar loved them (although she, of course, wished they were sweeter). My sister-in-law, the one who adores almost everything I bake, wasn’t a fan. Not sweet enough for her either. My nephew devoured hers. Friends of ours, Christie and Nic, loved them to Japan and back.
Jim and I liked them enough. They’re great considering what they are. The cake is moist and pretty dense as most gluten-free stuff seems to be. There wasn’t enough basil flavor really, but I’m remedying that one in the next round. I’m going to make a small batch for my mom and do the rest with sugar…a simple syrup infused with basil and a regular old buttercream frosting…with balsamic in it.
I’ll let you know how it goes.