Gluten and Dairy Free Lemon Cupcakes

I hope you have all had a good winter break and I wish you all a good New Year. I thought I would start this year with a recipe that I promised you a while ago. My standard gluten and dairy free cupcakes.

This recipe is adapted from an ordinary ‘even mix’, one my Mother used to call a 4,4,4 & 2 mix (she measured in oz not grams in those days). This mix was used for all sorts of sponges and puddings and I still use it today for standard gluten free cakes and puddings as it works well (most of the time, there are a few exceptions). Here I’ve doubled it up to make a more substantial mix which actually works better when converted to gluten and dairy free ingredients.

Although here I’ve used lemon for the flavouring, just vanilla or orange works just as well. Chocolate works a little differently in gluten free cakes though, it usually makes them better, but if you want a chocolate cake it needs a little something different than this straightforward mix to make it work.

GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE LEMON CUPCAKES

Makes 20 – 24 small cupcakes.

Ingredients:

225g Dairy Free margarine  (I use Pure )
225g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
Grated zest from an unwaxed lemon
225g Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
2 tsp GF Baking Powder, slightly rounded
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tbsp of the lemon juice or a few drops of Sicilian Lemon Extract (check ingredients)

You will also need:

2 x 12 hole Cupcake pans (If you only have one, that’s fine. I bake mine in batches)
Small paper cupcake cases

 

 

Baking Ing

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 200° C / 400 F / Gas 6

Soften the DF margarine together with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. With a DF margarine it is really difficult not to have this mixture curdle, but don’t worry it all comes together once you add the flour and I don’t think it really affects the outcome.

Add in the grated lemon zest, and the lemon juice or extract if using, and mix to combine.

Next, sift together the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum straight into the bowl and give the whole lot a good beat.

The mixture should be fully mixed with no lumps. It should also be quite soft. If you find that it is holding together a little too much i.e. the whole mixture is moving almost as one around the bowl, add a tablespoon or two of DF milk just to loosen it up a little. The xanthan gum is vital for holding your GF ingredients together and holding in the air so that the cakes rise, but sometimes it can be, let’s say, a little over enthusiastic about it!

The mixture should look like this, holding up but still soft like a standard soft dropping consistency.

img_2932

Divide the mixture evenly between the cases. The mixture should be enough for between 20 and 24 small cupcakes with the mixture filled three quarters to the top of the cases.

Mixing bowl

Pop them into the pre-heated oven, they should take about 15 minutes. They are cooked when well risen and slightly golden and a tooth pick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cupcakes1

You can of course ice these with an icing made from icing sugar and lemon juice, or pipe a swirl of DF buttercream flavoured with some more of the lemon juice; which I do if I am going to serve these to guests. But to be honest, most of the time we are pretty boring and just eat them the way they are. They are just sweet enough to satisfy and without the icing or butter cream it doesn’t interfere with my daily sugar intake, which means I can eat more of them!

If you want to make large cupcakes, the muffin sized ones, the mixture should make about 12 but you will need to bake them for a little longer, perhaps 20-25 minutes.

These will keep for several days in an airtight container.

 

A beginning ends what an end begins

– James Richardson

Happy New Year!

I know it’s a bit late and I do feel a little guilty that I haven’t popped in and said it before but I’ve been a bit slow getting started after the holidays. I have an excuse.

I came down with an awful cold on Christmas eve, which has refused to leave completely (as is normal for me now) and I am still struggling with the tail end of it. But, I did manage to ‘do’ Christmas. We had a good feast, completely food friendly for all concerned. It really wasn’t that difficult although I did end up spending a huge amount of time in the kitchen, especially considering I felt so bad, but it was well worth the effort.

Mini Christmas Cakes
Mini Christmas Cakes

I even managed to bake two dozen of these little gems.  Mini Christmas cakes, complete with marzipan and icing (and a little alcohol for good measure). I used a gluten & dairy free Christmas cake recipe but simply spooned the mixture into little fairy cake cases instead of one large cake tin and baked them for about 20 minutes. They came out great, not dry at all, which I was a little worried about, and made just the right size cakes to have with a drink when guests arrived. They were a little sweet for my taste, which was actually more to do with the dried fruit than the icing strangely enough but as they were only small, I did manage to force down a few!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Even secret ones? I always do, although I prefer to call mine ‘goals’ or ‘changes’ rather than resolutions for some reason. Perhaps it’s because I find it difficult to be completely resolute about anything, always preferring to take the more laid back, perhaps humorous line! More of a ‘this schedule is subject to change’ rather than ‘this is the way it’s going to be’ sort of thing. Don’t get me wrong, I take all my ‘changes’ very earnestly, but life is just too unpredictable, I find, to be unwavering. Anyway, I have a few changes this year which I’ll probably mention as time goes on. This resolution or changes idea did cause a bit of an argument on New Year’s Eve though. Must have been because I was feeling ill as I never usually take such a strong line, but I did get a little stroppy with my Brother who feels it totally unnecessary to make any changes to his life, ever. hmm.

My knitting projects are going well (part of my New Year thing is to find much more knitting time) although I don’t really have anything that I can show you today.  I am working on a blanket for a friend who is expecting a baby in February. I can’t show you though as I want it to be a bit of a surprise and she might see it if she passes by here, which she does sometimes. I noticed a small mistake in it last night, about 40 rows below where I am now. Do I rip out and start again? Or, do I just ‘not notice’? I haven’t decided yet. Although I hate to leave mistakes in things, I equally dislike ripping back what is probably 4 or 5 nights worth of knitting. I’ll have another look tonight and see if I can live with it. Other things are also coming along. The Ranger cardigan is almost to the point of joining the body and sleeves, just a few short rows to put in on the back, then I should be on the home straight. I also have a boy’s sweater on the needles, one that I should have finished before the Christmas break but is only now coming together and a lacy cardigan which I sneaked and started quickly before I could object that I had too many things on the go! The cardigan is from stash yarn, something else I have promised myself I will use some of this year. I should have some pictures of both of those by next week but for now neither things look very exciting.

Well, I suppose I should get back to doing our Tax Returns. I always leave them to the last-minute so it serves me right really. This coming year will be different though – I have resolutions changes!

Change is good

or so I keep telling myself. Change is one of the certainties of life.

Someone once said “There have been some minor changes and a little tweaking of the project”

I’m pretty sure they weren’t talking about knitting but still… if the cap fits.

Child's Menet Cardigan

I started out with the intention of having this project more like a pinafore dress, but along the way I changed my mind….and changed it again.  I like the pinafore idea but with this stitch pattern and yoke design I just thought it wanted to be so much more.

Menet Red 3

There are limitations to using three different alternating colours when working seamlessly in the round. Namely that there is just not a good enough join where you change colours.  Each colour comes from three rounds down and although you twist the old and new colours together, the join just doesn’t have the integrity to it to hold the knitting together. Not enough to stand up to any stretching anyway, which is what you would get if this was a sweater. So after a lot of swatching I came to the conclusion that this had to be a cardigan or I needed to put buttons all the way down the yoke, at the back or the front, and then join in the round to knit the body. With this particular pattern I didn’t like the button idea, to me it just didn’t look right with the highly patterned yoke so I have gone for the cardigan.

Nemet – V2

Menet Red

I’ve written up the pattern and am just working one more sample as I want to get the button band just right.  I am also knitting the next one in a different yarn just to see if that makes a difference.  Picking up stitches through the yoke pattern and getting it just right to marry with the moss stitch button band has proved to be difficult, there are a lot more rows in the yoke than there are stitches in the button band and I want to be able to put exact button band instructions into the pattern, and have them right.  The only way to do this, although I have estimates, is to actually try it out again and perhaps again.

The chest sizes I have written up so far are from a 20″ to 30″ chest in two-inch increments. The pattern should cover ages of approx. 6-9 months up to 9-10 years.  I will be working on some adult sizes next week and giving that a go.

Menet Red 2

If you would like to have a go at test knitting this for me please do get in touch and as soon as I’ve made the pattern presentable I will contact you with the details.

The colour combinations for this are endless and for the next one I’ve chosen slightly less bright colours for the yoke with a cream body, but as I said there are endless possibilities and I have some darker more autumnal colours for the adult version as well as a lighter spring combination.  I can see my fingers will be very busy over the next couple of weeks as I have also promised to finish a UFO for a very dear relative of mine.

Still, lucky I have plenty of these on hand to keep me going then.  I changed this recipe from a gluten and dairy containing one and am so pleased with the result.

Gluten and Dairy Free Cupcakes

Orange and lemon cup cakes.  Gluten, dairy, corn and soya free, but they do contain eggs and refined sugar.

As I want my cakes to be as light and airy as they can without any grittiness, I used a version of Cybele Pascal’s gluten-free flour mix for these.  Rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch. Cybele uses a super fine brown rice flour for her mix which we cannot get here in the UK, so I use super fine white rice flour or Chinese rice flour instead. You can easily get it in most Asian/Oriental food shops here, it comes in a white packet with red writing and a red elephant on the front.  I pay approx. £1.05 for 450g so it’s not very expensive considering and the flour is ground as fine as cornflour.

There is no way anyone would be able to tell that these are gluten and dairy free, no way.  They are just soft and light without the slightest amount of grit or dryness anywhere. Exactly the same as the gluten and dairy version.  They do have a lot of eggs in them though so you just can’t sub them out; unfortunately these do need the eggs to make them what they are.

 

Orange and Lemon Cup Cakes

Pre-heat oven to 170 C (338 F)

200g of dairy, soy free margarine (I used pure sunflower)

200g of caster sugar

4 free range eggs, medium

200g superfine rice flour, potato and tapioca starch mix (see above)

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp of gf Baking powder

(if you want corn free mix your own as I do: 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda)

Zest from 1 Orange

Lemon curd, or Lemon icing to decorate

Muffin tin lined with cases.  (I used natural, bleach free ones)

METHOD

Mix the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy, add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly, the mixture will probably curdle but don’t worry. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and xanthan and fold into the margarine, sugar and egg mixture along with the zest.

Spoon into muffin cases until 2/3 full.  I got 14 out of this mixture so baked in two batches.  Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 mins or until a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack and then decorate as you will. I cut out cone shapes from the top and put in some lemon curd or jam and turned them into butterfly cakes but plan to put some lemon icing on the rest. You have fun with whatever icing etc. you wish.

Orange and Lemon Cup Cake