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Sunday, August 7, 2011

BIWB goes Gluten-Free: Rum-Infused Apple and Quinoa Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Whoa!  That's probably the longest title yet!  So, I wanted to show our appreciation for one of our guest photographers, Erika.  She was able to capture one of Mrs. Murphy's booze-infused creations when a camera wasn't available.  I ran into Erika in the elevator and discovered that she was gluten-free.  An interesting concept: could I find a booze-infused gluten-free recipe?  I found this recipe on The Cupcake Project.  It called for rum, NO PROBLEM!

Look at these little darlings!
Quinoa?  I didn't even know the correct pronunciation, let alone where to find it in the grocery store or what it even looked like.  Found it in the wonderful bin section of our neighborhood Winco...LOVE Winco...LOVE the bin section...Anyway, it was pricey for a little-bitty grain.  I was up for this challenge!

This recipe involves 3 Steps:

Step 1: Cooking the quinoa.
This is your finished product, light and fluffy; I used a fork to fluff before I let it cool completely.

Step 2: Simmer the rum-infused cinnamon apples...
These lovelies were so yummy all on their own...Dice the apples and place in a sauce pan with the sugar, rum, vanilla bean paste, water and cinnamon.  LOVE vanilla bean paste.  What's not to love?

Simmer for about an hour.  No kidding, it took that long.
You should have a little liquid left.  The apples will absorb what liquid remains as they cool.

I'm thinking next time, this is my new oatmeal topper.

You should end up with apples that look like this: very little liquid and the yummiest most subtle apples EVER! 

Step 3: Making the cupcake batter.

Mix the melted butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl.  Whisk to incorporate. 

Add in the cooked and cooled quinoa, then add the rice flour that you have mixed with the baking powder.  Fold in your apples.  You will have a pretty sweet and loose batter.
Fill your cupcake liners to 3/4 full.  I use an ice cream scoop for this job.  Quick, easy and makes uniform sized cupcakes every time.  Bake per the recipe.  Let them cool completely before you frost them.

Frosting of Choice: Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick salted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbls milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (my new secret ingredient)
1 tsp vanilla extract (please use the real stuff)
4-4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
(more confectioners' sugar as needed)

Cream the butter and cream cheese with the milk, vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium for 1 minute, scrape bowl.  Add the sugar on low.  Mix on medium-low to combine.  Scrape bowl.   Beat for 1 minute on medium, scrape bowl.  Add cinnamon.  Beat on high for 2 minutes, and if too thin add more sugar.  If too thick, add milk.  I had to put mine in the frig for a bit as I really liked the flavor and didn't want to add more sugar. 

Here is my secret to making sure the frosting doesn't escape the pastry bag while I'm filling it.  I used one of my new, mongo tips

Just wonderful...Look how pretty these are:
A little dusting of cinnamon and some white sprinkles.  I'm pretty happy with the close up.  I also think this is one of my all-time favorite frostings.  I'm not too happy with the consistency of these cupcakes as they are more like a muffin.  Hearty and a nice, albeit nutty, flavor. 

I asked Erika if other gluten-free cakes were more spongy.  She agreed, and suggested using a combination of other flours and xanthan gum.  Xanthan gum is used to help the non-gluten flour particles stick together.  Purchased both yesterday and I'll try my hand today with a gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe.  Xanthan gum is EXPENSIVE...Good thing that it will last me for the rest of this decade! 

Give gluten-free a try.  I'm certainly not giving up! 

P.S. GF sour cream fudge CC's seem to be going over well here at work.  I think it's more the frosting than the cake.  But, these turned out with a perfect combo of spongy yet dense cake.  Worth giving GF a try!
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  1. Wow...what an intriguing idea. I would never have thought to bake with quinoa, but now that you've given me the recipe.... ;-) Can't wait to give this a try as I love incorporating whole grains wherever I can (and I get some sort of twisted Mommy-satisfaction out of sneaking them in to my kids foods without them knowing!) Very nice post!

  2. Bob's Red Mill makes a quinoa flour. Most GF flours are best when combined with another flour/starch and, of course, the xanthan gum (unless you get a mix like Better Batter which has the xanthan gum already in it). Living Without has a good breakdown of the various types of GF flours and the proportions that work well: And the Gluten Free Foodie website has some good tips as well:

    1. Thanks, Janet for the great tips! I did make the chocolate cupcakes with the Red Mill GF baking mix and they turned out great! I've also make buttermilk biscuit which were good; really like the flavors. I'll try to find the Better Batter product and give it a try. My boss is retiring and we're having a dessert reception and I need to make a GF cake/cupcakes. Thanks again for stopping by and for all your great advice! Happy GF baking!!

  3. I would love to try this recipe but I don't see a complete list of ingredients. Where can I find the complete recipe? Thank you!

    1. Oops, looks like I didn't select "reply." Below is my answer to your question. :) {See link in 1st paragraph for original recipe from The Cupcake Project.}

  4. Hi Linda! So sorry for the confusion. I do have a link in the first paragraph to the original recipe from The Cupcake Project. This is from our early days in blogging and we didn't always post a recipe, especially when using another bloggers recipe talents. This is the link to the original recipe:

    I hope you have a chance to try it. Best to you!


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