By George, I’ve finally done it.
A perfect vanilla cupcake that is grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and gluten-free. And it only took me 5 dozen attempts to get them right!
I’m calling them Freedom Cupcakes. Nick just calls them “those super-yummy cupcakes you make, Mommy.” I’ll leave it to you to choose the name you prefer.
My quest for vegan, grain-free coconut flour cupcakes began last August when I published my Coconut Flour Cupcakes. If you’ve done any coconut baking, or even if you’ve perused coconut recipes, you’ll notice almost every one requires eggs. Lots of eggs. Sometimes a dozen eggs in a single cake recipe. Coconut flour is a tasty, versatile, nutritious, gluten-free flour option. But it’s tricky; eggs give it the structure and guidance it demands.
But not everyone eats eggs. And even those of us who do eat eggs may not want to eat a carton-full per cupcake. Plus, massive amounts of eggs hold the baked goods together, yes, but the texture is definitely on the sponge-y side.
So I promised to work on an egg-free, dairy-free rendition. Some of you asked if it could be nut-free, too. I said sure. Gulp.
Then I made a lot of terrible cupcakes. By the dozen. They were gooey, gluey and gloppy. They would not rise. Then they rose, but immediately sank.
Then, one fine February day, I got it. Not just, “hmm, that’s getting close,” but “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR AMAZE-BALLS delicious!!!” . And now they are. Just right.
Here are the essential ingredients to make them work. I know, I know, new things to buy, BUT, I will be posting LOTS of grain-free vegan recipes using these ingredients, plus, they are inexpensive (especially relative to other grain-free flours, like almond flour)
(1) Coconut Flour: Subtly sweet and fragrant, and, of course, grain-free. It is also considered a hypo-allergenic flour.
(2) Whole Psyllium Husks: Thank you, Shauna (glutenfreegirl) for introducing me to psyllium husks, because when it comes to grain-free, nut-free, vegan, baking, these are the golden ticket; they keep these cupcakes from going ker-plop and are absoltutely essential here. (Before you ask, no, flax seed meal will not work as a replacement–I love offering subsitutes whenever possible, but there are none for the psyllium). Use the psyllium husks as (your new favorite) egg replacer in general: mix one tablespoon whole psyllium husks with 3 tablespoons warm water; let stand 5 to 10 minutes to thicken (it will be much thicker than a flax egg–almost solid–but breaks up when you mix it into batters and doughs). Bonuses of psyllium husks: super-high fiber and zero calories.
(3) Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour: With it’s high protein content, chickpea flour also lends structure and substance in the absence of eggs. In combination with coconut flour, there is zero “bean” taste.
(4) Potato Starch: You can use an equal amount of tapioca starch or arrowroot starch, but I prefer potato starch. Here’s why (it’s all about the benefits of resistant starch).
The cups will only be about 1/3 to 1/2 full–this is just as it should be! They will rise to the top of the cup.
This one didn’t make it to the icing stage 🙂 The texture is sooo good–just like a traditional, all-purpose flour cupcake. No spongie-ness!!!
This one did 🙂 Enjoy!!!
- ½ cup coconut milk (full-fat, well-stirred)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp whole psyllium husks (not psyllium powder)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar or natural cane sugar (not too dark)
- ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (gluten-free)
- ½ cup PLUS 1 tbsp chickpea flour
- 5 tbsp coconut flour
- 4 tsp potato starch
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- Easy Chocolate Icing (see below)
- Natural Colored Sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the coconut milk, water, psyllium husks, coconut sugar, coconut oil and vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, coconut flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt.
- Add the psyllium mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just blended.Divide batter among prepared cups.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it (centers may sink slightly). Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. Frost and sprinkle as desired!
- Easy Chocolate Icing:
- In a small saucepan, melt ⅔ cup virgin coconut oil over low heat. Remove from heat and whisk in ⅓ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder and ⅓ cup pure maple syrup (or agave nectar) until smooth. Cool 20 minutes (it will thicken as it cools); use immediately.