Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gluten free Chocolate Cupcakes with Pecan-Coconut Filling

At someone's recommendation I recently got Elana Amsterdam's Gluten Free Cupcake Book.
Initially, the recipes looked really exciting and interesting, but then I realized that every single recipe in the book uses agave nectar instead of sugar, and it doesn't even offer a substitution for sugar.
Now, I don't really see much reason to use agave nectar, especially in something you only eat once in a long time like cupcakes (and especially since agave is somewhat controversial health-wise), so I decided to try and convert the recipes back to sugar, and I experimented with this recipe, which came out pretty great.

The cupcakes themselves came out a little bit on the dry side, but once they were filled and frosted they were moist and delicious. They were particularly lovely after they had spent the night in the fridge.

GF Chocolate Cupcakes with Pecan-Coconut Filling 

Ingredients (for 9 cupcakes): 

For the Batter:
- 1/4 cup coconut flour 
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar syrup made by heating together 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of water, and juice from 1/2 lemon in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is melted (but not browned). 
- 1/4 cup canola oil 

For the Ganache: 
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 and 1/3 cup (8 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped.
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt 

For Pecan-Coconut Frosting: 
- 2 egg yolks 
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar syrup (see above) 
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped 


1. Preheat oven to 350f/175 C. Line a cupcake/muffin tin with 9 paper liners. 
2. In a large bowl combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, oil and sugar syrup. 

3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously until just mixed. Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture into each of the 9 liners. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of a cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool in a pan for 1 hour. 

4. Meanwhile, make the ganache: In a microwave safe bowl combine the cream and chocolate and heat for 1 minute in the microwave. Mix well to allow the chocolate to melt into the cream completely until they make a smooth chocolatey cream. If after 1 minute the chocolate isn't completely melted, heat it for another 30 seconds and melt again. When the chocolate it fully melted, add in the vanilla and salt, and refrigerate until the ganache is spreadable. 

5. Also make the frosting: in a saucepan combine the egg yolks, coconut milk, sugar syrup and coconut oil. Heat until just simmering while stirring vigorously the whole time, then continue cooking on a simmer (but not a boil!) for about 5 minutes. Using a fine sieve, sieve the mixture into a bowl, and mix in the pecans and coconut. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, and the refrigerate until it is relatively spreadable. 

6. Build the cupcakes: peel the cooled cupcakes out of their lines. Cut each cupcake in half horizontally. Spread the coconut-pecan frosting on the bottom part of each cupcake, then top with the top half of the cupcake. Spread the ganache around the sides of each cupcake, then top the cupcake with more of the coconut-pecan frosting. Refrigerate to allow the frosting to harden. 


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