Gluten-free Cupcake-Off

For one of my friend’s birthday, I made some cupcakes this weekend. She recently overhauled her diet to eliminate gluten, soy, dairy and refined sugar and it was a cooking challenge I gladly took on. I’ve never tried gluten-free baking before and it seemed like a worthy experiment. And come on, what’s a birthday without chocolate goodness? I should preface all this with the fact that I am as un-gluten-free as you can get – I am sure that my grave will mention something about my carb-overload tendencies, so I was wading into truly uncharted territories.

I had no idea what I was in for. There are so many gluten-free cupcake recipes!! I spent several hours researching, and finally decided to try out two: Elana’s Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes and a modified version of Love and Lemon’s Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes.

The Paleo cupcakes required coconut flour, coconut oil, baking soda, celtic salt, and a lot of eggs (my friend can eat eggs), and I made them mini:

For the vegan chocolate cupcakes, I used gluten-free flour instead of spelt and omitted the cinnamon and apple cider vinegar.

Whenever sweetener was called for, I used agave. Aren’t these cupcake liners pretty? They look like flowers when fully opened and you can find them here.

Armed with two sets of cupcakes, I hauled them to the birthday gathering for a cupcake-off. The winner? By a landslide majority, Love and Lemon’s vegan cupcakes. They were both good, but the vegan ones were fluffier and lighter and had a more intense chocolate flavor. I personally think it was all about the chocolate frosting, made from avocado (also from Love and Lemon in that same post). Imparting incredible creaminess and absolutely no taste of avocado, the frosting was delicious.

What I liked about both versions was that I didn’t feel weighed down or treacly after eating them. Because the frosting was mostly avocado, I even felt somewhat virtuous. I have a lot of gluten-free baking supplies now, so I think some more experimentation is in order!

6 thoughts on “Gluten-free Cupcake-Off

  1. One of best girlfriends is vegan, and has been making our “girl group” avocado chocolate pudding for years now. It amazes me what kind of magical alchemy happens to make it taste so delicious! My daughter and I are both GF, so I appreciate you doing all the legwork to determine which cupcake recipe was better:) If you continue to experiment with your GF baking supplies, I’d love to read your reviews!

    1. Avocado chocolate pudding sounds amazing, Lucinda! I probably wouldn’t have thought that prior to trying the avocado frosting, but I am now a convert. I really liked how much lighter the gluten-free desserts seemed, so there will be more recipes tried out for sure – stay tuned!

  2. i am (er, was… in my pre-kid life) a pastry chef and had so many requests for vegan and gluten-free desserts. It always stumped me! I gotta say, I’ve never tried avocado in a frosting…. intriguing! I myself am partial to butter. In everything. 🙂

    1. Oooh, pastry chef! How did you resist all your creations? I think I would have been fired as a pastry chef from sheer lack of self-control. Erin, I too am partial to butter in everything – extra butter if possible!

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