The Ultimate Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcake (They’re Lactose-Free too!)

What is it with chocolate? People are obsessed. I get more requests for chocolate cake than anything else, by far. And we’re not talking about a slight majority here, we’re talking a 9/10ths-of-the-time type majority.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate. In fact milk chocolate in all its guises has been one of the hardest things to cut since going lactose-free (milk-free milk chocolate is wrong on so many levels. I question whether a blind taste test between dairy-free milk chocolate and cardboard would actually reveal any differences. If anything, I’d give cardboard the upper hand). Its just that I always want to make something I haven’t tried before, always want to try out new flavour combinations. Thus the humble chocolate cupcake has gone rather ignored in my quests for gluten-free cake perfection. No longer.

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I gotta say, these guys were deeeelicious. Be careful not to overbake the cakes, I say 15-18 minutes in the recipe but the first batch I left the whole 18 minutes and they were teetering on overdone. You have been warned! Its the buttercream on these guys that are the real winner though. Rich, chocolatey and fudgey, and the only buttercream I’ve ever made that, in my humble opinion, doesn’t lose any from using Stork instead of butter. Nothing to stop you using unsalted butter if your belly can handle it though!

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The Ultimate Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcake

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 175g Stork
  • 85g dark chocolate (50-60% cocoa solids is ideal, if you just get ‘plain’ baking chocolate this usually is without any milk)
  • 100g cocoa
  • 140g self-raising gluten-free flour
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 160g granulated sugar
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180ml buttermilk (I made this by combining 180ml lactose-free milk with 2 tbsp lemon juice)
  • 100g chocolate chips (milk, dark: whatever takes your fancy!)

‘Butter’ icing

  • 330g icing sugar
  • 80g cocoa
  • 90g Stork (or unsalted butter at room temperature if you can handle it!)
  • 95ml lactose-free milk (I used whole lactose-free milk but I’m sure semi-skimmed or almond milk/soy milk would work just fine – I’d stay away from the unsweetened types though. On the other hand, for all the lactose-vores out there, I bet this would be delicious with single or double cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate chips, for decoration

Method

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan
  2. Either in a bowl in the microwave (in 30 second blasts) or on top of a pan of simmering water, carefully melt the chocolate with half of the Stork, and let to cool slightly
  3. In a separate bowl, seive together the cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt
  4. Cream together the remaining Stork and both types of sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla to the Stork/sugar mixture and beat until combined
  6. Beat in the chocolate
  7. In halves, add the flour mix and ‘buttermilk’ alternately (half flour mix, half buttermilk etc.) and beat until just combined
  8. Split evenly between 18 cupcake cases and bake for 15-18 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean

Buttercream:

  1. In a large bowl, cream the Stork/butter until fluffy
  2. Sieve half of the icing sugar into the bowl with half of the milk/cream/dairy-like product and beat until combined
  3. Sieve in the remaining icing sugar, cocoa, remaining milk/cream and vanilla extract and beat on high until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes
  4. Pipe on as you so desire, and decorate with chocolate chips (because clearly there’s not enough chocolate here already!)

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Note the arty fingernail including in this picture. I am nothing if not professional 😉

And one more for good measure

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