Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gluten Free Banana Peanut Butter Cupcake Win!

When you look at this photo, you may think, "Hmm, it looks like that frosting was just slapped onto those poor cupcakes."

If you thought that you would be correct.  I don't believe in skimping on frosting, and these batches were especially thick and delicious.

Yesterday I posted about improv cooking, which is a show that frequently plays in my kitchen.  More often than not, it gets rave reviews.  Improv baking, on the other hand, is a much more dangerous game.  However, it is a game from which I will never back down.  You see, like most creative individuals, I often have a very specific picture in my head of what I want to achieve, but quite a nebulous plan to achieve my desired result. I'm rarely satisfied with any one recipe I can find, so I simply improvise.  I have been improvising more and more since going gluten free, and my successes are so very sweet.  Like this one:  Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes!  There's chocolate cupcake in the picture too, but we won't mention those.  I actually followed a recipe for them and was not thrilled with the result.  Banana Peanut Butter though, OMG.  I could die right now.

I should mention that I did not make these cupcakes purely for my own pleasure.  My little sister turned 22 this weekend, and she decided to celebrate her birthday by running the Atlantic City Marathon.  She finished in just over four hours (4:02) and placed 19th in her age class.  A performance like that surely deserves some protein and potassium in the form of a delicious miniature cake.  Don't you agree?

Here's what I made for her (more or less)

Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I like Bob's Red Mill)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp guar gum
2/3 cup sugar
2 mashed bananas
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 - 1 cup peanut butter (sorry, I did not measure.  It was probably closer to a cup)
1/2 cup hot water

Wisk together dry ingredients.  Mix in wet ingredients and beat until smooth.  Fill a lined cupcake tin and bake at 325 degrees for 22 minutes.  Perfection.

Oh, what's that?  You noticed that these cupcakes are vegan?  Yes, yes they are.

Hmm?  What did you say?  That's right.  The only fat comes from the peanut butter.

And yes, they have a fabulous moist crumb.  Honestly, if I did not know they were gluten free I would never have guessed.  My sweets-spurning boyfriend even ate two.

Now vegan frosting?  No,  no, that will not happen in my kitchen.  I have tried to make vegan buttercream with coconut oil, and it was a total bust.  I love coconut oil in other things, but not on top of my cupcakes.  I frosted half of these with a cinnamon honey buttercream and the other half with a dark chocolate buttercream.  Sorry, no real recipe for those.  Buttercream is stupidly simple:  beat a bit of confectioner's sugar and  your flavoring into a softened stick of butter.  Continue to beat and slowly add sugar until your mixture tastes like frosting instead of butter.  Done.  No excuses to ruin these babies with canned frosting.  Happy Birthday and Congratulations on your awesome marathon time, Sarah!

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