Cupcake cookbooks abound on the bookstore shelves and a couple or so years ago, there was talk that the trendy cupcake was coming out of style. If it is indeed coming out of style, it’s a slow death: people don’t seem to let go of their treats as easily as a fashion piece that was stylish or fashionable back in its heyday but now outdated or only suitable for a costume party.
Food trends come and go, they dictate our culture, but there are some things that shall remain classic, no matter how many grand, ritzy reincarnations it goes through and that includes cupcakes. When we were kids and ate cupcakes, or any treat for that matter, we didn’t care if it was fashionable or not. We just ate because we enjoyed eating – and, shouldn’t that be the point?
Until Elana Amsterdam’s newest cookbook Gluten-Free Cupcakes hit the market, though, gluten-free folks were missing out on the party. If you Googled for gluten-free cupcakes there are lots of search results for online recipes but, until now, no gluten-free cupcake cookbooks.
It’s now been only but a little over two weeks since Gluten-Free Cupcakes was released and everyone who has tried the recipes rave about them. There are bloggers’ confessions of how many cupcakes they ate. Even before it was released, her cookbook was already making waves in the gluten-free blogging community with pre-order sales, giveaways, reviews – sneak peeks of the recipes that this gem of a cookbook contained. I was honoured enough to receive a review copy from the publishers and have been thrilled with it. Everyone oohed and aahed over it, gushing over the lush photography, before we’d even tasted any of the recipes. Most of all, the constant ring in the air – “I can’t believe it’s gluten-free!”
Using nothing but coconut flour and almond flour (some recipes use a combination of the two flours, others simply use one kind) with the occasional use of arrowroot powder for binding or thickening, no fillers, no gums – a recent issue with gluten-free baking as some are unable to digest xanthan and/or guar gum properly, which are traditionally used to bind and mimic gluten – the recipes are simple but also decadent and sure crowd pleasers.
So far, we’ve made the strawberry cupcakes and marbled cupcakes (both use just coconut flour). Yesterday I made the strawberry again – you can tell it’s a favourite – and after they’d cooled, my brother ate most of the batch, without any frosting of any sort. This is a clear indication of how tasty they are!
The rest of my family loved them as well, the first time I made them we ate the cupcakes with the meringue frosting (only deviating from Elana’s recipe in that I used honey and made it Italian style) and a French vanilla buttercream frosting I made from scratch.
(I won’t be sharing the recipe for the buttercream just yet as it still needs some tweaking. It tasted amazing, incredible – however buttercream shouldn’t look lumpy or weep. Oh, and people? I totally get you about frosting technique – I need more practice!)
We’re also eyeing the ice cream cone cupcakes – now just searching for the gluten-free ice cream cones! They’d be perfect for a birthday party or any occasion where there would be little kids.
For those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth or are in the mood for something more savory, there are also muffins (referred to as “savory cupcakes”) such as spinach feta and breakfast bran muffins.
It’s easy to say that this is the only cupcake cookbook, let alone gluten-free, that you’ll ever need. In fact, this is the only cupcake cookbook in my possession and it’s worth owning! I keep going back to it for ideas and for picking what cupcake I’ll make next.