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Vanilla Cupcakes (with VERY Chocolate Frosting, of course) Gluten-free

I’ve been craving cupcakes, again. Soft, moist, flavorful, springy cupcakes. With a frosting that’s smooth, not too thick and not too sweet. I’m not a fan of thick, overly sweet frosting. I want to taste something besides SUGAR when I eat a cupcake.

My favorite cupcake is my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcake. It’s spring, moist and full of chocolate flavor. Don’t be alarmed by the “mayonnaise” in the cupcake! Mayonnaise is basically eggs and oil. What do you put in cupcake batter? Eggs and oil. The mayonnaise helps to keep it moist and not dry and crumbly like so many glutenf-free cupcakes. But, I make those all the time and I wanted something different! Something new!

I decided to make my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcake into a Vanilla Mayonnaise Cupcake. I bought vanilla powder and was anxious to try it to see how it compared to liquid vanilla. However, my chocolate cupcake calls for 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. If I eliminate the cocoa, I’ll have to adjust the liquids and perhaps adjust the amount of gluten-free flours I use. Well, it was worth a try.

The Vanilla Mayonnaise Cupcake is moist and springy. I’m not real excited about the vanilla powder, though. I think next time I’ll go back to using liquid vanilla. I would love to use real vanilla bean, but haven’t found the courage to try it. If anyone has suggestions on the best way to use vanilla beans in baking, I would appreciate any suggestions.

Once the cupcakes were out of the oven and I had taste tested one (or two) I decided vanilla goes best with chocolate. (I think almost EVERYTHING goes best with chocolate – except maybe dill pickles.) I wanted a very smooth, very soft, VERY chocolate frosting. I’m happy to report I was able to come up with a wonderful frosting! This one is the best chocolate frosting recipe I’ve created, yet. It is now the day after, and the frosting is still soft and smooth and silky and not dried out crunchy!

I hope you enjoy the recipes!

Vanilla Mayonnaise Cupcakes   (makes 18 cupcakes)

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 rice flour

1 – 1/2 cup tapioca flour

3/4 cup corn starch

1-1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

2-1/2 tsp vanilla powder (if you choose to use liquid vanilla I would suggest 1-1/2 tsp liquid vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers. (or oil individual cupcake pans and coat with granulated sugar to keep cupcakes from sticking)

In large bowl mix eggs on high speed until light and pale yellow. With mixer running, slowly add sugar and mix for 2-3 minutes. Turn mixer off and add water and oil. Mix on low speed until blended. Add rice flour and tapioca flour. Mix on low until blended, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add cornstarch, vanilla (powder or liquid), baking powder and baking soda. Mix on low until blended. Add xanthan gum and mix on medium speed until batter thickens – 2-3 minutes.

Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes until slightly brown on top and top springs back when lightly pressed. (If you bake them until they are brown on top, they will dry out quickly – I speak from experience, here.) Allow to cool completely.

Best Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2/3 cup margarine (or butter)

1/3 cup Hershey’s Dark cocoa

4 tbl hot water

1  cup powdered sugar

In small saucepan melt margarine and chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. When the chocolate chips are all ALMOST melted, turn of heat. The heat from the liquid will melt the remaining chocolate chips. (You can heat this in a double boiler to avoid burning the chocolate.) Whisk mixture until smooth and shiny.

In small bowl, combine cocoa and water. Stir, or whisk, until you have a smooth mixture. Add cocoa mixture to melted chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Add powdered sugar and whisk vigorously until mixture thickens. This will NOT be as thick as “regular” frosting because it’s still warm from the melted chocolate chips.

At this point, if you want a thin layer of chocolate frosting on your cupcakes, dip the tops of the cupcakes in the frosting and twirl to cover.

If you prefer thicker frosting, put frosting in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to cool. Stir again when you removed it from the refrigerator. Spread to desired thickness on cupcakes.

(Leftover frosting – if you have any – is great between gluten-free graham crackers. Or warm up and drizzle over ice cream, or strawberries, or cookie pieces, or peanut butter bread, or . . . . . um, dill pickles???

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