High Altitude Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Try saying that ten times fast!   This recipe, I must admit, is pretty fantastic.  Although I am not allergic to gluten, I have wanted to dabble in gluten free baking for some time.  I have had plenty of great gluten free baked goods (along with numerous not so good gluten free baked goods), so I wanted to put my pastry skills to the test.  Personally I feel these cupcakes were a huge success, especially given that my seven-person work team consumed 10 of them in a matter of 5 hours.  Not too shabby!

This recipe is pretty fabulous... just sayin...
This recipe is pretty fabulous… just sayin…

While I am truly appreciating the effects of this cleanse, I will be very happy to bake again.  Baking is my happy place, my stress reliever and my favorite hobby.  There’s nothing quite as satisfying as creating something from scratch – combining just the right elements to produce a treat so mouthwatering and delectable – and watching others enjoy the end result.  That is why I love baking.

It was time, then, to push myself a bit further and work with ingredients I have not utilized before.  Conquering, or at least adjusting to, high altitude baking was one major feat.  Now gluten free!  I am a huge fan of red velvet cupcakes.  A HUGE fan.  The hubs isn’t so keen, which I cannot possibly understand (I think it might have to do with the cream cheese frosting, which is absolutely insane as cream cheese frosting is epically amazing).  With this in mind, I made these cupcakes for my coworkers.  With the move a few days away, I wanted to show them my gratitude in making the transition that much smoother.  I think they got the message, and if not, they got a belly full of yummy goodness instead.  Same thing, right?

So without further ado, my very own gluten free red velvet cupcakes (with help from a number of great sources)!

High Altitude Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes (If you would like the same recipe – remember to use the Gluten Free Cake Flour – for sea level baking, both recipes are provided here!)

Ingredients

For the Gluten Free Cake Flour:

3 cups brown rice flour (this needs to be fine ground)

1 cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)

½ cup tapioca flour

1 ¼ teaspoons xanthan gum (can also use guar gum)

For the Cupcakes:

The color is surprisingly rich - and the batter very tasty!
The color is surprisingly rich – and the batter very tasty!

1 ¼ cup Gluten Free Cake Flour

2/3 cup baker’s sugar

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 large egg

¾ cup vegetable oil

½ buttermilk (I used heavy cream)

1 teaspoon red food coloring (Betty Crocker Classic Gel Food Colors are also gluten free!)

1 teaspoon vanilla (I use Penzeys Double Strength Vanilla Extract)

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

¾ teaspoon baking powder

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)

Seriously though, who doesn't love cream cheese frosting?
Seriously though, who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?

8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

I know it looks like a lot of work, but it is completely worth the effort!  Start by creating your cake flour.  Sift the brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and xanthan gum in a small bowl, and combine thoroughly.  You will want to store this in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for future use, and you will utilize 1 ¼ cup for the cupcake recipe.

Now let’s start on the cupcakes.  Whip together the sugar, eggs, and oil with an electric mixer or beater until combined, but do not over whip (especially for high altitude).  Alternate adding the dry ingredients, except the baking powder, with the wet ingredients, except the vinegar.  Once the batter is smooth, add the red gel food coloring.  Combine together the vinegar and baking powder and mix for 10 seconds, then pour this mixture into the batter and mix for another 10 seconds.

Make sure to make them even so they cook evenly.
Make sure to make them even so they cook evenly.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill a pre-lined cupcake pan about ¾ of the way full.  Bake at 375º F for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Make sure to allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing them.

For the frosting, combine the room temperature cream cheese and butter together in a bowl using an electric beater until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually, ½ cup at a time, until no lumps are visible, and then incorporate the vanilla until just combined.  Spoon into a piping bag or ice using an icing spatula.  I added a bit of food coloring to the frosting just for fun! Enjoy!

Although they sunk slightly, they were so moist and delicious inside!
Although they sunk slightly, they were so moist and delicious inside!
Pretty yellow cream cheese frosting flowers!
Pretty yellow cream cheese frosting flowers!
SO good... I am looking forward to a sweet treat post-cleanse...
SO good… I am looking forward to a sweet treat post-cleanse…

Have you dabbled in gluten free baking?  What did you think?  How did it go?  What are your favorite kind of cupcakes?

 

Return to Grace

Isn’t it just amazing how quickly life catches up with you?  June was one of my favorite months this year, maybe even of the past few years.  I was able to travel, spend time with the hubby and my pup, celebrate my birthday and anniversary, hone in on my health, and take advantage of parts of Colorado I love.  Then came July… It has proven to be a crazy tornado of a month, primarily due to work.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my job.  I am one of those rare folks who actually loves going to work: I really enjoy my coworkers, appreciate the institution for which I work, and adore my boss.  I am truly lucky, and I know it.  However, about eight months ago I was tasked with coordinating the move of our office, which at the time seemed so easily manageable, but I have learned so much in that timeframe.  The move took place last week, and the weeks working up to our scheduled move date are in every way a blur.  Being the planner, Type-A, mild control-freak, OCD person I am, this was quite the endeavor.  During this same time, my dear friend Ms. BakeNBurn was moving to her new home (which is fabulous), so we were able to commiserate on the crazy, thankfully!

However, throughout this process I learned one important distinction between moving homes versus moving an office: you are not in control.  There are some elements during a home move you can’t control, of course,

Moving an office is a messy business.
Moving an office is a messy business.

that’s inevitable.  But with an office move, you have absolutely no control.  There is a move team managing the actual movers, how many boxes you get, the day you move, when your space is reviewed and repaired.  There is a planning team that picks your furniture, layout, and overall style.  There is an architect, lead contractor, and building team who all seem to work on their own timeline, whether you’re scheduled to move in or not.  It’s a control-freak’s worst nightmare.  Imagine my utter dismay.  Despite all of this, we did it.  We are in our new space, moved in, and thankfully I was given the time to organize our storage (I became extremely close with our office label maker…) and get things set up before the rest of my coworkers got here – my one moment of control!  Hooray!  With all that being said, blogosphere, I apologize for my incredible absence, and I am so glad to be back.

Going from an office to a cubicle... not ideal.
Going from an office to a cubicle… not ideal.
The Liberty Run 4 Miler was a blast, as was the loot!
The Liberty Run 4 Miler was a blast, as was the loot!

Besides the move, a lot of other fun things have happened in the past few weeks.  I ran the Liberty Run 4 Miler with the hubby on the 4th of July, and must admit that it may have had some of the best swag for a small race – I got an awesome beer glass (which I feel more proud of having earned by doing exercise) among other fun things.  I attended a performance by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, in which they presented a number of pieces from each of the eight Harry Potter movies (if you don’t know, I am a HUGE Harry Potter geek… I started reading them in middle school and never stopped loving them) with some awesome friends.  One of my closest friends from high school just moved back to the US from teaching English abroad in Turkey for the past two years, and decided to move to Denver (I AM SO EXCITED)!!  I rediscovered an awesome running trail that I can access from my front door, and have been loving my weekday evening and weekend morning runs there (the hubs and I are in training mode for two half marathons this fall, so it’s the perfect option).  I made my first batch of gluten free red velvet cupcakes which were a HUGE success (recipe to come, of course).  I started a cleanse this week, and have been feeling pretty positive about it so far – more on this later!  So overall, it’s been a great, busy, whirlwind of a month, and I am so glad to be back on the normal side of things.

Don't worry, I will share this recipe - they were amazing!
Don’t worry, I will share this recipe – they were amazing!
Getting adjusted to our new space - thankfully!
Getting adjusted to our new space – thankfully!

Have you just had a month where everything seemed to get away from you?  Ever been in charge of moving an office?  Was July kind of a crumby month for anyone else?