Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes (makes 12)

Making gluten free cakes can have varied results, sometimes they can be grainy due to the texture of some gluten free flours or they can be quite dense due to the lack of elasticity and rise, which is usually provided by gluten.

There is a book of recipes that produces consistently delicious results, Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, by Harry Eastwood.

I needed to make some cupcakes this week for a shoot and found this recipe.

The unusual feature of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache recipes is that they all contain vegetables. Yes I did say VEGETABLES!

They add moistness to the cakes that I haven’t tasted in a while, well since I became gluten free, and I LOVE cake!  I’ve been known to sprint a steep hill if there is a possibility of cake at the top (okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture!).

But don’t believe anyone (you know who you are!) who tells you that there is a café at the top of  Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, because there really isn’t!

2 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature
160g caster sugar
200g topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated courgette
1tsp vanilla extract
100g white rice flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp salt

 FOR THE FILLING
½ pot good quality jam

FOR THE ICING
50g unsalted butter, softened
150g icing sugar, sieved
50g mascarpone

FOR THE TOP

12 strawberries or decorations of your choice

 YOU WILL NEED

12 whole muffin tray
12 cupcake cases

  • Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4.
  • Line a muffin tray with paper cases.
  • Using a hand whisk, whisk the eggs and sugar together for 4 minutes until they are pale and fluffy.
  • Add the courgette and vanilla extract, and whisk until well mixed.
  • Whisk in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt until completely combined.
  • Spoon some mixture into the paper cases and then add a teaspoon of jam into each one.

Top with the remaining cake mixture, ensuring that the jam is completely covered otherwise it will bleed out and they wont rise properly (although not the end of the world if it does, just cover it with more icing, nobody will know!)

You can see in this photo, that is exactly what happened to one of these cakes- it tasted just as nice!

  • Place in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until risen and pale brown on top.
  • Once they are cooked, cool them in the tin for 10 minutes before placing them in the fridge for a further 20 minutes until completely cold.
  •  While they are in the fridge make the icing
  • Beat the butter with 50g of the icing sugar, by hand in a large mixing bowl, using the back of a wooden spoon.  Go gently as icing sugar does have a tendency the blow everywhere if you’re over vigorous!  Keep mixing until it forms a paste.  Be patient- it does work!
  • Repeat the process with another 50g icing sugar and the mascarpone.
  • finally add the last 50g icing sugar, which will correct any ‘curdling’ that may have happened.  Pop the mixture into the fridge until the cakes are ready to be iced. Remember that they have to be totally cold.
  • Wet a knife and spread the icing on top of the cakes one by one.  (You will need to keep wetting you knife, so keep a cup of water close by).
  • Top with a strawberry or any other decoration you fancy (I used rice flowers and dried raspberry flakes on these).They can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days, taking them out 30 minutes before serving.
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