Chocolate & Coffee Mini Cupcakes {37 Cooks & Lock-N-Load Java Challenge}

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As mentioned in my previous post I am doing a food challenge for 37 Cooks and Lock-N-Load Java. Please head on over to that post to learn more about Lock-N-Load Java, what they stand for, who they support, and why and also to learn more about the challenge.

For my second entry I made rich mini chocolate cupcakes with a mocha cream cheese frosting. I made them mini so I wouldn’t feel so guilty on my journey to getting in shape. I’ll also be bringing these into school so I will not be tempted at home! But they are so dang tasty, it is kind of dangerous to have them hanging out for another day.

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

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Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes:

Organic granulated sugar                                          1/4 cup

Sucanat                                                                      1/2 cup

High Quality Gluten-Free Flour Blend                         3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

(if your blend does not have xanthan gum already incorporated in it add a scant 1/2 teaspoon)

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder                                      1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons

Baking Powder (gluten-free)                                       3/4 teaspoons

Baking Soda (gluten-free)                                           3/4 teaspoon

Salt, Kosher                                                                1/2 teaspoon

Sniper Choice, ground                                                1/4 teaspoon

Double Barrel Black, ground                                       1/4 teaspoon

Egg, Large                                                                  1 each

Soy Milk (unsweetened)                                             1/2 cup

Canola Oil                                                                   1/4 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Method of Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • In a large mixing bowl add all dry ingredients (organic granulated sugar, sucanat, gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if required), cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds). Mix well.
  • Add in egg, soy milk, canola oil, vanilla, and hot coffee.
  • Whisk until well combined, but do not over mix.
  • Line a 24 cup mini cupcake tin or a 12 cup regular cupcake tin with paper liners.
  • Fill each tin 3/4 the way.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes (for mini cupcakes, and 28-30 minutes for regular cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cook in pan for five minutes and then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack until completely cooled. Frost with a mocha cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Sucanat                                                                       2 teaspoons

Cream Cheese, 1/3 fat                                                8 ounces (room temperature)

Organic Powdered Sugar                                           1/2 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Method of Preparation

  • In a small sauce pan add coffee and sucanat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until reduced by half. (You are looking for a thick syrup to coat the back of a spoon).
  • Set aside and let cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add softened cream cheese and turn mixer on to low. Add in powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla extract and mocha syrup, mix on medium-low until incorporated.
  • Spread on cupcakes and enjoy.

If you have someone that isn’t a huge coffee person (this has a very rich coffee flavor) then reserve a small amount of the cream cheese frosting and then add in the mocha syrup and use that for their cupcakes (pictured above).

Enjoy

Be sure to check out both 37 Cooks (find us on Facebook and Twitter) to see what everyone else created and Lock-N-Load Java (you can also find them on Facebook)

EvaRuth’s {Update}

A lot has changed since I first walked in to EvaRuth’s Gluten-Free Bakery in Middletown, RI. I was so excited to find this after we moved here and I still get just as excited about it. This place is a little gem. Ruth, the owner has grown this shop so much over the past year alone.

You’ll find amazing baked goods that are not only gluten-free but you will also find dairy free, and vegan options! She has also perfected an amazing bread recipe that baked fresh and comes in several different varieties (white, Italian, and baguettes). This bread is my favorite – you get about twice the size of ones that you can find frozen in your local grocery store and these are fresh!! Seriously, you can’t beat it and its only a few dollars more…but again, you get more than double the product! There are delicious cupcakes, brownies, cookies, pies, and cakes.

In the last year she has also branched out and started offering lunch options which include sandwiches (on her bread!), and fantastic soups. She is currently working on an egg-less version of egg salad, which I was fortunate enough to get a sample of and it is out of this world delicious. I’m not dairy, egg, or nut free but I would go in and buy this in a heart beat.In addition to trying the egg-less egg salad I was also given a turkey sandwich with homemade tarragon mayo and a cup of chili that was loaded with veggies and quinoa! Oh my goodness, I’m not lying when I saw I wanted to lick the cup…it was that good. The perfect amount of spice, yum yum yum. In addition to the awesome lunch options Ruth has started offering fresh juices. She asked me if I wanted fruit or veggie….I chose the veg because I’m a sucker for V8. She came back with a cup of the Carrot Cleanse juice – I pretty much inhaled it. Delicious, flavorful, and refreshing are the first three words that came to mind as I tried it. You can taste all of the ingredients, which I have come to find as rare in many dishes and drinks. I love knowing exactly what is in my food.

Check out their extensive menu here. You can even order many of these delicious products on-line!

On top of all these great selections she and her staff are simply wonderful people. Always willing to help, answer questions, and offer suggestions if you are torn on what to choose. So if you are in the area please stop by and say hello to them. Also check out their website because they are now in a bunch of local markets and  farmers markets!!

You can read my first post here!

Gluten Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam (Review)

Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry is one amazing woman and in my mind a genius when it comes to coconut and almond flour! Her website is the first one I came across when I was diagnosed almost three years ago and it is one that I continually go back to for inspirations.  Her recipes are straightforward, simple yet unbelievably delicious and you don’t ever miss the gluten or the refined sugars.

While searching her website one day I found a recipe for cupcakes made with coconut flour so I went online ordered some coconut flour and have been making those cupcake ever since.  I’m a huge lover of cupcakes and extremely picking when it comes to them.  There was nothing to pick apart with these cupcakes so when I first heard that she was releasing a new cookbook all about cupcakes I put it on my wish list right away.  Her cookbook has 50 (yes 50!) recipes all made from coconut or almond flour.  When I received my review copy I went through the cookbook about ten times before deciding which to make first.  This cookbook doesn’t only have delicious sounding recipes the photos make your mouth water. I finally decided on making the Garlic Cheddar Muffins and for a sweet treat the Marble Cupcakes. Another great thing about this cookbook is that each recipe has a sweetness scale next to it!

I started with the Garlic Cheddar Muffins because I wanted something more on the savory side and planned to eat them more as a biscuit with dinner.  I ended up taking these to school the next day for breakfast.  Again her recipes are simple and not many ingredients, yet these had so much flavor to them packed in to them and they are nice and fluffy.  So as you can see you can eat these as a snack, along with dinner and even for breakfast ;)  I’ll be making these again soon.

For a sweet treat yesterday, because it was just one of those days that called for baking.  I went for the marble cupcakes made with coconut flour.  We’ve been trying to get away from refined sugars in our house and this cookbook is perfect for that.  I love baking with agave, it adds just the right amount of sweetness and it has a low glycemic index.  I’ve made Elana’s coconut cupcakes for Bryan in the past but he forgot about them so he was a little hesitant to try these yesterday but he really really enjoyed them (in fact he just had another one).  Next week I’ll be making Mocha Chip Cupcakes for a classmate of mine to celebrate her month-long Paleo Diet Challenge.  I can’t wait to make her Strawberry Cupcakes soon, just waiting for my farmers market to open up next month.

I don’t have Elana’s first cookbook – The Almond Flour Cookbook (yet) but if you have that one and loved it, I’m sure you will love this one also.  Who doesn’t love cupcakes?  And who doesn’t love them when they use such fantastic ingredients such as coconut flour, Almond Flour eggs, and agave.

Elana is absolutely amazing, I can’t say enough good things about her and her recipes.  Her website has helped me so much over the years.  She was always very friendly and informative when I had questions for her.  Check out her website and you can purchase her book on Amazon.  Trust me you are going to love this cookbook. Thank you Elana for making this beautiful cookbook and sharing all of your wonderful creations with all of us.
Check out these other great reviews (and some might even have a giveaway) of this fantastic cookbook:

Shirley of GFE-Gluten Free Easily

Kim of Cook It Allergy Free

Sea of Book of Yum

Heidi of Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom

Stonewall Kitchen – Gluten Free and Delicious (Review)

In the last few months Stonewall Kitchen has rolled out some gluten-free products and they are absolutely delicious.  I have always been a fan of Stonewall Kitchens products, especially before being diagnosed with celiac disease.  They have always had the best jams, sauces, dips and mixes so when I heard that they were coming out with gluten-free mixes I got very excited.  I wasn’t sure how they would taste compared to their regular mixes but they exceeded my expectations.

I was sent some complimentary gluten-free mixes form Stonewall Kitchen to try.  They sent me their Chocolate Brownie Mix, Chocolate Cupcakes and Pancake/Waffle Mix.  Of course I started with the cupcake mix which comes with a chocolate frosting mix in the box.  The cupcakes mix has a hint of coffee too it, which balanced very well with the chocolate flavor, not too over powering.  The cupcakes were very flavorful and moist and the frosting was just perfect, not too sweet and the perfect amount to cover all of the cupcakes.  These cupcakes were so good you couldn’t tell that they were gluten-free – no one could!

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Don’t these look amazing?)

Next up were the brownies (not in the same day!) and I have said many times before I’m not a huge brownie fan but slowly I am becoming one.  I decided to make some peanut butter brownies with this mix.  I made the brownies according to the package and poured the mix into a prepared pan.  I then I took about 1/4 – 1/2 cup peanut butter and softened it a bit in the microwave, then dropped tablespoons of peanut butter onto the prepared brownie mix and using a sharp knife made figure eights to incorporate the peanut butter into the brownie mix and baked according to the package instructions.  Absolutely delicious.  I love chocolate and peanut butter together and these brownies came out perfect. I had to give most of them away so I wouldn’t eat them all🙂

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Imagine them with peanut butter, little squares of heaven)

When we had our great friends Warren and Joyce up one weekend I thought instead of going out to eat for breakfast we would have them over, I would make a big meal and then we would be off on our little adventure.  Perfect time to try the pancake mix…most people wouldn’t want to try a new product when you are having guests over especially if they aren’t gluten-free.  But, seeing as we both enjoyed the cupcakes and brownies so much I had confidence in the pancakes as well.  Talk about delicious and fluffy pancakes, wow are these good.  Bryan who absolutely loves the pancakes I make with the gluten-free Bisquick loved these even more.  They have a slight hint of sweetness also.  I can’t wait to make some waffles next with this mix. Everyone loved these and we didn’t have any left overs.

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died. Perfect pancakes, delicious, fluffy and a little bit of sweetness so less syrup)

If you haven’t tried Stonewall Kitchen’s new gluten-free mixes you really should.  You can order them online and also check your local stores for them.  I honestly don’t think you will be disappointed.  In addition to the three mixes I reviewed above they also have a chocolate chip cookie mix and a vanilla cupcake/frosting mix. Stonewall kitchen got it right with these mixes.  I’ll be sure to let you know if they come out with anything else that is gluten-free.  Well done Stonewall Kitchen – fantastic job on making these mixes and keeping the prices reasonable to your normal mixes.

EvaRuth’s Wheat Free/Gluten Free Bakery

We live on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island and around us we have limited options for gluten-free items.  There is one specialty grocery store near us, but we can’t afford to shop there very often, but if there is something specific that I need for a recipe, I would go there first.  Over the past six months we have realized that shopping at just one store for groceries isn’t going to cut it, you need to go to at least two…and if you want any form of gluten-free baked good, well you are pretty much out of luck and have to make it yourself.  Which I don’t really mind but somedays I want someone else to bake it for me.

About a month or so ago I was searching for a gluten free bakery or anything of the sort around me, thinking that like all my previous searchings I would come up with nothing, or if I did find something it would be about 45 minutes away.  To my surprise there was a gluten-free bakery, EvaRuth’s not that far from us!! Yesterday Bryan and I had an afternoon date to the movies and an early dinner but before we headed there we stopped over at the bakery to check it out.  It is located on Aquidneck Ave in Middletown, RI, located behind a little shopping center.

EvaRuth’s is owned and operated by Ruth herself.  Ruth is a very kind and inviting woman who also has celiac disease.  Here is a little information from her website about her and EvaRuth’s:

EvaRuth’s Foods, Inc. is owned and operated by Eva Ruth Flynn, CEO. The mission of EvaRuth’s is to create delicious wheat-free and gluten-free desserts that are convenient to eat and capable of satisfying even the choosiest of customers.

In 1995 Ruth was added to the ever-growing population of people diagnosed with celiac sprue disease. She experienced firsthand the difficulty of finding authentic tasting gluten-free desserts. So combining her love for business with her love for cooking, Ruth dedicated herself to creating true-tasting GF cookies, cakes, muffins, and brownies and the company from which they are sold. Prior to owning and operating EvaRuth’s, Ruth worked as the New England cardiovascular sales representative for GE Medical Systems.

EvaRuth’s is what is called an “old fashion bakery” which simply means, if they don’t have any seats, sell drinks and don’t offer you a fork/knife they don’t have to charge sales tax!! How awesome is that?  Well it gets better…They offer a great selection of freshly baked wheat free, gluten-free and many dairy free options: Cupcakes, Muffins, Scones, Cookies, Brownies and yes fresh-baked Bread. They also make cakes and pies that you can order. I was in love. I had the opportunity to taste some of EvaRuth’s Italian Garlic Herb bread, Pumpkin Muffin (dairy free!), Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Scone and I bought a Cranberry Muffin to take home with me.

 

The Italian Garlic Bread (they also had available yesterday some tomato herb bread and white bread) is very delicious and super moist.  Ruth said that all the breads slice well and are good as is for about 3-4 days or you can pre-slice it and freeze it like that. Next up with the pumpkin muffin – fresh out of the oven and perfectly flavored, not too over powering of pumpkin but just perfect, very moist and you could still taste the cinnamon, so good.  The Chocolate Chip and Cranberry scone was great too, I really enjoyed the combination of the two flavors.

Along with Ruth yesterday were two students from Johnson & Wales.  The bakery was very clean (which is always nice to see!), everything was measured out on scales to make sure that everything would bake evenly.  Also one of the staff was making a fresh batch of scones, measuring all around the dough with a ruler! I was impressed to say the least.

I had my cranberry muffin for breakfast this morning, and I can’t believe I actually waited until today to eat it.  It looked so pretty and smelled yummy yesterday but I restrained myself. This is probably one of the best gluten-free muffins I have had.  Hands down, awesome.  Fresh cranberries, moist and delicious.  I will definitely be back for more gluten-free goodness and some of that delicious bread.

If you are living around Aquidneck Island and are gluten-free, have a family member who is or are looking for a treat to bring to a friend’s house who is this is the place to go.  EvaRuth’s 796 Aquidneck Ave, Unit D, Middletown, RI 02842 (View Larger Map)

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

It’s not chilly here today, its flat-out cold and windy!  I think waking up this morning it was about 42 degrees, I so didn’t want to get out of bed but I knew the house needed to be cleaned and laundry had to be done.  Lately I’ve been feeling like Cinderella – YUCK!  Since moving across the country, I have yet to find a job, even a part-time job and if you know me at all I am a worker, even on vacation or when I am sick I am doing stuff around the house, cooking baking etc, I don’t know how to relax very well.  On a side note, I’m not a fan of Cinderella or many of the Disney princesses – I am more of a Belle and Mulan kind of girl.  Belle was intelligent, she read books and didn’t fall for the dumb-ass and ummm Mulan, ya she saved her country-seriously, what else could you ask for!! Now those are my kind of Disney princesses.

Back to my post🙂

Seeing as it was so chilly today, I really had the need to bake something to warm the house up a bit.  We are very determined to not turn our heat on as long as possible.  So to keep putting that dreaded day off, I will be baking and we’ll be using the fire-place.  I have really been craving cupcakes lately.  A few weeks ago I FINALLY found a box of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix in one of the local grocery stores (it is SO hard to find around here!) so I picked up a box and tried so hard to not use it that day.  Bryan LOVES chocolate, way more than I ever will.  I’m more of a chocolate with something kind of girl (peanut butter cups, chocolate with nuts etc.).  So I thought I would make him a triple chocolate cupcake: chocolate cake, with chocolate chips and chocolate cream cheese frosting – it might be chocolate over load now that I think about it.

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

1 Package of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 Cup of Water

1 Stick of Butter – Softened

3 Eggs

2 tablespoon Espresso or Strong Brewed Coffee

1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips – I used the DF, GF, NF chips that I also used in my pancakes.

In a stand mixer combine all ingredients and mix on low-speed for 30 seconds to combine.  Mix on medium speed for two additional minutes.  Add chocolate chips and stir with spoon until they are combined in the batter. Scoop into cupcake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 18-23 minutes.

Let cool for four minutes in the cupcake pan(s) then remove and cool completely on a cooling rack.  Top with chocolate cream cheese frosting (see recipe below) and serve!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz Butter (1 stick) – softened

6 oz Cream Cheese – softened

1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Sifted

1 cup Powdered Sugar – Sifted

1 tablespoon Espresso or Strong Brewed Coffee

In the bowl of a stand mixer mix butter and cream cheese until they are well combined.  Turn mixer off and add the remaining ingredients and mix on low-speed until combined.  Turn mixer to medium speed and mix for an additional minute.

These are super chocolaty!!

Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting

Not that long ago I received a box of products from Katz Gluten Free to review.  There were so many delicious looking gluten-free goodies in the box that it has taken me a little while to do a review (another one will be coming shortly). At first I was going to review them all in one post, but I think this post will go specifically to their Chocolate Cupcakes.  After reading the ingredients I noticed that they added coffee to the mix – and I personally love adding coffee to chocolate cakes, cupcakes etc.  I just think it helps enhance the flavor a bit. The first thing I thought of after reading the ingredients was “I should make some espresso frosting for these!”.

Ingredients:
Gluten free flour (White Rice, Corn, Tapioca,) Sugar, Fresh eggs, Canola oil, Cocoa, Baking Soda, baking powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Coffee, Xanthan Gum, Vanilla (Pure).

These cupcakes were very tasty – almost a brownie like texture to them, which Bryan really liked.  I let them come to room temp before frosting and enjoying them (they suggest that you freeze them and keep them frozen).  Great chocolate flavor too that went well with the espresso frosting.  The combination is very mocha like – who wouldn’t love that?  Katz makes some great gluten-free products – so far everything we have tried, we have really enjoyed them.  I have noticed that some times after freezing them and bringing them to room temp they become a bit dry and crumbly, but I haven’t had that problem with these cupcakes.

Last month I was very generously blessed with an amazing coffee/espresso machine from Small Appliance (for more info click here).  Since receiving my lovely coffee maker I have been trying to think of recipes that incorporate coffee or espresso. Of course my thought was Tiramisu but I have yet to come up with a gluten-free version of this, but it is one of my goals.  Tiramisu is by far one of my favorite desserts and I tried as many pieces as I could while in Italy (pre GF).  This machine is amazing, I truly love it.

So seeing as I haven’t quite figured out a gluten-free Tiramisu I made the espresso frosting first:

Espresso Cream Cheese Frosting

4oz butter softened

4oz cream cheese softened

1-2 cups powder sugar divided (depending on how sweet you like your frosting, I used about 1 1/4 cups)

2 tablespoons espresso (cooled to room temp or very strong coffee)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

~In large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese with electric mixer
~Switch the mixer to low-speed and add the powder sugar 1/2 cup at a time until smooth and creamy
~Beat in the vanilla extract and espresso, and chill for about 20 minutes before frosting (to help thicken it up a bit, but you don’t have to)

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Katz Gluten Free products, you really should.  I have been told that Friedman’s Lunch uses their Challah Rolls for their burgers!  I think I’ll be trying the burgers there next time we go to NYC!.

KickAss Cupcakes (Review)

Yesterday we went to Boston for the day.  I love Boston, probably more than any other city in the U.S. That might just be because I grew up going to Boston often.  Sadly thought I haven’t really been to Boston much since being diagnosed so I had NO clue what my options were for gluten-free, except of course P.F. Chang’s (see review here).  On Tuesday I posted on Twitter if anyone had suggestions for a gluten-free bakery or cupcakery (I saw this term in DC and loved it! Thankfully I got a response and it was the one that I came across while searching online – Kickass Cupcakes – Boston’s Best All Natural Sweet Cupcakes.

After our very tasty dinner at P. F. Chang’s we got on the red line and headed to Davis Square in Somerville (.  Finally a cupcakery that isn’t either pink, white and brown or blue, white and brown.  This place was different…red and black!  We walked into the little shop and found three different gluten-free options: Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting, Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting and a Mojito Cupcake.

Kickass Cupcakes is mostly regular cupcakes with a large variety of flavors and limited edition cupcakes.  For example yesterday we saw a root beer float cupcake and a green monster themed cupcake (chocolate cupcake with green frosting!). I think fairly recently they started to offer gluten-free options. I’m sure the regular cupcakes really do KickAss, however the gluten-free cupcake didn’t exactly KickAss…don’t get me wrong it was very tasty and the sweet frosting was a perfect balance with the cupcake, but I wasn’t “wow’ed” by them.

I chose the vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting with sprinkles. The cupcake its self seemed to be a little over cooked but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I have definitely had better cupcakes and even made more moist cupcakes but I would try them again in the future for sure.  I know gluten-free baked goods can be a bit tricky especially with getting the right texture and making sure they aren’t even the slightest bit over cooked.

Give KickAss Cupcakes a try – Gluten-Free or Regular, I think it’s worth it.

KickAss Cupcakes

Davis Square 378 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144

Take the Red Line to Davis Square, exit at the College Ave exit and go left two blocks.

I want this!!

I love cupcakes – as I have said many times. I just came across this blog – Cupcakes Take The Cake and instantly fell in love.  Not only is this site cute and fun and full of cupcakes but check out this post about this awesome calendar!!

Hello Cupcake! 2011 wall calendar for sale

For the early birds out there, who want to make sure 2011 is filled with cupcakes when scheduling plans, the 2011 Hello Cupcake! wall calendar is for sale now. I have the 2010 one and it’s adorable, and I know the year before I waited too late to buy a different cupcake calen

dar and it sold out, so a heads up from us.

You can buy it from:

Amazon
Bn.com
Calendars.com

Info below via publisher Andrews McMeel.

The Hello Cupcake! 2011 Wall Calendar features all-

new photography and all-new designs for the most imaginative and eye-popping cupcake creations you’ve ever seen! Using everyday components available at the supermarket—cake mixes, prepared icing, candies, and breakfast cereals—the best-selling authors of Hello, Cupcake! and What’s New, Cupcake? are back to dazzle your senses and sweet tooth with this irresistible wall calendar.

Each month

features a practical illustration identifying all the components used to transform ordinary cupcakes into rubber duckies, valentines, goldfish, freshly baked pies, playful polar bears, and other seasonal sensations. You don’t have to bake to enjoy these cupcakes—they are a wonder just to gaze upon.

I need one of these for our new place :)  I love finding new blogs to follow!!

Cupcakes – what’s not to love??

So last week I made two different brands of brownie mix and this week, you guessed it…cupcakes! Technically it’s cake mix that I am comparing this week just made into cupcake form. In my mind cupcakes are way better than cake🙂 Little individual cups of yummy goodness.  Again, its Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix compared to Arrowhead Mill’s Vanilla Cake Mix. I’ve made the Betty Crocker ones before and loved them and I’ll be making the Arrowhead Mill’s ones for the first time.  The Arrowhead Mill’s mix was in the batch of mixes one of my co-workers brought me a few weeks ago.

I love cupcakes, and I seek them out.  Over the Christmas I went to New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts to visit Bryan and our families.  On one of our little adventures to NYC we got the chance to go to BabyCakes!  Now those are some tasty cupcakes!! Wow.  I think I spent almost $40.00 on cupcakes, why?? Not because of the price (well sort of) but because I couldn’t decide which ones to buy.  Sooo Bryan and I picked a few and got two of each so we could both try them, because I don’t share cupcakes very well.  I think we ended up with the Vanilla, Chocolate and Brownie cupcakes.  All of which were AMAZING but I think the brownie ones were our favorite. – I can’t wait to go back there again!

When Bryan came to visit me in February we took a weekend trip up to San Francisco.  We kept seeing this van that says “Kara’s Cupcakes” on the side and I obviously kept trying to figure out where they were located.  On our last night there, we are heading to go pick up the car at our hotel and he saw there store and Bryan, being the amazing boyfriend that he is, went in just to see if they offered gluten free cupcakes.  To both of our surprise they did!  But, sadly they were sold out.  I was a little crushed until he told me that they had another store, and if I knew what flavor I wanted they would call over to see if they could hold two for us.  Thankfully the other store had some left, we got there right before they closed and the best part was, they were two blocks from out hotel! ha ha.  While at the store I started chatting with the girl behind the counter and to my surprise they started with Erin from BabyCakes NYC’s recipe and adapted it to make it their own…no wonder why they were so good and we loved them so much. We were patient enough to not eat them until we got home (about 2.5 hours) before digging into our little gems.  Again, the cupcakes were AMAZING!!

This summer when I move I am hoping to try some cupcakes from Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery (also in NYC).  If anyone has tried them, I would love to hear your thoughts🙂

So here are the results of this weeks battle of the cupcakes (both sets of cupcakes will have the same frosting-yes its gluten free!!):

Betty Crocker Chocolate Cupcakes with Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Rainbow Chip Frosting

vs

Arrowhead Mills Vanilla Cupcakes with Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Rainbow Chip Frosting

Betty Crocker – I followed the directions on the back of the package and cooked it according to the time given.

Moist, tasty, chocolaty.  Taste and texture of a “real” cupcake.  As with the brownie mix from Betty Crocker you can’t tell the difference from the gluten containing cupcakes.

Arrowhead Mills – I followed the directions on the back of the package and cooked it according to the time given.

Moist, tasty vanillay.  The taste was pretty good, however the texture was a bit different.  They were a little grainy, almost like it has a little bit of a crunchy texture, more like cornmeal-ish texture to it.  Over all they were still very good, I really enjoyed them.

Now I have a little more than two dozen cupcakes and I am only one person so as with the majority of things I bake these will be coming to work with me tomorrow.  My co-workers have become my “test kitchen” over the past two years.

And the winner is….

I have to say that the winner of this one has got to be the Betty Crocker mix, but probably only because of the texture of the Arrowhead Mills.  You really can’t tell that these and the frosting are gluten free.  Betty Crocker has done very well with these mixes, I am highly impressed.

Now to wash these down with a nice big glass of soy milk!!

A Very Merry Christmas

This year I saved up my vacation time the best I could so I could spend almost three weeks with my boyfriend and our families back east.  We don’t get to see each other very often and its really hard.   We get to see each other every few months, its really taught us not to take each other for granted. We met over five years ago now but we’ve learned a lot about each other over the past ten months.  For example I learned that he is lactose intolerant and allergic to onions, raw apples and a few other things.  So, not only will our house be Gluten Free, it will be Onion Free and mostly Dairy Free.

I got my first experience cooking both GF and DF while he was here for Thanksgiving.  I made a complete dinner for us.  GF stuffing, a turkey, gravy, mashed sweet potatoes and to top it all off a GF Apple Pie!  He and I both loved it.  And have to admit looking forward to doing it all over again next year.

This year we sent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family back in Mass.  Christmas Eve is spent with my mom’s side of the family each year.  Lots of food and plenty of family to share the holiday with.  Its never a dull moment, trust me!  Christmas day is spent with my dad and step mom.  I had filled my parents in on Bryan’s allergies and my step mom made one amazing meal.  Completely GF, DF and OF!  Prime Rib with DF scalloped potatoes, green beans with pancetta.  The only part that wasn’t 100% GF, DF was the cheese cake.  My step mom makes the best cheese cakes, I swear!!  She even made me own special one with no crust.  Oh man I can still taste it.

They also wanted to take us out to dinner one night at the 111 Chophouse in Worcester.  I’ve been there once or twice before, but this was before finding out about having Celiac.  I made sure to bring my little Triumph Dining card with me, however I didn’t need them.  The Chophouse has a gluten free menu.  Not just a few things either, it was a very complete menu.  It had apps, salads, main dishes, and deserts.  I was highly impressed with their selection for GF guests.  I ended up going with the Wagyu Flat Iron Steak. (Thanks again Dad and Sue for another amazing meal!)

After about a week in Mass we headed back down to New Jersey to spend some more time with Bryan’s family and our friends.  We went to The City a few times, ate at Risotteria twice.  Shared the goodness of that place with our friends and Bryan’s Dad. (I have to say they were good sports to go to a GF place just for me! – Thanks guys).  On our first trip to the City we also went to MoMA to see the Tim Burton Exhibit, which is AMAZING.  I highly recommend going if you are there.  He is an extremely talented man, that is for sure.  Next stop was the Empire State Building!!  My dream finally came true.  (I know a self proclaimed dork, but I’ve always wanted to go since seeing An Affair To Remember).  Not only was it almost empty – no lines believe it or not, but we got to go to both the 86th floor and the 102 floor!  Both of which are amazingly beautiful.  It was night time and the city looked like it had a million Christmas lights all lit up.

Our next trip was with Bryan’s Dad to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex, NYC (which sadly closed on 1/3/10). They had some amazing things on display.  When you first got in they show you a “movie” of different artists who have been inducted.  It made me sad that I’ve missed some pretty amazing artists growing up.  Don’t get me wrong, I grew up listening to great music, but sadly didn’t get to see any of these artists.  I realized that we have lost amazing talent over the years and most musicians now a days just don’t measure up.

On our  way home we stopped at BabyCakes!! Its a small little place, but the cupcakes are unbelievable.  I walked out of there with six cupcakes and two brownie cupcakes.  Don’t worry I didn’t eat them all myself, I shared ;-)  I even love whats printed on the back of the box “Saving your behind one cupcake at a time”.  My friend Adina gave me their cookbook for my birthday, and now I can’t wait to try some of their recipes.

For photos from my trip back home visit my Flickr page!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

gf2584Cheese cake is so good, but the idea of a whole cheese cake is to tempting for one person. I would be tempted to eat the WHOLE thing! A while ago I made some crust-less cheesecake cupcakes and they turned out pretty good so I thought, why not make cheesecake cupcakes again, but with pumpkin and gingersnap crust. Talk about the perfect little fall treat. These would be great for Thanksgiving instead of the typical Pumpkin Pie. Little individual cheesecakes for everyone, especially the kids.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes

2 cups of gluten free gingersnap crumbs (I use Trader Joe’s)

6 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 8oz packages of cream cheese – softened

1 cup sugar

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake tins with paper liners. I only have one regular cupcake tin and an mini cupcake tin, so I used both.

Crust:

Crumble the ginger snaps either in a plastic ziplock back with a rolling pin or in a food processor. Melt the butter in the microwave. Add the brown sugar and butter to the crumbled ginger snaps in a medium bowl and mix until all crumbs are moist.

Scoop about one table spoon into the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down (I used the bottom of one of my spice jars…it fits perfectly for the regular tins, for the mini tin I used the back of my coffee scoop).

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, let cool in pan on wire rack.

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Filling:

In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and cream cheese together until smooth, add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin spice and salt. Mix well. Add one egg at a time. Continue to mix until the mixture is completely combined and smooth.

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Scoop the mixture into the prepared cupcake liners. I used the same coffee scoop that I used to press the crust into the bottom to do this. It was the perfect size – three scoops for the regular tin and 1 1/2 – 2 for the mini ones.

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For the regular tins bake for 40 minutes, rotating 180 degrees half way through. For the mini tins bake for 30 minutes, rotating 180 degrees half way through.Cool in the pan on a wire rack until completely cooled, cover and refrigerate for at least six hours.

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Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce or candied pecans if you wish. I hope you enjoy these tasty little treats!

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Simply…Gluten Free Photo Contest and Scan Pan Giveaway! (Please visit Carol of Simply…Gluten Free‘s blog for so many great recipes and ideas!)