Recipe Review: Elana’s Very Vanilla Cupcakes

very vanilla cupcake

I made these yesterday for a gluten-free friend’s 30th birthday party, and oh. My. Word. They were gobbled up quickly and I could just make out the compliments through others’ stuffed mouths. Many commented on how moist they turned out, and I was surprised at the cupcakes’ fluffiness. These lacked the usual density most almond flour recipes have, and the vanilla taste was very noticeable (in such a good way). They reminded me of more traditional cupcakes and they proved an excellent choice for a birthday party.

gluten-free cupcakes

I didn’t have time to frost them before going to the party, so I brought Sleeping Bear Apiary’s Lemon Honey Creme to spread on top of the cupcakes once I arrived. There was a dish of pecans around that someone decided to mine for cupcake decorations/toppings, so each cupcake ended up with a halved pecan on it. That slight addition made them look exceptionally professional. I didn’t try any of the be-pecaned cupcakes, but can guess that they were tasty. They were gone so fast I didn’t get a picture of them, though I had one cupcake and shared bites of it with two other people. It awakened a cupcake sweet tooth in me that had lain dormant for over a year. I may need to make these again today just for Colin and me to devour.

Gluten-free cupcakes

The book stated the recipe made 10 cupcakes, but I got a full dozen out of it easily. I considered making a double batch, but knew there would be other gluten-free baked goods at the party, so I stuck with the original recipe. I did substitute honey for the agave nectar to make it SCD legal. (I’m the only one in the bunch who follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, so agave nectar would’ve been fine for everyone else. But if I’m making treats, I want to be able to eat them.)

This was my first try at a recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, and I’ll be going back for more. I received this cookbook as a Christmas gift last year, and I don’t know what’s kept me from trying any of the recipes in it.

Though I did have one hiccup with the cupcake recipe. After whisking the egg yolks, oil, and other wet ingredients with a handheld mixer, the directions immediately call for whisking the egg whites with a handheld mixer. My electric mixer only has one whisk attachment, and I foolishly plunged it straight into the egg whites after using it on the yolks and oil. After minutes of beating, my egg whites still weren’t whipping up to a frothy, foamy meringue consistency, and I cursed and chucked the ruined whites down the drain. I washed the whisk attachment and the bowl I’d been using, dried both, and cracked and separated two new eggs to get untarnished whites to start again with my whisking. This time, the egg whites whipped up perfectly. So the next time I make this recipe, since I have only one whisk attachment, I will whip up the egg whites before whisking the yolks and the other wet ingredients. This could very well save a headache or two, especially for other novices like me who forget that egg whites need to be untouched by oil and yolk in order to whip up properly.

Also, if this is your first time using grapeseed oil, be prepared for the oil’s emerald green hue. I used it last weekend for mayonnaise and it made the recipe turn out the same color as a St. Patrick’s Day float, but it was nevertheless delicious. Though it is a little strange to work with, the green does not affect the color or taste of these cupcakes, thankfully.

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