I have missed posting on here the past few days, as I mentioned before I am being strict with myself to get my new site finished. It is almost done! I can't wait to show everyone, I just need to do the last few tweaks :) I have a backlog of interesting things I want to show.
Here in the meantime is a cookery experiment I tried today..
As I have mentioned on Twitter, I recently bought the Babycakes cookery book which contains recipes from the NYC bakery of the same name. The recipes are vegan, mostly gluten free, and mostly sugar free. I am not allergic to gluten but as half my family are I like to try out gluten free recipes so that at family get-togethers we can all eat the same thing. For a family 'do' this weekend I gave the Chocolate Cupcakes and the Pumpkin Spice Muffins a try.
Some notes on the ingredients:
- Most gluten-free chefs will probably be familiar with potato starch, arrowroot, and xanthan gum, these are not too hard to find in the local wholefoods and bigger supermarkets will have them too.
- Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour that is used throughout the book isn't stocked in the UK that I could find so I substituted Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour.
- I could not find Garbanzo-fava bean flour or anything similar anywhere in shops or online in the UK so I substituted rice flour as recommended on the Babycakes site. I used brown rice flour.
- I found coconut oil in a large South Asian shop. I melted this gently before using, it turns to liquid anyway in a hot kitchen. The agave nectar was not hard to find, I got this in the local wholefoods.
- I made my own apple sauce for the cupcakes, bought stuff would taste the same I am sure but I couldn't find any that didn't have citrus (another allergy!).
- Something to note is that in the book it refers to 'baking powder' but make sure this is gluten free baking powder. You should be able to find this in a whole foods store too.
This might seem all a bit of a mission :) however gluten free cooking is like a science experiment and it is worth getting the right ingredients. Anyway once you have the ingredients in your cupboards it is then easy peasy to whip up a batch of whatever GF item you want.
The icing in the book is vegan and uses soy milk and soy milk powder but.... yes... soy is another allergy in my family. So for the icing I scrapped the vegan element (no one is a vegan anyway) and I topped the Chocolate Cupcakes with a small spoonful of whipped cream, a thick smudge of chocolate ganache (melt dark chocolate with cream and a small dot of unsalted butter, cool until spreadable), and a dusting of cocoa powder. To go on the Pumpkin Spice Muffins I mixed cream with a little nutmeg, ginger, and unrefined confectioners sugar. I chilled both the topping until spreading them on just before serving.
Thumbs up all round. All were agreed that you would not know that the cake part (not the icing) was gluten free, sugar free, and vegan. Without the sugar you don't get the swoop and crash of blood sugar or cravings which is great.
The vote was pretty evenly split between the Pumpkin Spice Muffins and the Chocolate Cupcakes. They were both fudgy and moist. I myself liked the Pumpkin Spice the best but the Chocolate Cupcakes were good for a special occasion. I don't see any real reason why the cake mixture would not work spread out in a cake tin if you wanted to have one whole cake. Note that the cakes do not rise very much so do fill up the cake papers almost to the top.
My final thoughts are that this book is fairly specialised, if you are a gluten free person yourself the spelt recipes would not be suitable (although I read somewhere that you could substitute in a GF flour), however if you have an interest in GF cooking or simply want healthier cakes then this book is helpful. I will definitely be making more things from this book. The recipes worked well and tasted good.