Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Salted Caramel Cupcakes Recipe
Life is all about choices and compromises. There are things we want to do and things we ought to do an,d often, they are not the same. So we must choose which direction to go or figure out how to bring the two closer together and come up with a compromise we can live with.
I want to eat gluten free cupcakes. I love cupcakes. Cupcakes make me happy. I ought to be eating less refined sugar. Unfortunately, cupcakes are usually packed with refined sugar. But I want a cupcake!!! In fact, I don’t just want any cupcake; I want an ooey gooey, salted caramel cupcake. Sadly, salted caramel cupcakes just may the ultimate sugar-packed cupcake. So what’s a gal to do?
Rather than make a decision one way or the other, I came up with a compromise – an ooey gooey, salted caramel cupcake that is refined sugar free. Compromise – I believe it is the secret to a good marriage, friendship, business and long term eating plan.
I used to make caramel the traditional way, melting sugar until it became deep amber in color, being careful not to stir so as to cause crystals, whisking in cream and butter and risking 4th degrees burns. Lately I have taken to making caramel with Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Raw Blue Agave; it is easier, quicker and safer. Just boil the agave with some cream for 5 minutes, whisk in the butter, let cool and that’s it – since the agave is already in liquid form and already has nice caramelly undertones, half the work is done for you before you even start.
The actual cupcake of this recipe is light and not too sweet, which makes for nice contrast to the rich, heavenly sweet frosting and gooey caramel center. Once again – compromise!
You need to make the caramel ahead to give it time to cool and thicken. 2 hours is fine but you can make way ahead – store in a jar in the fridge and then just gently heat it up to thin out; I microwave it for a few seconds. Make sure you don’t drizzle the frosting with hot caramel or it will melt. You may have some caramel left over – oh shucks! Dip apple slices in it, spoon it over ice cream or just do what I do and eat it off a spoon!
The cupcakes can be baked a day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. The frosting can be made up to a month ahead – transfer the frosting to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Let frosting come to room temperature and beat until the frosting is smooth and creamy again, about 5 minutes.
These Gluten Free Refined Sugar Free Salted Caramel Cupcakes are clearly a compromise I can live with!
- 1 cup organic raw blue agave
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons agave caramel
- 1½ cups all-purpose gluten free flour blend
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
- 16 teaspoons agave caramel
Combine the agave and cream in a large saucepan (use one bigger than you think you will need) and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Transfer to a bowl or jar and let cool completely. If the caramel gets too thick to work with, just heat it slightly.
Combine the coconut sugar with the egg whites in a heatproof bowl of a stand mixer and set over a pan of simmering water; whisk by hand until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved, 2 -3 minutes.
Attach the mixing bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat, starting on low then increasing the speed to medium-high, until the mixture is thick, fluffy and glossy and completely cool, about 6 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and caramel and beat on medium high until the caramel is fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixture and stir the frosting vigorously with a spatula to knock out some of the air and make sure all the caramel is fully mixed in. Let sit at room temperature if using the same day.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar with the egg, milk, vanilla and oil. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth and starting to thicken slightly. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake for 18 – 22 minutes or until they are golden brown and puffed, the tops springing back slightly when pressed, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once the cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone shaped piece about an inch in diameter from the top of the cupcakes. Insert your finger into the holes and widen the bottom a bit. Spoon in about 1 teaspoon of the caramel, cut the tip off the cone and place the top over the caramel. Spread or pipe the frosting on top and drizzle with a little bit of caramel.
The cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator but are best served at room temperature.
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