Orange Creme Cupcakes
These light, refreshing little bundles of orange creme goodness remind us of angel food cake (most likely because of the lift potato starch imparts). They make a perfect tea cake or party cupcake. And the best thing is, not only do they taste like a certain retro frozen confection (you know the one- that orange Popsicle with a vanilla ice cream center), these beauties are gluten, dairy, soy, egg and rice free. An allergen-free indulgence.
Orange Creme Cupcakes
3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour!)
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
2 tablespoons light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon raw organic agave or honey
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice at room temperature (fresh juice gives the batter a fresh, bright taste)
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
2 cups organic powdered sugar
1/4 cup softened Earth Balance Stick (or try organic semi-solid coconut oil)
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice- as needed (start with less)
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- flours through xanthan gum. Add in the orange zest, oil, agave, orange juice, Egg Replacer and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for two minutes minutes until the batter is smooth and fluffy. Make a 'figure eight' motion if the batter climbs the beaters.
3. Let the batter sit a minute before spooning it into cupcake liners.
4. Spoon the batter evenly into twelve lined cupcake cups. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and firm (they should be slightly tender but too soft). Try not to open the door to peek until the very end of baking time- you don't want to jar the cupcakes and make them deflate. These cupcakes rose quite high, then slowly settled down to a slightly rounded shape at about 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Remove and cool on a wire rack. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with my vegan Orange Creme Frosting (recipe follows).
6. For the frosting: In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the Earth Balance and vanilla. Begin beating. Add in the orange juice a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Don't add too much juice too soon. Go slowly. Beat on medium high until the frosting is smooth and creamy. If it is too thin, add more sugar; too stiff, add a spoonful of orange juice. You want a medium bodied icing.
7. Spoon the frosting into a zip-closing plastic sandwich baggie, press out the air and seal tight. Cut a very small hole in one of the bottom corners-- not too big. To frost, place the cut tip over the cupcake, near an outer edge, and squeeze the bag of frosting, gripping it tightly and moving in a circular motion, spiraling in toward the center, until the swirl of icing covers the cupcake.
8. Top with a few pieces of orange zest. Or try a sprinkle of flaked coconut, finely chopped pecans or walnuts.
9. Place in a freezable container to chill or freeze. Once frozen, you can wrap each cupcake individually for single treats, if you like. Remove wrapping before thawing. To keep the icing intact.
Yields 12 cupcakes.
This cake batter would make a luscious orange birthday cake. The amount of batter in this recipe should make one 7 or 8-inch round layer. Double it for a two-pan layer cake; and double the frosting.
If you prefer eggs, use 2 large organic free-range eggs, beaten.
Orange juice should be fresh squeezed at room temperature. I used California navel oranges. Using an ice cold commercial orange juice with added vitamin C, or citric acid, may affect the batter's consistency and rise (too much acid).
Before you grate the zest, wash the orange. And don't include the bitter white layer.
For those of you unable to find sorghum flour, I imagine you can substitute rice flour. I'm not a big rice flour fan, but if it's the one gluten-free flour you can use, try it and let me know how it works. I might let the batter sit for a few minutes, too, if using rice flour. This helps soften the gritty texture of it.
Gluten-free vegan batters are a tad different than wheat and white flour batters. They are stiffer at first, then stretch and get sticky as the xanthan gum and egg replacer do their thing.
Don't beat the batter to death. Let it sit for a minute or two after mixing to let it relax and settle in.
If the batter "climbs" the beaters, slow down the speed and slightly lift the beaters to encourage the batter to move back down into the bowl. Move your beater around the bowl in figure eights, at a slight angle. Practice your technique- soon you'll be winging around gluten-free vegan baking like a pro.
Sugar provides some of the structure of this cake. If you shun cane sugar and use a liquid sweetener instead, you may have to add more structure.