Sweet celebration: My gluten-free, vegan cupcakes offer a little something everyone can enjoy on the Fourth of July
When celebrating Fourth of July, many of us pay just as much attention to the food as we do the fireworks. But what should we serve? Hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs or chicken? Why not all four? Baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw? They all sound good!
What about dessert? Of course, there will be ice cream. But it almost goes without saying that you'll also need some sort of baked good as well. More and more, though, when I mention baked goods to friends or restaurant guests, a pair of issues comes up that I used to never hear about.
First is the increasing number of people who are trying to follow vegan diets free of any animal products, including dairy. On top of that, it seems that every day somebody tells me they've switched to a gluten-free diet; whether they're dealing with celiac disease or eliminating gluten for other health-related reasons, they no longer eat wheat, the main source of gluten, or other of the many ingredients or processed foods that may contain traces of the substance.
So, this Fourth of July, I'd like to propose making a dessert that will help your friends -- and you-- declare your independence from animal products and gluten alike.
My catering team and I originally developed the following gluten-free, vegan cupcake recipe to serve at the Governors Ball reception following the Academy Awards ceremony; but it's a treat that anyone can enjoy year-round. And by "anyone," I also mean people who may not be following vegan or gluten-free diets.
These cupcakes are absolutely delicious in their own right, featuring a tender, moist cake with a rich chocolate flavor made all the more intense with the help of some freshly brewed coffee. The luscious frosting gets its creaminess from a combination of coconut oil, almond milk and soy milk powder.
You can find all the ingredients you'll need -- including gluten-free baking flour, potato starch, and arrowroot and xanthan gum powders -- in the baking aisle of any well-stocked supermarket today; or online, with most suppliers able to ship them to you within just a few days.
If you're packing the cupcakes to take to an at-home party or picnic, be sure to put them in a rigid, airtight container and keep them someplace cool so that the frosting doesn't melt. Just one more word of caution: Keep looking up in the sky for the fireworks, because otherwise your attention may be focused on dessert alone!
GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH ALMOND-COCONUT CREAM FROSTING
Makes 2 dozen