Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting
The idea of a gluten-free chocolate cupcake came up during a dinner with friends. Laura's husband has a gluten allergy and was telling me the challenges she faces. I found out that she often uses chickpea flour as a replacement for all-purpose flour.
Chickpea flour is common in savory dishes in Indian cuisine and is the main ingredient in paratha, a flat Indian bread. I was concerned that its heavy, grainy flavor would be too prominent and overwhelming for a dessert. I added a wide variety of flavorings like fresh ginger, cinnamon, rum, Medjool dates and of course chocolate to cover this up. The result was a dense chocolaty cake that has the internal consistency of fudge. The addition of cherry cream frosting is a nice complement to the fudgy cupcake and adds a bit of moisture to cover up any remaining grainy texture of the chickpea flour in the cupcake.
Yields: 12 servings8 ounces Medjool dates
1 tablespoon espresso coffee
3/4 cup near-boiling water
1 teabag oolong tea
1 teaspoon imitation rum extract
1 teaspoon molasses
15 ounces garbanzo beans, 1 can
1-1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon extract
8 ounces cream cheese, 1 block, at room temperature
12 tablespoonstabl unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 drops red food coloring
1 teaspoon cherry extract
3 tablespoons multi-color sprinkle toppings
For the dates:
Pit the dates. Place the pitted dates in a small stainless steel bowl. Pour the hot cup of tea over the dates. Soak the dates in the tea for at least 30 minutes. Add molasses and the rum extract. Stir the mixture and turn the dates into a paste. Plastic-wrap the bowl and place in a warm area. It's best to make it the night before.
For the chocolate batter:
Preheat the oven to 360°F.
Using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs with the sugar until you get a pale yellow color foam. It'll take about 10 minutes. The consistency must be very airy. Add both the ginger paste, cinnamon and vanilla extracts.
Place the chocolate in a separate bowl and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Beware! Don't burn it...
In a food processor, combine the date mixture and its liquid, garbanzo beans, melted chocolate, coffee, egg mixture and baking powder into a smooth batter. Place a silicone cup in each cupcake hole of a cupcake pan. Fill the batter into each cup. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
For the frosting:
Whisk the cream cheese and the butter together. Add the powdered sugar, the red food coloring and the cherry extract.
Frost each cupcake with cherry cream cheese frosting then top with some sprinkles.
Serve with a nice hot tea.
I infused the dates the same way I did for the rugelach. I like the addition of tea which brings a pleasant scent to the sweets.
I usually buy Medjool dates. They're always very sweet and non pitted. I recommend not to buy the pitted ones as they seem to have less flavor.
If you're very cautious, you can slowly melt the chocolate in a double boiler (place a pot filled with hot water, lined with a piece of cloth so the bowl does not move and place the bowl filled with chocolate on top). For the double boiler, I always like to add a little kitchen towel underneath the chocolate filled saucepan. The saucepan won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in your chocolate.
Quick note about how to get freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife. Grate the ginger with a fine mesh microplane. Gather about 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root.
You can also top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry instead of sprinkles.
When icing each cupcakes make sure the cakes are cooled completely otherwise the frosting will melt.
Published By: on May 11, 2009.