These are the greatest plant-based cupcakes to have ever seduced my nostrils and my tastebuds. I beg you to try them.
Brown rice flour is the easiest gluten-free flour to bake with, and the most obedient to use. Its practically inflammable with B vitamins, acting like spark plugs in the body (most important for new parents, trainee doctors and idle cabinet ministers).
Team it up with sweet chestnut flour, and you’ve got yourself a little love bomb in the oven.
Italians have been using chestnut flour for centuries y’all. These folk seem to know a lot about tickling taste buds. Chestnuts are naturally sweet, high in fibre and approximately 80% carbohydrate. What’s more, its monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids are like cheerleaders for the heart.
I’ve noticed that Denmark’s culinary doyenne Anette Harbech Olsen praises psyllium husks as the secret weapon in her gluten-free baking. So I gave it a go. I think you’ll find it a cinch to use, dead cheap, and will feel like a prize-winning chemist in the kitchen. Transformational stuff (erm, it’s also great for the bowels).
For the plant-based ‘buttermilk’:
2 tablespoons psyllium husks (10g)
1 1/2 cups almond or soya milk (375ml)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (125ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dry ingredients (I use British cups, 1 cup=250ml):
1/2 cup cocoa powder (50g)
3 tablespoons potato flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour (60g)
1/2 cup chestnut flour (65g)
1/2 cup brown rice flour (65g)
1 cup coconut sugar (150g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
35g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
With a fork, simply whisk the psyllium in with the plant milk, olive oil and vanilla, then leave to rest while you get jiggy with the other ingredients. Leave overnight if you’re prepping for a culinary sing song in the morning.
In a food processor, or a whisk and tenacity, blend the dry ingredients together so that the baking powder and cocoa is distributed evenly. Add the plant-based ‘buttermilk’ and beat or puree until smooth. Avoid tasting the batter – wet chickpea flour tastes and smells like cat’s pee. The cooked result is awesome though, so do persist! These are the greatest vegan cupcakes I’ve ever tasted.
Add the chocolate chips. Scoop the dough into exactly 12 cupcake liners and bake for 28 minutes at 160 fan / 180 regular Celsius oven. When they’re done, leave to cool in their cupcake tray. If the plant-based milk you used was of the unsweetened variety, you might want to sweeten the end result by drizzling melted chocolate on top, and leaving to set. Just saying.
For more inspiration on gluten free and plant-based baking, have a peek at Allyson Kramer’s blog. This one is a spin off from her peppermint chocolate cupcakes.
This week, The Irish Times’ restaurant critic Catherine Cleary asks whether food can help you feel better. What do you think? Check out her podcast here on medicinal food for Lyric FM’s series “History on a Plate” (I join her for a quick chat, but thankfully wasn’t offered powdered mouse and 8oz of cinnamon).
Good night from me!