If it were not for a very unfortunate event from the way-back days, the annual Canteen Valentine cupcake might not even be. During the mad scramble from circle time to rush hour at the coat cubby in kindergarten, a boy stepped on my Valentine cookie and smashed it to pieces.
When I arrived home in tears, handing my mom the cookie crumbs, she traded it for a little vanilla cupcake topped with frosting and a tiny red candy heart. That she rarely baked cake (special occasions only) or cupcakes (next to never) made it all the more memorable. That I recall the day four centuries later means it really made an impression. I’m not certain whether it was the trauma of the lost cookie or the fact that my mother baked cupcakes. But either way, Valentine’s Day means cupcakes in our house.
Let’s take a moment and be grateful she didn’t hand me a carrot or some broccoli because this recipe could be very different.
Cupcakes are never out of style at Gluten Free Canteen. In fact, this cupcake might be a great treat for a holiday party. It has no gluten, dairy or soy. To avoid corn starch be sure to use organic powdered sugar. Most organic variations use tapioca starch as the additive. In fact, if you want powdered sugar without any additives at all you can find that at King Arthur Flour. I don’t order it very often because it’s pretty spendy, but you can taste the difference.
Also, a vanilla cake is always enhanced by a tiny bit of Fiori di Sicilia which is a citrus vanilla extract from King Arthur. A small bottle will last for years because a tiny bit is all any recipe needs. It makes the cake smell and taste like it just arrived from a swanky good bakery.
The icing is made with shortening to keep it dairy-free. Yes. Some people say shortening is evil, but it’s Spectrum organic (palm) nonhydrogenated, so a little on your cupcake is not a big deal. Just don’t eat the whole batch, but that goes whether the frosting is made with butter or shortening.
We used organic (store brand) morello cherry fruit spread which means it has less sugar and isn’t jam or preserves – to make the icing pink and give it a little cherry flavoring. Feel free to use any flavor fruit spread you like in place of cherry. Be sure to read the label to make sure it is all fruit and the ingredients are allergy friendly because we’ve come across some that have a list miles long for no good reason.
So no matter how the cookie crumbles, make cupcakes. It’s tradition with a bit of frosting.
|Cherry Vanilla Valentine Cupcakes||
- 325 grams Canteen flour blend (2 ½ cups) (see notes)
- 150 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 extra large eggs
- 240 grams nondairy milk (1 cup)
- 160 grams vegetable oil (2/3 cup)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (optional)
- 140 grams Spectrum organic shortening (10 tablespoons)
- 2-4 teaspoons morello cherry or other fruit spread (seedless preferred)
- 440 grams organic powdered sugar, sifted (4 cups)
- 2-4 tablespoons nondairy milk
- 18-22 fresh raspberries or other berries of choice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place liners in two 12-count cupcake pans (makes 18-22 cupcakes).
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, vanilla and Fiori di Sicilia, if using. Add to flour mixture and blend until batter is smooth.
- Scoop into liners a bit more than halfway full. Bake 18-21 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a rack and cool completely before frosting.
- In a large bowl whip the shortening together with 2 teaspoons of fruit spread until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and whip on low until combined and then turn mixer to high to whip. Add 2 tablespoons milk until the frosting is the almost the proper consistency which means it should not be crumbly, and should stand with peaks if dropped with a spoon. It is too thin if the mixture spreads when dropped from a spoon. You’ll want to add more sifted powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time until corrected. Add up to 2 teaspoons more fruit spread if the color is not quite pink enough. Pale pink is what you are looking for. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes and top with fresh fruit like raspberries. Refrigerate to store, but bring to room temperature before serving.
Want more? Valentine cupcakes on the blog: