Gluten-Free Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

gfstrawberrychococupcakesOne of my favorite places to visit is the Whole Spice Napa Valley storefront in the Oxbow Public Market in Napa. I could stare at their shelves for hours, row after row of glass jars filled with every spice you know and innumerable others you’ve never encountered. And then there are the flavor combinations they dream up; Italian pasta and curry rice blends, rubs for meat that work just as well on tofu, seitan and tempeh (I say this from experience!) and delightful sugars that make you want to hurry home and get baking.

My most recent trip there was on a date night with my husband. We came home with lots of fun spices to try and one of my favorites was their Strawberry Sugar. This sugar was the inspiration for these simple cupcakes.

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Doesn't this just spark your culinary imagination?

Doesn’t this just spark your culinary imagination?

I planned to bake these cupcakes for a gathering of friends and then remembered one of them requires her baked goods to be gluten-free. I always watch this friend’s face fall with disappointment when she sees a yummy treat that she can’t dive into. I wanted to make sure this time was different.

This is a classic vegan chocolate cupcake (compliments of Chef Chloe) with some pretty strawberry flair, and the added bonus of being gluten-free while not tasting like it is. Serve it up for friends or even a birthday party or baby shower. These would also be the perfect treat for your Valentine’s Day Party! Your gluten-free guests will be thrilled and all your guests will feel great knowing it’s vegan and cruelty-free!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1.5 cups gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose g-f flour. Feel free to use what you have but I highly suggest this brand as I think it gives you the fluffiest, grit-free cupcake!)
  • 3/4 tsp guar gun
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk. I used soy. For a list of soy milk brands that are officially g-f, see here.
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 tsp beet powder

For the garnish:

  • strawberry slices (washed and patted dry)
  • sprinkling of strawberry sugar (if you can’t find this, consider pulsing freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor and then mixing it together with coarse sugar)

Preheat your oven to 350 and line two cupcake pans with 16 liners. 

In a large bowl, combine the gluten-free flour and guar gum. Then whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, mix the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

While you wait for them to cool, prepare your frosting. Using an electric mixer, cream together the vegan butter and soy milk. Add half of the sugar and beat well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

Frost your cooled cupcakes and then garnish with the strawberry slices and strawberry sugar. 

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Happy eating!

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