Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fresh From the Oven - Valentine's Day cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day!

I always try to make a special treat for my kids for Valentine's Day.  Often I make chocolates, but this year the Enjoy Life chocolate chips have gotten much more expensive so I didn't have enough on hand to make specialty chocolates.  I thought about sugar cookies, but didn't have enough time.  Finally, I settled on chocolate cupcakes with pink icing.  I've been working hard at avoiding food dyes in the foods I make, so had to come up with something I would have on hand that would make a delicious frosting.
For lunches that morning, I'd stumbled upon a bag of Jamaica flowers (hibiscus) that I kept forgetting about and decided to make the boys a beautifully red iced tea for their lunch.  (We purchase this tea in Mexican markets whenever we get the chance.  It's cheap and makes a delicious (and beautiful) iced tea.)  And, so, I had my coloring idea for the frosting.  While the cupcakes cooled, I made a very strong bit of Jamaica tea.

Then, when I made the frosting, I used the strained tea as the liquid.  The frosting turned out great, with just a hint of fruity tangy taste to it.  (One son thought it tasted a bit like strawberry icing.)

Chocolate "Buttermilk" Cake
adapted by Raechel Medina from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
1 2/3 c. GF flour mix (I've successfully used either Featherlight or Four Flour Bean)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (optional)
1 c. milk substitute with about 1 Tbsp lemon juice added (I've used hemp milk, cashew milk or just water)
1/2 c. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour two 8-inch round cake pans or one 9x13-inch pan or a 12-hole muffin tin.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Spread into the pan(s) and bake about 20-25 minutes for the rounds, 35-45 minutes for the large or 23 minutes for cupcakes.  Test to see if a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a rack. 


Sara Thompson said...

I love the frosting idea - I love hibiscus and really want to start eliminating all the artificial stuff from our diet.
Try sfherb.com for the hibiscus flowers - they're about $5 for a pound. I think they have a min. order but I always find too much that I want from them.

Raechel said...

Thanks for the tip, Sara. I'll look into that site.