Gluten-Free Pineapple & Coconut Cupcakes

New team at work, new birthdays, new likes/dislikes/allergies. We have a coeliac and someone who is allergic to peanuts, and while the coeliac is fine with missing out on cake (she’s used to it, poor thing) I don’t think anyone should have to miss out if they don’t have to. So here we have some gluten-free (and peanut-free) cupcakes.

pineapple Coconut Cupcakes

This is a recipe I’ve not used before, plus the added gluten-free factor meant that I was really worried these might not work out, but they seem to be pretty good! I tried making the pineapple flowers to add a bit of sparkle and they were surprisingly easy and delicious. If I were to do this again though, I’d make the pineapple flowers first and let them cool while I made the cakes.

3 cups plain gluten-free flour (or regular flour, if you like)
2 teaspoons baking powder
250g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
440g tin crushed pineapple, drained (reserve the juice as you may need it later)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla well. Add the eggs one at a time and beat lightly between each addition. Sift in the flour and baking powder in two batches, and fold in to the batter. Add the pineapple and the coconut and mix well. I found the batter to be really thick, so I added about 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice as well, and could probably have added more.

Spoon batter into lined cupcake tins and bake at 180C for about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 24.

pineapple flowers

Pineapple Flowers – you will need a whole fresh pineapple for these. Cut the skin off and take out the eyes. Slice into rounds as thinly as you possibly can. Make a sugar syrup by melting 2 tablespoons of sugar into 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan, and boiling briefly. Brush the pineapple slices with the syrup and lay on wire oven racks. Dry in an oven at 120C for about an hour. Take the pineapple off the racks and push them into mini muffin trays (or egg cartons) to shape them, and allow to cool.

I made a cream cheese icing, and decorated the cakes with toasted coconut as well as the pineapple flowers. Yum! And cute!!

pineapple cupcake

More Jam Drops

This time they’re wheat/gluten/dairy free! And no one would ever know if you didn’t tell them, they taste that good. Seriously. As an added bonus they are really easy and quick to make, so they are perfect for taking to work or to a friend’s place for afternoon tea (except if you nearly eat them all yourself first, like I did when I visited my friend Katy recently…)

180g Nuttelex (or other non-dairy butter substitute)
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups plain wheat/gluten free flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
jam (I like raspberry or strawberry, but whatever you like)
¼ cup plain wheat/gluten free flour, extra
Preheat oven to 180C. Cream the Nuttelex and sugar, then add the egg and beat well. Stir in the flour and baking powder until you have a dough that’s not too sticky, but not too crumbly. If it’s too sticky at this point, gradually mix in some of the extra flour until it’s just right.
Roll small balls (about half a tablespoon) of dough and put them on a lined baking try, then lightly press them down to flatten them with the palm of your hand. Make a hole in the centre of each biscuit (I use the handle of a wooden spoon) and fill with jam. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. They store pretty well in an airtight container.


Wheat, Gluten, and Dairy Free Carrot and Banana Cake

Next up in the gluten-free, dairy-free experimentation: a cake made from scratch instead of a packet mix! I picked this recipe because it was dairy-free to start with (apart from the original cream cheese icing) so there wasn’t as much modification required. I found these two wheat and gluten-free flours the other day in my shopping expedition so I simply replaced the regular flours in the recipe with these. I was particularly impressed with the plain flour – the texture was pretty much identical to regular flour. The self-raising flour was very fine – it looked and felt more like cornflour.

It’s another AWW recipe that I’ve slightly altered to suit. I’ve never come across a carrot and banana cake recipe before, and I love both separately so I thought I’d probably love the combination too! Also I had a heap of soft bananas and a whole bag of carrots in the fridge… It turned out surprisingly well, not dry but not too dense, with a light and springy texture all the way through. It actually reminded me of the texture of the carrot cakes that my Nanna used to make when I was a child. It’s not a ‘pretty’ cake, not is it super sweet, but it is an easy, tasty and wholesome cake and I’ll definitely be making it again.

1  ¼ cups GF plain flour
½ cup GF self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups finely grated carrot
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup vegetable oil 

Preheat oven to 170C. Grease a 23cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, carrot, banana and oil. Pour into the tin and bake for about 1 ¼ hours, cool in tin.

When the cake was cool enough I turned it out onto a wire rack and then drizzled it with a icing glaze that I made from almond milk, icing sugar and cinnamon.

It was ugly but delicious! I think it would keep pretty well in an airtight container but there wasn’t any left over for me to find out!

Let the wheat free/dairy free adventures begin!

Confession: I’m not supposed to eat most of the things that I bake and post on here, and generally I don’t – I let other people eat it all instead! – because wheat and dairy make me feel sick. I’m not allergic, just intolerant, and I’d rather not feel nauseous so I tend to avoid those foods.

I’ve been a bit scared of attempting to bake anything wheat & dairy free though, partly because I’ve eaten some things in the past that were pretty awful, and also because they seemed far more of a hassle to make! This all changed on the weekend though. I found a huge range of wheat free & dairy free products in a local supermarket, including a packet muffin mix, and it seemed like a perfect place to start – easy, cheap, and it would use up the old blueberries that I had in the fridge!

Initially I was reluctant to go with a packet mix, it feels a bit like cheating to me, but I thought it would be the safest place to begin. If the muffins went wrong then I wasn’t left with a heap of leftover ingredients that would be hard to use, and it would give me a good idea of what the final product should be like when I start trying to bake them from scratch.

The instructions were easy, and all I needed was eggs, water and the filling (I used some blueberries that were slightly past their best, but you could use almost anything). The batter was really sticky, but it was just the right quantity to make 6 big muffins.

They were slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and cakey in the middle, and turns out I really loaded them with blueberries! I was impressed.

Overnight I kept them in an airtight container on the bench, but by the next day they had lost their crunch and gone kind of sticky. I warmed one up for breakfast and it still tasted good, but I’d say these are best on the day that they are made, fresh from the oven.

I got myself some wheat free self-raising flour too, so I may even give cupcakes a try soon – I’m excited that I’ll actually be able to eat them this time, so stay tuned for that experiment!