I don’t know about you but I have a lot of ‘special diet’ needs people in my life. Paleo, gluten free, dairy free, egg allergies, low sodium, vegan, vegetarian, low fat, friends that keep Kosher and just people counting calories or doing Weight Watchers.
Not only do I get recipe requests from these friends and family members (and even strangers!) I am often in the position to cook different foods for them and need to cater to their diets.
I should clarify, if I am hosting a dinner party I usually don’t go out of my way to cater to these dietary needs. I believe that if you do have a strict diet then you should help contribute and bring something you know you can have. That may seem harsh but a lot of specialty foods are costly and take a lot of time to research and prepare to keep in accordance with the dietary needs. I generally will have a wide variety of foods, and one or two items will usually meet those needs, but I will not completely change the menu.
With that said, if I am baking up a sweet treat or hosting a dinner party in honor of that person (for their birthday, as a baby shower, etc.) with a special diet, then of course I will go out of the way to make a complete diet friendly meal.
Lately I have had several requests or needed cupcakes for people with special diet needs. Gluten free, Paleo and egg free to name a few! In part of my recipe testing I have tried several cupcakes over the past few weeks.
The gluten free and Paleo cupcakes are ones that I am still working on. The gluten free/Paleo flour options are limited in their availability and can be costly. Not only that, the texture is quite different than traditional flour.
I have been experimenting and here is one of the gluten free chocolate cupcake recipes I made recently. This recipe is unique in that it uses quinoa ground into a ‘meal’ to replace half of the gluten free flour in this recipe. Quinoa meal/flour can be bought at most specialty grocery stores but I had trouble finding it and made my own (directions for this is included in the recipe below).
These cupcakes were dense and fudgy, reminding me more of brownies. They do have a slight ‘grainy’ texture from the ‘flours’ used, that if you are not used to baking with gluten free flours you may find off. However, my special diet friends said these turned out great!
Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Makes: approximately 12 cupcakes
½ cup quinoa
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
Place quinoa in blender and blend for 3-4 minutes or until it becomes like cornmeal.
Place the butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.
Sift together the sugar, quinoa meal, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cooled cocoa mixture, egg yolks, vanilla and yogurt; blend well.
Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Carefully fold beaten egg whites into mixed cake batter.
Spoon into prepared muffin tin.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Optional: Frost with desired frosting.