This year, however, Becky faced a real challenge as a chef. She found out she's allergic to garlic. Can you imagine? Well, the reaction was so intense that she sought out the help of a doctor, who put her on an elimination diet, to clean out her body so garlic could come back in. Believe me, Becky's about the last person I would have expected to do this. But for three months, she left over 20 ingredients out of her diet, including gluten, to heal herself.
It wasn't all bad. At least she started writing again because of this. You can read all about it at her new blog, Chef Reinvented. Becky's a hell of a writer. I'm glad to see her back.
The other day, Becky exclaimed to me, "I made the best cupcakes I've ever eaten." What? Where?
"Take the Bob's Red Mill chocolate cake mix, and add applesauce in place of some of the milk. Seriously, I'll never make another cupcake with regular flour again."
That's a recommendation I take seriously. What else could I do but make cupcakes?
The Chef and I had to resist eating three cupcakes each for breakfast this morning, if only to have some left over to take these photographs.
I ate cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan long before I had to go gluten-free. In Seattle, I ate at Cupcake Royale and Macrina, regularly, before April 2005. These cupcakes are better than any of those. Seriously.
Dark as lava, as moist as the ground in Seattle in November, and rich in chocolate goodness, these cupcakes are addictive. Add some coffee ganache frosting, and you're pretty much in heaven.
Who needs to feel deprived this holiday?
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 package Bob's Red Mill gluten-free chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup applesauce (you can make you own, if you wish)
1/3 cup milk (this works with soy or rice milk too)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (however, we were out, and used apple cider vinegar)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup hot water (110°)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1.Preparing for baking. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.
2.Making the batter. In the bowl of the stand mixer, start beating the butter until it is creamy. Add the cake mix, the applesauce, the milk, the lemon juice, and the eggs. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides when necessary. Raise the speed to low-medium and let it run for another moment. Add the hot water and the vanilla extract. Run the mixer for one more minute, scraping down the sides.
3.Baking the cupcakes. Carefully spoon the cupcake batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the cupcakes. (In our oven, the regular-sized cupcakes took 17 minutes, the jumbo ones 20 minutes.) Allow them to cool in the cupcake tin for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack and let them sit for another 20 minutes before eating. (I know. That's hard. But trust me.)
Coffee-Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon strong coffee grounds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces good dark chocolate
1.Bring the cream, coffee grounds, and vanilla extract to a boil. Take them off the heat as soon as they boil. Allow them to steep for half an hour. Strain.
2.Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a bowl. Bring the cream back to a boil. Pour over the chocolate pieces. This will melt the chocolate. Stir until it is smooth.
3.Lavish the cupcake as fully as you wish with the ganache.
Oh darn, you'll have some ganache left over. You'll have to figure out something to do with that.
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