The Bottom Line
- Excellent gluten-free options for those who want lower-carb, dairy-free or vegan recipes.
- Beautiful photographs encourage you to get baking.
- A few of the 50 recipes included seem a bit repetitive.
- Gluten-Free Cupcakes includes 50 recipes for gluten-free cupcakes made with almond and coconut flour.
- Some of the recipes included are vegan and dairy-free, and none of the recipes in the cookbook use refined sugar.
- Options include sweet cupcakes and savory cupcakes, along with recipes for frosting and cupcake fillings.
Guide Review - Gluten-Free Cupcakes Offers Cupcake Options for Almost Everyone
I was eagerly anticipating Gluten-Free Cupcakes, the latest collection of recipes from gluten-free chef and author Elana Amsterdam. Elana's previous cookbook, the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, remains my all-time favorite gluten-free cookbook, in part because, as a largely grain-free celiac, I still can enjoy almost any of the recipes in there, and in part because ... well, because the recipes are just really, really good.
Gluten-Free Cupcakes does not disappoint. If you like cupcakes (and even if you don't), you'll find multiple delicious options.
If you need to omit ingredients other than gluten for example, if you have a dairy intolerance or if you're vegan you'll find recipes you can try. However, you'll need to steer clear or substitute ingredients if you can't have eggs, since all the recipes include eggs.
In addition to the sweet cupcakes (White Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes is our favorite so far), Elana offers six savory cupcake recipes, including Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins and Chive Pepper Muffins. These treats would work well as accompaniments to dinner or even as a quick breakfast snack.
Recipes Based on Coconut, Almond Flour
Elana bases these cupcake recipes on either coconut flour or almond flour. Instead of refined sugar, she uses mainly agave nectar or stevia as sweeteners, making these cupcakes lower in carbohydrates than most gluten-free options based on refined grain flours and sugar.
In addition, many of the recipes make use of fresh fruit (apples, strawberries, bananas and even limes), along with chocolate, cocoa powder, spices and nuts.
As anyone who's done lots of gluten-free baking can attest, getting baked goods (especially sweets) to come out right can be tricky. Elana's done copious experimenting with various potential ingredients, and lists specific ingredients and brands to use in her cookbook. In some cases, the recipes just won't work if you substitute other ingredients, so read carefully and follow her instructions to the letter.
Plan Ahead to Gather Recommended Ingredients
The only flaw I could find in Gluten-Free Cupcakes is the fact that a few of the recipes seem to repeat themselves somewhat most competent amateur chefs should be able to figure out how to add strawberries to vanilla cupcakes in order to make strawberry cupcakes, for example.
But that's a very minor quibble. Overall, I'm enjoying this book just as much as I enjoy the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Just keep in mind that you'll need to plan ahead to gather the specific recommended ingredients.
I also highly recommend Elana's blog, which provides great recipes of all sorts not just cupcakes. If you're looking for innovative gluten-free recipes, especially recipes that adhere to a lower-carb lifestyle free of refined sugar, I'd absolutely check out Elana's creations.