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Gluten-free Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

I have a new love. Please don’t tell Blondie, I don’t want to break his heart.
It is swiss buttercream.

gluten-free vanilla bean cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream from frannycakes

I discovered Swiss Merengue Buttercream, and I don’t know why I never tried it before. You have to cook the eggs, sure, but other than that pesky step, this stuff is amazing. Normally, I make buttercream the american way – powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and a splash of milk. I never measure it. I go purely by feel. And it is good frosting. This merengue frosting business is frosting for frosting haters and lovers alike. It is light and fluffy and not too sweet.

I was just experimenting with this type of frosting. I was sure that it wasn’t going to be worth the effort. Just like I am certain that 7 minute frosting isn’t worth it either. Getting out a pot? Turning on the stove? For frosting? Yes. Please, trust me on this. I doubted it long enough for you and me.

On to the cake. I go away from the traditional mixing methods on this one, and the batter is a little looser than your normal cake, but that is ok. The cake turns out moist, light and flavorful.

I am going to encourage you to try out vanilla bean paste in this recipe. I love using it in frostings so it doesn’t effect consistency, white cakes so you can see the bean flecks, and other places that you want an intense vanilla flavor. It can frequently be substituted 1:1 in baking, but in this frosting it cannot be.

Gluten-free Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
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Recipe Type: Cupcake
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 17 mins
Total time: 1 hour 2 mins
Serves: 30
made these cupcakes and then decided that I never needed to make any cupcakes ever again. Next time someone asks me what a frannycake is, I am going to point them to this recipe.
Ingredients
  • for the cupcakes
  • 420 grams (3 cups) gluten-free all-purpose flour*
  • 400 grams (2 cups) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 225 grams (2 sticks, 1 cup) unsalted butter , cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • For the frosting
  • 7-8 large egg whites (total 450g, or 2 cups)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 2.5 cups (5 sticks, 570 grams) of unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cupcake pan with papers.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine dry ingredients on a low speed until combined
  3. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour. It will look a little like sand
  4. In a large glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with a whisk and add millk and vanilla.
  5. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition.
  6. Beat until just combined. The batter will be a little thinner than most cake batters.
  7. Fill cupcake wells about 2/3 full, using an ice cream scoop to make sure they are even
  8. Bake for 17-20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter.
Frosting
  1. Wipe out a clean bowl for your stand mixer with vinegar or lemon juice to make sure that there is no grease or oil in the bowl. Do the same thing with the whisk for your mixer.
  2. Set up a bain marie (a pot of simmering water with the bowl to your stand mixer set on top) and attach a candy thermometer to your mixer bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together constantly in the bowl in the bain marie until they hit 140 degrees.
  4. Once heated, return the bowl to your mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip the egg white mixture into a meringue. It will become shiny and white.
  5. Keep mixing until the bowl is neutral in temperature.
  6. Switch to the paddle attachment.
  7. With the mixer on a low speed, add the butter one cube at a time until all are incorporated and mix until the frosting has a smooth-as-silk texture.
  8. Now, you can mix in the salt, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. If you have any problems, [url href=”http://sweetapolita.com/2011/04/swiss-meringue-buttercream-demystified/”]here is a great tutorial on making this type of frosting.[/url]
  9. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a tip and pipe your frosting onto your cupcakes.
Notes

*Gluten-free all-purpose flour: I prefer Cup4Cup brand. If you want to make this without a blend, use the folowing: 165 grams (1 1/4 cups) sorghum flour, 40 grams (1/4 cup) brown rice flour, 100 grams (1/2cup) sweet white rice flour, 75 grams (1/2 cup) tapioca starch, 40 grams (1/4 cup) ground flax

If your all purpose flour doesn’t have xantham gum, guar gum, expandex or flax in it, add 1 teaspoon xantham gum to the recipe

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