Gluten-Free: Bloggin’, Bakin’ & BTTs

So, it’s about 2 weeks since my birthday cake disaster.  Correction — Gluten-Free — birthday cake disaster.  Remember?  The flapjack masquerading as a cake?

Cut GF Cake

I have yet to have a great slice of gluten free (GF) cake that has hit the proverbial spot.  I’ve been ruminating about this for the past week or so and decided to do something about it.  After a long day of unpacking, sorting and decorating my new-old place I went to my lifesaver — Twitter, of course — and checked #GlutenFree #Baking to see what would pop up.  Several cool looking desserts showed up in that search stream instantaneously.  But, they were pictures only not recipes.  So, after trolling through about 6 pages worth I modified my search to #GlutenFree #Baking #Recipes.  BINGO!  I hit the jackpot.

Recipes abounded along with pics.  I was so in Happy Town.  That is, until I couldn’t find a cake recipe that did not call for 50 bagillion ingredients (some of which sounded esoteric to my non-GF ears; coconut flour anyone??)

After searching for 20 minutes, I finally found a Lemon Mini Cupcake recipe using a ‘box’ cake GF mixture by Arrowhead Mills.  Then, you would add eggs, milk, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to make the vanilla cake citrus-y.  Sounded simple enough and the *lift* in the cupcakes looked amazing — just what I was seeking.  You can check out Lauren Marie’s (@LaurenMarieGF) great recipe here.  Even the lemon glaze was easy to make.  You are to use 10X sugar (confectioner’s sugar), water and lemon zest.  Easy-peasy!

Off to the store I went and came back in ready to bake when I got hooked into a fab conversation with Jorie (@JLovesAStory) about Mac vs. PS and file storage/management.  That convo spun off into food and how we were both vegan, at one point, and how she and her family are currently striving to eat GF.  That lead to my baking a GF cake which I told her I had to get to.  Long story short, I took my laptop into the kitchen and decided to keep the convo going and post pics as I am baking the lemony cupcakes.

The boring stuff I ignored but tweeted when all the ingredients were int he bowl ready to be whipped.  Like this…

GF Lemon Cupcakes_Eggs_8 9 2014

As Jorie and I were tweeting others chimed in because I had questions &/or wanted to make sure that I did it right.  Somehow, in my research prior to going to the store, I stumbled across Melissa Bess Reed (@MelissaBessReed) who has a blog about the GF Lifestyle.  Her blog?  It contains a TON of GF recipes!  So, I looped her into the conversation with Jorie as I’m baking and tweeting with my Best Twitter Tweeps (BTTs).  And wouldn’t you know — other people began fave-ing and RT’ing the pics and the ongoing conversational tweets.  It was a blast!  It was as if Jorie, Melissa and quite a few others were in my kitchen baking with me.

The next pic I tweeted was the batter in the cupcake tins…

GF Lemon Cupcakes_In Pan_8 9 2014

The batter tasted okay not excessively lemony but okay.  I worried at the back of my mind about the chalkiness of the aftertaste of the batter but put it aside.  I knew I couldn’t use the signs from regular baking in GF baking.  I popped them in the 350 degree oven for 16 minutes and went on to make the glaze.

Tweeted this pic of it…

GF_Lemon Cupcake_Glaze_8 9 2014

It tasted plain so I added a few drops of the fresh lemon juice to give the glaze more punch.  I put it aside and washed the dirty dishes.

It was time to take out the cake!  I pulled open the door at 16 minutes and they were — gasp — PALE!  They also had not risen like Lauren Marie’s did!  I was getting bummed.  I immediately tweeted and asked Lauren what I should do.  If I needed to keep them in longer.  She tweeted back and asked a few questions to get a sense of what I was experiencing.  At 22 minutes the cupcakes were still in the oven and I feared they would get rubbery.  So, I took them out pale and all.

GF Lemon Cupcakes 1st Batch_8 9 2014

I asked Lauren what she thought and she said she couldn’t really see them and couldn’t tell.  So, I took the flash off and re-took the pic and re-tweeted them from a different perspective…

GF Lemon Cupcakes_Baked 1st Batch_8 9 2014

I was defeated.  They were not at all like Lauren’s!

GF Lemon Lauren Cupcakes

See the difference???!?  (Arrgh!)

Everyone began jumping in with feedback different from my own.  Jorie thought they looked great.  So did Melissa who further stated that the taste was the most important factor.  They all wanted me to try them.  Mind you, by now the cupcakes had been out of the oven for about 20 minutes.  I tweeted what the inside of the cupcake looked like…

GF Lemon Cupcakes Cut Open 1st Batch_8 9 2014

 

I tasted one and it was okay.  Heavy — but fairly tasty!  Wow.  So it wasn’t as BAD as I had imagined.  I had my mind set on fluffy light cupcakes and was thrown for a loop when I received what came out of my oven.  Everyone encouraged me to glaze them and I did…

GF_Lemon Cupcakes Glazed_8 9 2014

So, while I did not bake the fabulousness that are Lauren Marie’s cupcakes (seen above) I was able to get a better product than I ever have before in the cake line of GF.  I did use a box mix — Betty Crocker GF Vanilla Cake mix.  Maybe next time I will try this from GF scratch and use the coconut flour one of my baking tweep gurus suggested — Oooh!  The coconut flour suggestion came from Kathleen (@katwoman153) who has also had a recent diagnosis of celiac (I found out days before my birthday which is now 3 weeks ago).

I learned so much from the exchanges and want to put some of that info to work immediately and bake some more the GF way!  We were all so pumped after the cupcakes were glazed and cooling down we didn’t want it to end.  I know I quipped in one of our final tweets, “Whose got next on this Twitter GF Baking Class!”  (or something along these lines).  Do you know everyone wanted to do it again??!!

But that is so totally another post!

Here’s a shout-out to some of the others who participated in this first Twitter GF Baking Party: Julie, Prachi, Maria Lucia Bakes, Cook’s Vanilla, The Mixing Bowl — Oh, did I mention that GF Bread bakers in Hong Kong jumped in for this GF Bake Fest??  LOL.  If I missed you please comment below and link back to your blog/website!

In the meantime, peace, love and hairgrease!

Ta-ta for now,

NB

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