Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Caketastic. And stuff...

 Loving my friends with cupcakes.  Yeah.  It might be a problem I have. 
 In our bookclub, the person hosting each month (we rotate monthly) is in charge of any birthdays that may fall within that particular month.  August was my month, and one of my many besties, Betsy, had a birthday.  We agreed to celebrate her on our weekend getaway. 
  Betsy is gluten intolerant like me... and has been a terrific coach about what works and doesn't as I've journeyed down this road.  I wanted to bake her something sweet and special... with the hopes that all the other girls who can have gluten wouldn't be chewing on cardboard with polite smiles on their faces.  I mean, that's always the goal you know.
 Funny thing... not a lot of GF chocolate cupcake recipes out there that sounded good to me.  Maybe it's just me.  So I adapted my own recipe from a few others and added a little Sasha twist-melted Andes mints.   Mmmm.  I wanted ruffly, girly frosting because it was a girls weekend after all!  I used a swirly tip (not it's technical name) for the white initial layer and then a great big rose tip for the gigantic pale pink flowers on top of that.  I always use the same frosting recipe because it's amazing and has never failed me. Not even once.  It's like the little black dress of frostings. 
    And for an extra sweet touch, I dusted each cupcake with some silver (edible) stars that were leftover from this party.  (Found at Michaels.)
(Breaking from cupcakes for a minute...) Someone asked me to talk about our garden.  You may remember this post where we built boxes and got all ready... (And I compared my relationship with my man to that of Frog and Toad.)
 We have had a fantastic garden so far.  It's the perfect spot in our backyard I think.  We had planned to fence it off but we did the wall on the inside instead, so the fence and arbor will be a next spring project.  I have loved having an herb garden and a cutting garden.   (This particular photograph was taken during a thunder storm if you can believe that!  What on earth was I doing out there?? Thankfully I didn't get struck by lightning.)
 JJ planted corn and sunflowers and he's been loving watching them grow each day.  (And you know he checks them every day too.  Ha!)
 Also... I was focusing on the flowers here... but Ava's picking beans and JJ's building a fort.  Oh my word... he cracks me up.  I have no idea what the fort will look like by the time he's done but he's talking furniture and a door... could be quite the fort.
 I'm not sure what else to say about our garden... except that we used a combination of starts and seeds and everything but the cucumbers came up great.  In the past I would freeze and can a lot but this year I'm only freezing.  I don't have it in me to can things for some reason.  Oh yeah.. could be because I decided to paint all the trim in our house white, we had construction, vacation, camp, swimming, and I guess I'm just a little worn out now.  And isn't the freezer a lazy man's canner?  Yep.  I think it is.  I can own that. 
 This is what an 11 year-old, green eyed hoodlum building a fort in my back yard looks like.  He's awfully cute, isn't he? Always "up to no good" as my Mama says.
 Gluten Free Andes Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup sugar
 1/2 cup vegetable oil
 1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1/2 cup milk
 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 pkgs Andes mints melted, and cooled (You could try for the full two, but I had hoodlums and hubbies sneaking them ever five seconds as they were being unwrapped, so I ended up with 1 1/2 pkgs.)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
*Mix all the wet ingredients, then mix all the dry ingredients.  Combine the dry into the wet.  Divide evenly into cupcake liners.  (This recipe made 18 cupcakes for me and I know I filled them too full because they spilled over as they baked.  Oops.) Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

Fluffy (perfect every time) Cake Frosting:
*Beat 4 1/2 sticks room-temperature butter and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually add an additional 5 1/4 cups powdered sugar.  Add 1 1/2 tbsp milk and 1 tsp real vanilla extract.  Beat until pale and fluffy.

My man who doesn't eat GF said that you can't even tell these are GF.  That's what I call "caketastic."  Bless his heart.  He's my official guinea pig.

Don't you think every birthday should have cupcakes?

Yeah, me too.


  1. your frosting looks like perfection. wow. i wouldn't want to even eat it. okay, i would. but still. it's a piece of art! and your garden is amazing. it's grown so quickly and so well. you green thumb, you!

  2. OH MY OH MY! you know what i'm thinking right??? that garden looks amazing btw:) you little gardener you!

  3. Thanks for the recipes! We just had a GF Birthday for the 10-year-old here and pulled off a homemade GF ice-cream cake. VERY time consuming but well-worth it for the smiles on the cherubs' faces! I appreciate all of your effort in sharing the good news about a successful GF recipe. We will be sure to give it a try! However, I am NOT so sure the finished product will be as pretty as yours.
    Also, do you guys have access to "Better Batter" GF flour out on the West Coast? We use it as a cup-for-cup GF flour replacement. It is pretty delicious!

  4. your cupcakes are beautiful and your garden is abundant!! its bursting!! wow, girl...multitalent right there!

  5. Your cupcakes are perfect! And knowing that they are GF and actually taste like dessert is pretty awesome too.

    I had also wondered about your garden. So, it was fun to read more and see it. What flowers did you plant? I really liked the flower arrangements you showed recently.

  6. those cupcakes are beautimous.
    and, I'm dying for a girls' weekend!!!!
    I'm so glad you got away with friends.....makes coming home all the sweeter.

  7. Holy cupcakes! So pretty I need one or three, that is my magic number so bad I know!

  8. They look perfect and yummy!
    Are they regular tips that you buy in a package? I've always loved the look of frosted cupcakes...just like little bite-size cakes!
    Your garden looks so great...and your kids are right out there in it..soaking up all that goodness and making fun :)
    Sounds like home sweet home. A friend of mine attends a book club and she really enjoys it..sounds like a great idea!
    Have a lovely week!

    Deborah xo

  9. Your garden looks beautiful and bountiful. I have to say I'm jealous! Maybe next year...I can dream, right? ;)

    And those cupcakes? With the pretty frosting? With Andes mints??? I'm swooning!

  10. Thanks for posting about your garden. It looks amazing. It's my birthday today and I may just add some of that frosting to the mocha cake I made. Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. Cute cupcakes and yes every birthday should have cupcakes. Beats
    having the dreaded half a sheet cake that sits in the fridge getting stale,right?
    Oh wow! Did I read that frosting recipe right? Did it say 4 1/2 sticks
    of butter?

  12. I just love you. I love coming for a "visit". Wish we could be real life friends....I'm praying for God to give me a friend that I can hang out with just like you.