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Gluten Free Cupcakes: The secret story of what happened to my first batch

March 15, 2017

Gluten Free Cupcakes: The secret story of what happened to my first batch

These are cupcakes with a long story. Skip the tale and go straight to the recipe below if you want.

But the germ, (ahem, I use that word for a reason) of this story started in January when everyone was getting sick left and right. At work, at home, at church, among friends, among family.

We had planned to go celebrate my third grandson’s birthday at his house (two hours away), and I volunteered to make some gluten free homemade cupcakes from scratch, especially for his older brother but for the rest of us too. I had found what sounded like a fine recipe and I still had all those weird rice and tapioca and other flours that I purchased at Christmas, which I told about here. I spent a Saturday morning making the cupcakes for the celebration planned for the following weekend. And then I froze them as I always do cakes before frosting them. They frost easier and it makes the cake moister, too, I believe.

And then. That evening, I got as sick as a dog. Sicker if that’s possible. I had not, you know, made that many trips to hug the porcelain throne since I don’t know when. I was down for two days. It wasn’t influenza, I still think it was just a stomach bug that laid me out. A couple days later, I came down with a cold that I had been fighting since Christmas. So did my grandsons. two hours away. And their mom and dad didn’t feel so great either. The party was postponed until the following weekend and we hoped all of us would be better. Luckily it was the little guy’s first birthday so he didn’t complain about waiting seven days.

What to do with the cupcakes? My daughter called me to politely but firmly caution me she didn’t think we should use the cupcakes. Everyone had been so sick. She didn’t want to risk more illness. I understood. I would have felt just terrible if any of them had gotten sick again and had to miss more work and daycare. I would have hated to be in her shoes to make the call. I told her I would just buy a gluten free cake mix and make some new cupcakes from a mix for the party.

She ordered a small birthday cake from a bakery decorated as a cute little bright blue drum for the musical theme. The one-year-old enjoyed it very much and so did the rest of us, with the gluten-free boy making do with his cake mix cupcakes.

Back home, I couldn’t bring myself to throw those precious original cupcakes away. I hated to see the expensive flours and other ingredients go to waste. I had tasted one the day I made them and I knew they had an extra earthiness and wholesome flavor I loved.

Could I take them to the office and share them there—everyone’s fallback for helping clean up aging desserts or recipe failures? I immediately chastised myself for even pondering the thought. If my daughter felt there was a chance the cupcakes would make their family sick, how could I imagine foisting the cupcakes on my unsuspecting office mates! Of course not. But it was a thought, in order to not waste them.

So I left them sit in the freezer. Weeks passed. We were getting ready to go visit my other two grandsons five hours away (and of course their parents—always!) and I didn’t want my husband or I to get sick before we went. So we didn’t sample any more of those cupcakes in my freezer.

We had a grand trip to visit the other family, and neither one of us got sick. Small miracle. The two little boys already had colds and runny noses, but we didn’t pick up anything, and they held their own without fevers or ear infections. A big deal after all the illnesses, including (right before Christmas) a hospitalization and a trip in the rescue squad for those two young’in’s (separate illnesses).

Back from our trip, my mind kept returning to those cupcakes. Dare I eat them? Should I toss them? I decided to stealthily eat the cupcakes and see if I got sick—either with a cold or stomach flu. I had one after dinner one night (gave my husband an alternative brownie for his dessert). I ate several more that week with no signs of illness returning. Had I frozen any residual germs out of the cupcakes?

I’ll never know but I finally told my husband what was up with the stealth cupcakes. We ate the rest of them and neither of us got sick. Or anything. And. They. Were. Delicious. At least in my book.

Again, they had a full-bodied texture that was quite satisfying—not just fluffy cake. They tasted similar to the gluten free cake we had purchased from a local food truck baker who said she had worked very hard to perfect a gluten free cake recipe she liked. I decorated these cupcakes to share with you here, even though they never made it to any party.

End of story. Now my daughter knows my secret too. And here’s the recipe. Try it if you have a gluten-free family member. Or to delight your gluten free kid—keep a stash in your freezer when there’s a birthday party whenever he or she need to bring their own cupcakes.

Eat them if you dare!

Yellow Gluten Free Cupcakes

1 ½ cups white rice flour
¾ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder (most is gluten free)
1 teaspoon xanthangum
4 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons gluten free vanilla

Mix flours and other dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar and mayo until fluffy. Add to the flour mixture. Add milk and vanilla. Pour into 12-15 muffin tins lined with cupcake papers. Bake at 350 for 22 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Freeze (if desired) then frost and decorate. (I used canned white frosting and sprinkles.)


What would you have done? Stories? 


Have you ever shared aging or less-than-perfect treats
or dessert with the “break room” crowd? Results?


Mennonite Girls Can Cook Cookbooks and blog have a bunch of great gluten free recipes. Purchase here. 

Mennonite Girls Can CookMennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations


From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

  1. Missy's Crafty Mess permalink

    I would have ate them too.

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