Hard to believe these colorful beauties are gluten-free, allergy-free, and vegan, as well as free of any artificial color. Don’t they look like they must be bad for you? Nope, 100% natural, GF, and free of all top food allergens. I was inspired to make them after finding that India Tree has a line of all-natural food coloring. This was an exciting find, indeed, since I’ve never been very happy with the line of natural colors from Seelect, and I really don’t like feeding my children artificial dye. Particularly my multi-food-allergic son, Lennon, who seems overly reactive these days. Just last week he broke out in total body hives after I gave him liquid Ibuprofen, and frankly, I don’t know if it was a medication allergy, or if he was having an allergic reaction to the red dye in the Children’s Advil. Better safe than sorry, so I think we’ll avoid both for now.
These India Tree Natural Decorating Sugars make very pretty pastels, or jewel tones. Add the coloring a drop at a time, until desired shade has been reached. The Jelly Beans I used to accessorize are also all-natural and allergy-friendly from Surf Sweets. And the cute little chicks and bunnies are from Williams Sonoma.
“Allergy-Friendly ” Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel “Buttercream” Frosting
For anyone who missed these lovely cupcakes when I first posted the recipe over at Whole Living Daily, I’m posting it here again. This recipe was created for a reader who wasn’t a huge fan of chocolate (my go-to flavor), but adored caramel. They are Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Allergy-Friendly. I have heard from those who’ve baked it, it also makes a great birthday cake!
Also, FYI, I just posted a really yummy new recipe for Gluten-Free Hemp Seed Mexican Wedding Cookies on my Food Allergy Recipe Challenge.
“Allergy-Friendly” Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel “Buttercream” Frosting Makes 12 Cupcakes.
With the heavenly aroma of crème caramel, these tender little gems are like flan in a cupcake!
- 1/2 cup rice milk
- 3/4 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend, or my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 3/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 3 Tablespoons rice milk
- 1/4 cup caramel syrup (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a muffin pan with 12 liners.
- Combine ½ cup rice milk with the cider vinegar and set aside.
- Measure out flour mix by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup, then leveling it off with a straightedge, or the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour for the recipe). Combine flour mix with xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine vegetable shortening and granulated sugar. Mix on medium speed 2 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract and egg replacer to bowl of stand mixer. Mix on medium speed 1 minute more. Add caramel syrup, and mix about 30 seconds to combine.
- Using a sifter, sift in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with rice milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing until combined, about 30 seconds. Once batter is smooth, spoon about ¼ cup batter into each liner, filling the liners about halfway full. Do not overfill the liners, or they will overflow and stick to the pan!
- Bake in the center of the oven 10 minutes until tops have domed slightly, then reduce temperature to 350°F and bake 8-10 minutes more until a lovely rich amber color. Resist opening the oven door while baking, they need a consistent temp to rise, and set!
- Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.
Caramel “Buttercream” Frosting A light creamy caramel frosting that can be piped, or spread with a butter knife or frosting spatula, creating pretty swirls. Makes enough for 12 Cupcakes.
- 1 cup Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup caramel syrup (recipe follows)
- 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon rice milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream shortening and pinch of salt on medium speed, about 2 minutes.
- Add caramel syrup and mix about 1 minute more. Add confectioners’ sugar in three batches, beating after each addition. Add rice milk and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Caramel Syrup This syrup can be made in advance. Just be sure to store it tightly covered.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups cool water
- In a small heavy saucepan, combine granulated sugar with ½ cup of the water. Stir well to combine, scraping down sugar from sides of pan.
- Place on burner, over high heat. Cook, stirring, with a wooden spoon, melting sugar and bringing up to a rapid boil. It will foam, turn to liquid, clump, foam again, etc. After about 14 minutes it should turn a dark amber color.
- With caution, add the remaining cup of water to the sugar mixture. Beware, it will act like a bubbling cauldron, sputtering out all over the place, so wear long sleeves and an apron, and be prepared to jump back. Stir water in, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, at a simmer about 5 minutes more, dissolving any lumps. Let cool completely before using. Once cooled, it should be the consistency of corn syrup. If it’s too thin, bring it back up to a boil and cook a couple minutes longer, then cool again. If it’s too thick, add a little warm water and cook over medium heat, until thinned out to proper consistency.
“Allergy-Friendly” Caramel Cupcakes with Caramel “Buttercream” Frosting Copyright © 2010 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.