Allergy Free Strawberry Cupcakes for Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day falls on May 13th this year, which also happens to be my mother’s birthday. So I thought it only fitting to post this recipe for my mother, Susanna, for Mother’s Day, and her birthday (goes along with this two week virtual birthday party I’m throwing here on my site).

Here is a picture of my mother, me, my brothers Dylan and Jude, and my cousin Ila (mother of the little blond girl you see eating cupcakes in the sidebar to your right). I’m the one in the strawberry hat, obviously.

Strawberries hold a very dear place in our family. My grandmother Catherene had a strawberry patch. Really, more of a strawberry field. We all lived together; grandparents and sometimes cousin, and I have very fond memories of picking strawberries with my family, to concoct into an endless array of delicious creations. The strawberry patch was a magical place, where I’d sit for hours, picking, and of course eating one berry for every one that made it whole into the basket. Our strawberry patch was like something out of a Beatrix Potter book, complete with bunnies hiding under the large awning of the rhubarb plants that surrounded the field. We made strawberry rhubarb pie, strawberry ice cream (see birthday recipes), strawberry compote, strawberry jam, strawberries with mint, Marsala, lime, and honey, strawberry shortcake, strawberry pancakes, and I remember many an afternoon, sitting with my mother on the screen porch, paring strawberries to eat sprinkled with just a little sugar. We ate strawberries in a myriad of ways — but I don’t think we ever made strawberry cake or cupcakes. I can’t imagine why not. Strawberry cupcakes are to-die-for. The fresh strawberry puree in the frosting takes buttercream to a whole new level. This frosting, strait from the berry patch is bursting with sweet berry flavor. So mom, these Allergy-Free Strawberry Cupcakes are for you. I’ve found a new way to feature our favorite family fruit. And I’ve made them safe for as many people as possible. Because I think just about everybody loves a strawberry.

With strawberry season in full swing, local farmer’s markets are overflowing with these sweet little beauties. Take advantage of their cheaper price tag, and bake strawberries into all your favorite treats. Brimming with vitamin C and fiber, strawberries make these lovely cupcakes almost a health food! So pretty in pink, these gems are great for Mother’s Day, birthdays, class parties, or an afternoon tea. And don’t forget your Memorial Day barbecue, they are perfect for that too. Don’t they look like they must be bad for you? Nope, 100% natural, gluten-free, vegan, and free of all top food allergens.  Now, that’s a berry special treat.

Allergy-Free Strawberry Cupcakes

(Gluten-free, Vegan, Nut-free)

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup rice milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
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
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 3 Tablespoons rice milk
1 recipe Allergy-Free Strawberry Frosting (recipe follows)
12 small strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.

2. Puree strawberries in blender, until reduced to 1/2 cup liquid. Add a few more strawberries if necessary.
3. Combine 1/2 cup strawberry puree with 1/4 cup rice milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
4. 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.
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine vegetable shortening and granulated sugar. Mix on medium speed 2 minutes.
6. Add egg replacer to bowl of stand mixer. Mix on medium speed 1 minute more.

7. Using a sifter, sift in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with strawberry mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing until combined, about 30 seconds. Once batter is smooth, spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each liner, filling the liners about three-quarters full. Do not overfill the liners, or they will rise too high.
8. Bake in the center of the oven 20 minutes until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, and cupcakes are a lovely berry color. The cupcakes won’t be pink, they bake up more berry blue. (The frosting is pink!)
9. Remove from oven and transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to let cool completely before frosting. Either pipe frosting or use a frosting spatula to spread it. Top each cupcake with a strawberry.

Allergy-Free Strawberry Frosting

Makes enough for 12 Cupcakes

1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening
pinch of salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Puree strawberries in blender. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream shortening and pinch of salt on medium speed, about 2 minutes.

3. Add confectioners sugar in three batches, beating after each addition. Add 3 Tablespoons of the strawberry puree, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Allergy-Free Strawberry Cupcakes  ©2011 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 atWhole 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.