Healthy Hostess Cupcakes from BabyCakes

>> Monday, May 24, 2010

On a recent trip to New York City, a visit to the famous BabyCakes bakery was on the itinerary, but we just ran out of time. Their first cookbook is BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery. Erin McKenna has figured out how to bake, and bake fabulously, without our most common baking building blocks. Her positive attitude is a relief and an inspiration to those of us working through our own food restrictions.


The ingredient list may induce anxiety or may just cause you to dash off to the market to try a new way of baking.

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup garbanzo-fava bean flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups agave nectar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot water
  • vanilla and chocolate frosting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, potato starch, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Stir until you have a thick batter. Pour in the hot water and continue mixing until the batter is smooth.

Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it. Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 24 minutes, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 14 minutes. The finished cupcakes will bounce back when pressure is applied gently to the center, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

Let the cupcakes stand in the tins for 20 minutes (oops, I forgot this step!), then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely. Cut each cupcake horizontally in the center. Using a frosting knife, spread 1 tablespoon vanilla frosting on the bottom layer and set the top of the cupcake back on it. Frost the top of the cupcake with another tablespoon of frosting and then fill a pastry bag with chocolate frosting and pipe chocolate curlicues onto each cupcake.

You may choose to reverse it and decorate each cupcake with chocolate frosting and white curlicues, like the traditional Hostess cupcakes. Have fun and experiment! I replaced the garbanzo-fava bean flour with white flour and the coconut oil with canola oil and achieved happy results. Make it your own.

BabyCakes has frosting recipes if you are looking for vegan options. It is truly an amazing book with tons of ideas for treats that you won't leave you feeling sick after indulging.

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