Black Forest Cupcakes (Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free)

February 01, 2015

It was my sister's birthday on Friday and she asked me to come up with a grain and dairy free black forest cake recipe as a present. She eats some grains, but I think avoids dairy for the most part. I can't remember a year when she didn't want black forest cake, but I think this is the first time our mom didn't make her a regular butter-flour-sugar version. I was a little nervous about making a full size cake grain-free, so I didn't. Cupcakes are both convenient and adorable. Honestly, I was skeptical of these at first, but they're so good. Even if you do eat grains and gluten, you'll like these. Everyone who ate them thought they were the cat's pyjamas.

think these might be considered palaeo, but I don't have a solid understanding of how that diet works. It seems weird to me. I don't think people really know what a Palaeolithic diet consisted of when they decide to eat that way - and if you're going for a more hunter-gatherer based diet, it's pretty important to note that the majority of successful hunter gatherer societies subsisted on 70-80% vegetable matter and the majority of their protein came from plants (I'm looking at you, nuts). Meat heavy diets, like in the far north or even the northern prairies of North America, tended to result in poor nutrition, short lifespans, and really awful teeth. Most of the Palaeolithic skulls I've seen from those areas have teeth like little nubs, if they're still there. Chewing meat properly is pretty hard on teeth, because human teeth evolved to grind veggies. Bonus, it's a lot easier to get food that doesn't try to run away from you. Plants are nice that way.

I love the way black forest cake looks. It's so dramatic. Black forest cake is like the pre-teen goth girl of cakes (you know, both dark and full of drama).

These little buddies are very chocolatey and rich but not too sweet. They have almost a creamy texture, but still taste like cupcakes. I don't know. Obviously they're not going to be the same as cupcakes made with white flour and sugar, but even without the topping, they're definitely little cakes. I think it's because they're pretty high in fat. Healthy fat! Still, though, too much of any fat isn't healthy. Maybe don't make these every day.

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1/2 cup coconut flour
6 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup honey
1 large banana, mashed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line or grease a muffin tin.

Sift the coconut flour, cacao, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. It's important to sift it to break up the lumps that often form in coconut flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs well for about a minute or until very frothy. Combine the olive oil, coconut milk, honey, banana, vanilla, and vinegar, and then add this to the eggs. Keep whisking as you add the oil mixture.

Add the liquids to the coconut flour mix and whisk well. Scoop even amount of the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 22-24 minutes at 350F/180C. They will rise significantly and then fall slightly, but don't worry. Cool fully before topping with the cream.

Coconut Whipped Cream:
2 cans full-fat coconut milk (400 ml/can)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Chill the cans in the fridge upside down overnight beforehand. It's best to stick the bowl and the mixing attachment in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes before you start whipping too.

Open the cans, scoop out the hard white part, and add it to a large bowl. Reserve the remaining liquid for something else. Add the maple syrup and vanilla. Whip at a high speed for about five minutes, or until peaks form.

Serve the cupcakes with a scoop of whipped cream and a few cherries. I used regular jarred sour cherries, which you should be able to find in most good supermarkets. Please don't use maraschino cherries for black forest cake.

1. I chose olive oil instead of coconut because the cupcakes need to be refrigerated once topped with the coconut cream. They don't get as dense in the fridge with olive oil. You can substitute coconut if you plan on eating them immediately.

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