A former co-worker’s desire to enlighten and educate others brought what is known as Movember to my attention a few years ago. November is the month to bring not only education but awareness to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges for men. November or “Movember” has become a very special month to me. The most important people in my life are men; My husband, my best friend and his boyfriend, my father, my brother, my nephew, my uncles and even co-workers. Just as many bloggers do their breast cancer awareness post in honor of their mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, and any woman they love, this is my way of honoring all the men in my life by donating to a good cause to bring awareness to a subject some men might not be comfortable with talking about openly.
The donations gathered every year in the US go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Livestrong Foundation. My friend JP has a website where anyone can donate to the cause. If you so choose, follow the link and you will be able to donate but you can do so anywhere in any country across the world throughout the month. The purpose is to bring awareness, not demand donations. I want to make that clear, but I am leaving the option there if you choose to. This is about making more people aware why this month should mean so much to everyone who reads this page because we all have a father, brother, son, grandson, uncle or just a friendly neighbor who can be affected by prostate cancer or mental health issues that can go undiagnosed.
In addition to accepting donations, JP also has items that he auctions off for the cause. This year I approached him and offered to make two dozen of my (in)famous Irish Carbomb Cupcakes to auction off. My only hope is they are successful in bringing in the money for this amazing cause. JP asked for updated pictures as the ones I had made for a mustache party were out of date. That meant I got a chance to make my gluten-free chocolate cupcakes in their place and use them for pictures to send. Once it was decided to do a gluten free variation to publish for all of my readers not only was I excited but so were many co-workers. Most have tasted this recipe and constantly rave about it and look forward to more “samples.” Not one person who has tried these has realized that they were gluten-free chocolate cupcakes until I told them. That is a thing that bothers me about transitioning into gluten free baking. Why does everyone assume gluten free has to taste bad? It is a silly myth, and I am relishing in proving it wrong.
This recipe as is hugely successful on its own as a base for cupcakes, or even a small tiered cake. Of course, me being me, I needed to step the basic recipe up a bit. The addition of the amaretto ganache and amaretto buttercream, along with the just over indulgent amaretto mustache truffle were exactly what I was looking for. They were an unsurpassed hit at work, and declared by many to be the best cupcake I have ever made. As for the moustache truffles, I used melting chocolate in some moustache molds. Lightly line them with the melting chocolate then let it set in the fridge. Fill with the leftover amaretto ganache and seal with more of the melting chocolate. They are not only just so damn adorable but a nice boozy hit for the adults. To make it child-friendly, omit the amaretto or other liquor in the preparation of the ganache. You can easily convert this into a cake, either way it will be delicious. My gluten-free friends rejoice, we can have cake and eat it too!
(As a footnote, I would like to say few choice swear words to a fat little squirrel who is the reason for there not being more pictures. I took the majority of the cupcakes to work and in my haste in the morning I left the rest on the kitchen table. We had intended to take another shot of one of the four leftover cupcakes so you could see the delicate and moist crumb (but I’m sure you trust me that it’s perfect). Well, I returned home to an odd mess on the floor, a large hole in the screen for the kitchen window, cake pans on the floor, all of the cupcakes had claw marks in the frosting and portions of the cupcakes missing and the moustaches were all chewed up. This squirrel has been a repeat offender this summer whenever we leave anything out and even though the window was closed almost the entire way, this tree rat seems to have unnatural strength and managed to open the window enough to invade the kitchen yet again. *sigh*)
Disclaimer: The recipe will not state for every item to be gluten-free. Example, vanilla, baking powder, spice mixes, even some chocolates. There are some brands that do contain gluten, so please be aware we take measure to insure all items/brands we use are gluten-free. It is your responsibility in replicating the recipe for gluten free purposes to do the same and to use gluten-free versions of all applicable ingredients.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields: 12-18 Cupcakes or two 8-inch layer rounds
- 3 oz Bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 oz Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 6.5 oz Water, boiling
- 1 tbsp Espresso powder
- 4.50 oz GF Flour Sweet
- 5.25 oz Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 3 oz Neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, grapeseed, ect.)
- 2 Eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp Cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 12-18 cupcake molds with paper liners or two 8″ round cake pans.
In the bowl of your stand mixer add in the chocolate, cocoa powder, hot water, and espresso powder (optional). Mix on low until combined and smooth, all the chocolate should be melted. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and whisk to combine. In a large (two cup capacity measuring cup combine the vegetable oil, eggs, cider vinegar, and extract. Whisk to combine.
By now the chocolate mixture should be smooth and cool. Stop the mixer and add in 1/2 the flour mixture, and 1/2 the egg mixture. Continue to mix on medium speed until combined. Then continue for one minute Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides (if necessary) add in the remaining flour mixture and egg mixture, and mix on medium speed until well combined for two minutes. Scraping down the sides as necessary.
Fill prepared cupcake liners 3/4 full (one full ice cream scoop full, 4 tbsp size) and bake for 18-20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven. Leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
To assemble as pictured: Either dip the tops of the cupcakes into warm ganache and let set or if the ganache is set spread on a thin layer of the ganache, then decorate with the amaretto buttercream, and decorate as desired.
- 1/4 c Amaretto Liquor
- 6 oz Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 oz Heavy cream, boiling hot
- 2 tbsp Butter
In a bowl combine the chocolate, amaretto, and butter. Bring the cream up to a boil and pour over the chocolate mixture. Let set for 2 minutes then stir to combine into a smooth silky consistency. Let set lightly covered until thickens to desired consistency.
Italian Meringue Buttercream
I use a ratio method to make this buttercream so it is very easy to scale up or down 1:2:3 (Eggs : Sugar : Butter) all items at room temperature. This makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes.
- 2 oz Egg whites
- 4 oz Sugar
- 6 oz Butter
Place the bowl of your stand mixer on a scale and weigh out the egg whites. Set a timer for 7 minutes. Place a a small sauce pan (1.5 QT) on a scale and weigh in the sugar and liquid use 25% of the weight of sugar in liquid, typically water. (I used amaretto in place of the water, but in this step you can also add food coloring or other liquid flavoring like vanilla).
Place the small sauce pan on the stove and turn on to medium high heat and start your timer. Stir to get the liquid absorbed into the sugar and start the syrup process.
After 5 minutes have passed, turn on the egg whites to medium high speed. When the timer goes off, turn the stove off. Turn the mixer down to a medium-low and slowly very carefully pour the syrup into the egg whites. Once all the syrup is poured in allow the mixture to keep whisking until the bowl is cool to the touch, this can take 15-20 minutes.
Once the bowl is cool to the touch, and the egg whites have formed stiff peaks, slowly add in the butter. Once all the butter is added the mixture will look soupy or curdled. This is ok, keep whisking. Once the mixture comes together use immediately or store for 1-2 weeks in air tight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and whisk before using stored frosting.