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Inspired both by Galentine’s Day from Parks and Rec and The Great British Baking Show (PBS in the U.S., BBC in U.K.) my roommate and I decided to invite our friends over for a whole day of baking cupcakes from scratch. Ahem, excuse me. Gluten-free, vegan cupcakes from scratch. Neither of us had experience with GF, V cupcake baking, so I spent the previous day looking up various recipes from which to glean. We then tweaked them with our own fillings and toppings, etc. and ended up making 36 delicious cupcakes! The first batch was delicious in flavor, but texturally failed (they sank. I’ll explain why below). With Pictures! :)

First batch: Lemon and Raspberry swirl cakes with Raspberry Whipped Cream frosting. We made a lemon cake batter with lemon zest and extract, then added a raspberry reduction/compote. This turned out to be a mistake because it was too heavy and wet for the bater which ended up sinking in the middle. NOT TO WASTE THOUGH, we quickly decided to happily fill the void with our yummy tart and sweet raspberry frosting. YUM. A great mix of tangy and sweet!

Lemon Raspberry Swirl with Raspberry frosting

Lemon Raspberry Swirl with Raspberry frosting

Second Batch: Chocolatey cupcakes with a Dark Chocolate Ganache topping and a light Lemon Creme filling/frosting. The consistency and rise on these chocolate cakes was divine. Perfect really. With no sauce in the batter holding it back. mmm. Put lemon zest and extract in a whipped coconut frosting and injected half the batch with it and saved the rest for the other half as a frosting topping. Then we dipped them into our dark chocolate ganache. Finally, for the ones we didn’t fill with the lemon creme, we added the frosting on top. YUM! Seriously my favorite. And BONUS — the ones with the filling in the middle tasted just like Hostess chocolate cupcakes. I haven’t had one of those in a while, but it sure reminded me of them when I bit in (the lemon was not very pronounced and must have canceled out with the mild coconut flavor).

Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, lemon frosting

Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, lemon frosting

Final Batch: Strawberry Champagne cupcakes with Strawberry gel beneath a Champagne “buttercream” frosting. These were just okay. The batter didn’t pick up much of the flavor of either strawberries or champagne (we were afraid there would be too much liquid, via the first batch), so they were a bit bland. The strawberry gel was delicious though and the whipped cream was super good. The next day they tasted better, probably because the flavor from the toppings seeped into the cake more and it became pretty darn yumm.

Strawberry champagne cakes with strawberry gel and champagne frosting.

Strawberry champagne cakes with strawberry gel and champagne frosting.

Overall, I’m super happy with the results!! More than anything we had fun, and our guests did most all the cleaning!! SWEET! I learned a lot from each batch and I have a new found super friend in coconut milk (the canned kind, which, when chilled in a fridge overnight can become a wonderful whipped everything).

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Just like a Hostess! ;P

Just like a Hostess! ;P

Strawberry Champagne cakes with Strawberry gel and Champagne frosting

Strawberry Champagne cakes with Strawberry gel and Champagne frosting

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