New Cookbook from Elana Amsterdam: Gluten-Free Cupcakes

My dear friend Elana Amsterdam’s new cookbook, Gluten-Free Cupcakes:  50 Irresistible Cupcakes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour, arrived Friday (courtesy of Elana and 10 Speed Press). Yes, 50 cupcake recipes! Cupcakes that run the gamut from seemingly simple (like a Vanilla or Vegan Chocolate Cupcake) to decadent, like German Chocolate Cupcakes. There are even savory cupcakes, aka muffins, like Scallion Goat Cheese Muffins. And irresistible is right! I haven’t had a cupcake since going gluten free and I already have several other great cookbooks in my queue for review. Yet I couldn’t resist dropping everything and making cupcakes.

After reading Elana’s introduction and comprehensive section on equipment, ingredients, measuring, and more, I flipped through the recipes one by one. So many gorgeous cupcakes, but it was the lovely chocolate and vanilla swirls of the Marble Cupcakes that caught my eye. The photo showed them frosted or unfrosted. Elana reports that one of her sons like them without frosting; the other likes them with frosting. I went for the no-frosting option and was perfectly happy with the results. Even Mr. GFE happily indulged, although with Elana’s cupcakes, indulgence is a relative thing. Ingredients are healthier choices like almond flour, coconut flour, eggs, grapeseed oil, cocoa powder, coconut milk, fruit, nuts, and agave nectar. I used our bees’ honey instead of agave nectar to make these beautiful marble cupcakes—a delightful mix of vanilla and chocolate goodness. Note that the bright orange yolks from my friends’ free-range chickens actually made the vanilla batter a yellow-orange when I made this recipe, which makes these look like Halloween cupcakes!

Eating gluten-free cupcakes again is “a good news story.”  Even better news? Right now, pre-release (the release date is April 26), Elana’s book is priced at an unbelievable $9 on Amazon. If you click here on First Pages (be sure to page through to the end), you can read the first pages of Elana’s book, and you’ll actually see her recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes. Talk about a preview with a bonus! Check it all out here and pre-order if you like.

Update:  Elana and 10 Speed Press have graciously allowed me to share this recipe with my gfe readers—woohoo! You can also see the gorgeous photo from her Gluten-Free Cupcakes cookbook, which shows both the frosted and unfrosted versions.

Photo courtesy of Elana Amsterdam and 10 Speed Press

Elana’s Marble Cupcakes
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.) 

Makes 8 cupcakes. Sweetness: Medium 

Vanilla Batter 

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/3 cup agave nectar 

Chocolate Batter 

2 tablespoons coconut flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1/4 cup agave nectar 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners. 

To make the vanilla batter, in a large bowl, combine the coconut flour and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil, and agave nectar. Stir the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture with a large spoon until thoroughly combined. 

To make the chocolate batter, in a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil, and agave nectar. Stir the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture with a large spoon until thoroughly combined. 

Fill each prepared muffin cup with 4 tablespoons of batter, alternating tablespoons of chocolate and vanilla, starting with chocolate batter and ending with vanilla. Use a toothpick to swirl the batter in figure eights. 

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 hour, then frost and serve. 

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Makes 1 1/4 cups Sweetness: High

Who would guess that this super-rich and thick chocolate frosting is vegan? Frost over everything, or simply eat it with a spoon, like I do. 

6 ounces dark chocolate chips (73% cacao) (about 1 heaping cup)

1/2 cup Spectrum all-vegetable shortening

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

Pinch of sea salt 

In a medium saucepan over very low heat, melt the chocolate until smooth. Allow the pan to stand on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes to cool the chocolate to room temperature.

Blend in the shortening with a handheld mixer, then blend in the agave nectar, vanilla extract, water, and salt until smooth. Place the saucepan in the refrigerator for 3 to 8 minutes, until the frosting becomes spreadable.

If the frosting becomes too stiff to work with, reheat the pan ever so briefly over very low heat and stir until the frosting is softened.  If the frosting is too runny, place it back in the refrigerator until it firms up.

Use immediately or store in a glass Mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Recipes reprinted courtesy of Elana Amsterdam and 10 Speed Press. 

Not just gf, but gfe!

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35 Responses to “New Cookbook from Elana Amsterdam: Gluten-Free Cupcakes”

  1. Karen@Cook4Seasons on April 11th, 2011 12:18 pm

    Yippee! Elana is indulging us with yet another compilation of tasty treats which are not only delicious, but actually good for you:) Can’t wait to try some of the recipes…in due time. On a spring cleanse right now, but I see my just desserts!

    • Shirley on April 12th, 2011 11:43 pm

      Hi Karen–Elana treats us so well, doesn’t she? Pun intended! Seriously, I love making her healthy recipes! These were so very good. :-) Just FYI, when you’re done with your spring cleanse, if you don’t have Elana’s book on hand by then, come back to this post to get the recipe as I got permission to add the recipe for the cupcakes and the frosting, plus a photo from the book. Enjoy!


  2. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on April 11th, 2011 12:31 pm

    I can attest that this is one of my favorite cookbooks yet. My kids have already put sticky notes on all of the ones that they want me to make (I think more of the book is tagged now than not). What a great review Shirley! And your cupcakes look beautiful!!

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:06 am

      Kim–I love the idea of your kids going through Elana’s book and flagging the recipes they want to make! Another great way to get kids excited about real food. I still remember how your big guy helped you make your version of Elana’s chocolate chip cookies. That was so sweet and they were so good. Cookies made with a little helper always taste a little sweeter! ;-)

      Thanks, dear! I don’t think you can go wrong with the marble cupcakes … unless you make the classic vanilla … or the strawberry … or the lime …

  3. cheryl on April 11th, 2011 1:53 pm

    That looks simply fantastic (both the cupcake and the book!!( I am looking forward to it, and appreciate the review.

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:30 am

      Hi Cheryl–I know … don’t they now? ;-) They were! Thanks, Cheryl! I know you’ll love Elana’s book. :-)


  4. Zoe on April 11th, 2011 2:41 pm

    They look lovely, Shirley! I looked through the Amazon preview, although I didn’t see any recipe for vanilla cupcakes. (Maybe it’s because I didn’t sign in?) Anyway, I have requested this book at my library and am waiting for it to come in; it’s on order. Unless I enter a giveaway, well, then I might get it sooner! ;)

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:34 am

      Hey Zoe–Thanks so much! You don’t have to logged in to Amazon, but you do have to keep paging through until the end for the vanilla cupcakes recipe after you click on First Pages well below the book description. I admit that it’s tricky. Just so you know, after the post went out, I got permission to add the recipe for the cupcakes and the frosting, and now there’s a photo from Elana’s book, too. :-) So you can have a proper preview now! Enjoy! Good luck on giveaways, too! ;-)


  5. Debi on April 11th, 2011 3:50 pm

    Now I want to drop everything and make cupcakes! If only I had space in my kitchen to add that to what I have going on right now. *sigh* Another day…

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:36 am

      Hey Debi–Well, did you do it? Drop everything? Or did you resist? I must say you’ve been pretty busy of late … blogging like a mad woman! Love it! :-) Not sure if you saw that I added the recipes for the cupcake and the frosting, courtesy of Elana and 10 Speed Press. Oh, and there’s a super gorgeous photo, too!


  6. Kay Guest on April 11th, 2011 3:53 pm

    What beautiful, beautiful cupcakes! I bet they taste as good as they look. Thanks for getting the recipe for us and thanks to those who allowed it!!! Sigh, wouldn’t the world be a better place with more cupcakes? Here’s a great t-shirt: All you need is love, but a little chocolate doesn’t hurt!
    Kay Guest :-) “Swirl in figure eights” Boy Howdy, that sounds like fun!!

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:38 am

      Hi Kay–They are beautiful and easy—my favorite combo as you know! ;-) So I’m very grateful to Elana for the preview of her book and the recipes and photo to share! :-) I like your t-shirt idea, dear. Sounds like you could make a small fortune with it. Need any investors?

      Thanks so much for being a gfe supporter day in and day out! xo,

  7. Diane-thewholegang on April 11th, 2011 5:35 pm

    OH man, those look amazing. Now I want some right now. How long does it take to make these?

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:39 am

      Hey Diane–Only 20 minutes and you’ll be in the heaven between chocolate and vanilla—truly the best of both worlds! :-)


  8. Gigi on April 12th, 2011 12:07 am

    These are so pretty! I love when recipes from a cookbook or blog are easy to replicate.

    I know the unfrosted marble cupcakes will be a favorite with my girls…they actually prefer no frosting on most cakes/cupcakes. I’ll just take the frosting, thank you! ;0)

    Your review did justice to the beautiful, healthy food that Elana makes!


    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:41 am

      Hi Gigi–Thank you! Sounds like you’ll be making both versions, just like Elana serves to her boys. That’s a good deal for sure! :-)

      Still loving your epic series! Hugs,

  9. Ellen @Gluten Free Diva on April 12th, 2011 12:25 am

    Shirley – we are twins! We both made and blogged about the same Marble Cupcakes from Elana’s new cookbook. Weren’t they fun to make? I especially loved swirling them with the toothpick. And you are so darn right about how healthy they are – you can’t feel guilty eating cupcakes that are made with such healthy ingredients, that’s for sure. Great review!

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:43 am

      Hi Ellen–They were so much fun to make! I liked the dolloping and the swirling parts. ;-) Thanks for telling me not to feel guilty. I ate more than my share of those marble babies. Guilt is a wasted emotion anyway, right?

      Thanks, dear! Loved your review, too. :-)

  10. Alisa Fleming on April 12th, 2011 12:53 am

    Wow Shirley, those came out amazing! I’m so eager to try some of these cupcakes once we get settled. I’ve got some bags of coconut flour waiting!

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:44 am

      Thanks so much, Alisa! I’m pretty proud of how they turned out. Elana makes us all looks so good, doesn’t she? ;-) Can’t wait to make these for Easter dinner which I’m hosting!


  11. InTolerantChef on April 12th, 2011 6:29 am

    I must have this book! I might buy extras for my friends so they have no excuse for just giving me a piece of fruit for dessert anymore.

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:47 am

      Hey InTolerantChef!–I agree … you MUST have this book! And I love our logic … yep, it’s important to teach others how to feed us … well and safely. Fruit is great at home for a snack. Not so much fun for dessert when others are eating the good stuff (albeit gluten-full … uggg … don’t need that). This cookbook would help all of you! Such a bargain, too. :-)


  12. InTolerantChef on April 12th, 2011 6:00 pm

    Just ordered it from Amazon!

  13. Maggie on April 12th, 2011 8:48 pm

    These look great Shirley! Lucky you to have an advanced copy, and lucky Mr. GFE to have you to bake them! I can’t believe you hadn’t had a cupcake since going GF. Now you’ll never go back :)

    • Shirley on April 13th, 2011 12:49 am

      Hi Maggie–Yep, I am very lucky indeed! Okay, a bit of a confession … Mr. GFE didn’t get many of these. That’s as much of a confession as I’m making. LOL I haven’t really missed cupcakes so no need to bake them. That will all change now with this recipe and the rest in Elana’s book. :-) So you’re right … I’m not going back to my cupcake-less life. ;-)


  14. nicola @ gfreemom on April 14th, 2011 2:05 am

    How funny. I’d never made cupcakes until C was declared gluten-free. My first – and very successful attempt – was using one of Elana’s recipes. I’m looking forward to the book. Thanks for this great review!

    • Shirley on April 14th, 2011 11:06 pm

      Hi Nicola–I guess there are cupcake families and non-cupcake families. It seesm like Elana and her new cookbook will have everyone “crossing over.” ;-)

      Thanks, dear!

  15. Mary on January 3rd, 2012 11:44 am

    These look great! Any suggestions on brands for the dark chocolate chips? I usually buy Enjoy Life chocolate chips, but they aren’t 73% cacao.

    Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • Shirley on January 3rd, 2012 6:40 pm

      Hi Mary–They are delicious! Elana is a genius with almond and coconut flour recipes. :-) This recipe is hers, so I can only go by what she has used in the past on her blog for dark chocolate 73% chocolate “chips” and that was Dagoba Organic Chocolate Drops I believe. You can see them here at Amazon: Another idea would be to simply use a favorite dark chocolate bar with the percentage cacao that you want and break it into pieces. Since you are melting the chocolate anyway, that would work just fine. Of course, any frosting of your choice would be fine. I have never frosted these before because I think they are grand on their own, but Son (the “birthday boy”) did ask about frosting today. ;-)

      Enjoy however you decide to make them! Hugs,

  16. Marcie Peterson on May 7th, 2012 7:40 pm

    I would love if you would add this cupcake link to my Fabulous Cupcakes linky list. It is on the left hand column on my site. These look so good I am going to have to try them. Thanks, Marcie

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