Yesterday was my dear husband’s birthday, and you know what that means, right? CAKE! Cupcakes, this time around. He’s watching his calories, so I figured a small batch of cupcakes fit the bill. You know how it is: if the sweets are there, they get eaten. If we finish it up quickly, there’s no temptation! Definitely the way to go, even if it means fewer tasty treats.
Josh’s absolute favorite is his mom’s Italian cream cake, and it’s the kind of recipe that will never taste as good as her version did. It doesn’t matter that I follow the exact recipe… it’s not her cake. I’ve made peace with that, and a few years ago kind of gave up trying to get it right. Instead, I decided to come up with a gluten-free, dairy-free rendition, and have been working to get as close as possible to the original flavors and textures. It’s almost there! This year’s cake was slightly less calorie-laden than usual. Even though it was his birthday, Josh didn’t want to let things get too far beyond his calorie goals. Unsweetened applesauce subbed out for half of the oil worked very well, and I used unsweetened, shredded coconut instead of Angel Flake. I think the cupcakes would have been more moist, had the coconut not been so dry; I need to see what I can tweak to remedy that. The cupcakes weren’t dry; they just weren’t quite as moist as Josh remembers the original cake. I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese in lieu of regular cream cheese for the frosting- it works very well! That’s exciting stuff, since Josh can’t do much dairy these days. I put sweetened coconut in the frosting, and that’s a departure from the recipe. The texture is nice, but it will probably get left out next time - the frosting just seemed overly sweet (and that did not help the calorie count!).
Beverly’s Italian Cream Cake, GF/CF:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup GF oat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut flavoring
1 tsp butter flavoring
optional: 1/2 cup coconut shreds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Position rack in the center of the oven. Put liners in the cupcake tins. Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl at medium speed for about a minute. Add flour, salt, baking powder, guar gum, oil, applesauce, milk, vanilla, coconut & butter flavorings. Beat again at medium speed, for about a minute. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling the about 3/4 full. Bake in center of oven for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on baking rack, then remove from tin to cool further. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
GF/CF Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8oz tub of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 tsp butter flavoring
2-1/2 tsp vanilla
16 oz powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
optional: 1/2 cup coconut shreds
Beat cream cheese, margarine, vanilla, and butter flavoring at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar, beating at low speed til blended, then beat at high speed until smooth. Stir in nuts.
Try not to eat them all at once. Even with the slight calorie savings, these are rich! YUM.
There’s a three-day weekend ahead- I just realized yesterday that the kids don’t have school Monday. Wahooo! Does anyone else have Monday off? I’m not even sure if Josh has the day off… I should check on that.
Happy weekend, all!