Mediterranean Yogurt Cupcakes

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According to Dorie Greenspan (and confirmed by a French friend of mine), the French all know how to bake yogurt cake.  In fact, my friend tells me that because it’s so easy to make, little kids will learn the recipe and bring it to school and birthday parties.  The gluten-free version turns out well, as it is dense and similar to pound cakes.  The cupcakes even dome nicely on top.

 

Baking Notes:

  • If you want to halve the recipe, use 2 eggs.
  • I turned the batter into cupcakes because I needed something easy to carry around and snack on, but the original recipe gives directions for a loaf cake.  Although I haven’t tried making the loaf cake version with gluten-free flour, I doubt that you’d need to change the baking time.  I’d start with the recommended 50-60 minutes and add a few minutes if necessary.

Original recipe

 

Mediterranean Yogurt Cupcakes
Adapted from Everyday Dorie

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 cuties/clementines
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat or nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour OR 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cups.
  2. Put the sugar and zest in a mixing bowl.  Use your clean fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is aromatic and moist.  (This step is fun, almost like playing in a sandbox!)
  3. Add yogurt, eggs, and vanilla into the zest and sugar.  Whisk until mixture is very well blended.
  4. Whisk in baking powder and salt.
  5. Add flour(s), whisking less vigorously than before.
  6. Once there’s no trace of dry ingredients, switch to a flexible spatula and stir in the oil; do that in a few additions. You should have a smooth, shiny batter.
  7. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes are a beautiful pale yellow and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes and cool them to room temperature on the rack.
  10. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
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Citrus Chiffon Cake

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Because chiffon cakes rely on egg whites rather than gluten to rise, they work like a dream even when gluten free.  This citrus chiffon cake is light and fluffy and tastes like you made it with ordinary cake flour.

Baking Notes:

  • Use fresh eggs, because the egg whites will fluff up more when beaten.
  • Separate the eggs when cold, then allow the whites to come to room temperature before beating them.
  • The original recipe calls for Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour, but I used the Trader Joe’s variety and it worked great.
  • The citrus flavor of the cake is subtle, so either use the marmalade filling or eat the cake plain.  Only frosting with whipped cream will wash out the cake’s citrus flavor and make the whole thing taste plain.
  • The gluten-free cake dries out fast compared to regular cake, so if you won’t finish eating it the day it’s made, you should definitely frost it with whipped cream to keep it moist.

Original recipe (for a plain chiffon cake)

Citrus Chiffon Cake
Adapted from Bob’s Red Mill

Yield: 8″ three-layer cake + 1 extra layer to eat yourself OR 10″ tube pan cake

For the cake:

  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as canola
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons grated citrus zest (lemon, orange, cutie/clementine…)

For the whipped cream frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup marmalade
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and set aside two 8″ round baking pans OR 10″ tube pan OR angel food pan.  If using round cake pans, line them with aluminum foil to make cake removal easier.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup sugar.  Set aside.
  3. In a clean large bowl, beat yolks, milk, oil, vanilla extract, and zest until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to yolk mixture and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes with an electric mixer.
  5. In a separate large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites with 1/2 cup sugar and cream of tartar until stiff and glossy.
  6. Add a large scoop of the whipped egg whites to the cake batter and mix gently but thoroughly to lighten the batter.
  7. Add the remaining egg whites in 3 additions.  Gently fold into the batter using a large wire whisk, making sure to scrape down the bottom of the bowl frequently.
  8. Divide batter between pans and gently smooth tops with a rubber spatula.
  9. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes without opening the oven door during this time. Increase heat to 350°F and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or when the surface springs back immediately after pressing on it with a finger.
  10. As soon as you remove cakes from oven, lay 2 thick wooden spoon handles (or chopsticks) across the top of each pan and place a shallow bowl upside down on top of the handles/chopsticks.  Invert each arrangement and cool cakes completely upside down.  This step is important, because otherwise the cakes will sink.  It looks like this:
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  11. Unmold cakes carefully, because they are fragile, and slice each in half horizontally.  Use the 3 nicest layers for the cake, and save the 4th to eat yourself.  (The cake tastes just as good plain.  Alternatively, you could make a really tall four-layer cake, or 2 two-layer cakes.)
  12. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat together heavy cream and powdered sugar until whipped cream holds stiff peaks.
  13. Scoop 1 1/2-2 cups frosting into a small bowl, and fold in 1/3 cup marmalade to make the filling.
  14. Place one cake layer cut side down on a serving plate and spread with 1/2 of the filling.  Top with the second layer cut side down and spread with the rest of the filling.  Top with the third layer, cut side up.
  15. Frost first the sides and then the top of the cake with remaining whipped cream.
  16. Refrigerate the cake if you’re not serving it the same day.

Chocolate Citrus Shortbread Cookies

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Since some of my family and friends who don’t have food allergies are also trying recipes from here, from now on I’ll include the baking times and any special instructions for normal baking too.  There isn’t much difference between the two versions because I deliberately pick recipes that don’t require much change.

For these cookies, you can use whatever citrus fruit you have on hand!  Oranges, lemons, they’re all fine.

This recipe comes from Simply Recipes:
Original Simply Recipes recipe

 

Chocolate Citrus Shortbread Cookies
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

Yield: 30 cookies

  • 1 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (11 is also fine if that’s what you happen to have…)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of citrus zest (or if you love citrus flavor, just use zest from the entire orange/lemon)

1.  Preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Or, if you’re like my tipsy friend, with both!
2.  Beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a mixer for 5 minutes.
3.  Mix in the vanilla and citrus zest.
4.  Mix in salt.  Stir in the flour and cocoa powder, then beat for 2 minutes.  The dough will be somewhat soft and sticky.  If it’s too hard to work with, you can put it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
5.  If you’re feeling fancy, you can roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thickness and use cookie cutters to make nice shapes.  I’m lazy, so I just shaped the dough into 1-inch balls and squashed them into circles.  Regardless of how you get cookies, space them 1 inch apart on the baking sheets.
6.  Bake for 15-20 minutes if gluten-free OR 13-15 minutes if not.  The cookies are done when the sides are slightly firm but still have some give when nudged with a fork.  The center will be soft if poked, but the cookies will firm up as they cool.