These soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with a delicate pale blue buttercream, chocolate flakes and Cadbury’s mini eggs make the perfect little Easter treat. Spring is in full bloom and as Easter fast approaches, it’s time to plan those Easter weekend treats, and these cupcakes make the perfect addition to any Easter menu. Take a look at my super simple coeliac-friendly recipe below for cupcakes that you won’t believe are gluten-free!
If you’re going to bake any cupcakes this Easter, then it’s got to be the classic robin’s egg nest variety. Not only are they ridiculously simple to whip up, they taste utterly delicious and look devine! You don’t need to be an expert for these, as I’ll explain in the recipe below.
How do you make these cupcakes?
So, how are easy are these cupcakes to whip up. Well, we start off by creaming the margarine and sugar together in a mixer until thoroughly combined and a light and fluffy texture has been achieved. It is imperative that the maragrine, even though always softer than butter to start off with, is at room temperature for this, so that the ingredients are incorporated into the batter correctly. Once finished with the creaming method, the eggs are whisked in one at a time until a gloopy mixture forms. Be careful not to overmix here but we do want them to be whisked in completely! The bourbon vanilla extract is added next and mixed in too. In a separate bowl, the flour, salt, Xanthan Gum and baking powder is sifted together and then slowly added to the wet ingredients and mixed in until just incorporated. We don’t want to overmix and lose those nice air bubbles that we’ve achieved in the previous whisking. The mixture is then scooped into 12 cupcake cases (or 6 if you’ve chosen to do a small batch) and baked at 160 degrees in a fan assisted oven for around 20-25 minutes, until slightly golden and springy to the touch. After cooling, the buttercream is whipped up and piped on, before being topped with chocolate flakes and mini eggs.
What equipment do I need for these cupcakess?
- 12-hole cupcake baking tray
- 12 or 6 large cupcake cases – I actually use muffin cases (50 x 44mm) because you can really fill them up and have some decent sized cupcakes at the end
- Piping bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Wilton 1M)
What ingredients do I need?
Sugar – White caster sugar adds structure and sweetness to these cupcakes and helps to keep them white during the baking process.
Eggs – Eggs are needed to add structure to the cupcakes and to help them to rise in the baking process, room temperature is essential
Margarine – Margarine works wonders in plain vanilla cupcakes, hence why I’d recommend sticking to a margarine spread like Stork rather than a butter. Unsalted butter can be used at room temperature but you won’t get a super light and fluffy cupcake like you would with margarine
Butter – Unsalted butter is needed for the buttercream and it is essential that it is softened to room temperature beforehand
Gluten-free flour – A gluten-free flour blend which contains a variety of flours is perfect for gluten-free baking. This ensures the cupcakes contain all of the necessary components needed to create the perfect crumb which a gluten-containing flour would naturally contain. For these cupcakes I like to use a self-raising flour such as Dove’s Farm or Schär- Cake and Cookie Mix C
Xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is essential for most gluten free recipes and there’s no exceptions here. Doves Farm is my preferred choice but you can use any brand. Xanthan Gum is a gluten replacement for gluten-free baking and helps to replace the lost elasticity that gluten provides, keeping your cupcakes together and stopping them from crumbling into dry pieces later on
Baking powder – Baking powder acts as a leavening agent, helping the cupcakes to rise. Any baking powder will work, just again, check that it is definitely gluten-free as not all brands are.
Salt – A pinch of salt in a recipe enhances the flavours of the other ingredients and offsets the sweetness of the cupcakes. I like to add a pinch of salt to the buttercream too, sounds strange, but trust me, it works!
Double cream – Cream makes the buttercream even creamier! Milk can also be used if you don’t have any cream
Bourbon vanilla extract – A few drops of vanilla extract enhances the flavour of the cupcakes. Vanilla paste can be used too or vanilla from a vanilla pod. I prefer to use a clear liquid extract for this recipe in order to avoid adding any unnecessary yellow tinges to the mixture.
Cadbury’s min eggs – Mini eggs are placed on top of the buttercream to create a cute egg nest. You might be wondering if Cadbury’s mini eggs are gluten-free? Well, it doesn’t specifically state on the packaging that they are, however there are no gluten-containing ingredients in the list of ingredients on the back. Check with the manufacturer if you want to be extra careful about factory contamination.
Chocolate – Some dark or milk chocolate is grated onto the buttercream to create a speckled illusion, chocolate flakes can also be used
Icing sugar – Icing sugar or confectioner’s sugar adds the sweetness and structure to the buttercream. It helps the buttercream to set once you’ve piped it into beautiful swirls on your cupcakes
Tips & Tricks
Room temperature ingredients are essential for this recipe to work. Room temperature ingredients ensures that they all can be mixed together thoroughly. If you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge beforehand, place them in a bowl of lukewarm, not hot, water 15 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature quickly.
Uniform-sized cupcakes – I like to use an ice cream scoop to spoon my mixture into the cases. This way the cupcakes are likely to have a more uniform size after baking.
The toothpick test is a great way to check whether your cupcakes are done. As all ovens are calibrated differently, the baking times stated are always suggested a a rough guide. To check if the cupcakes are done, insert a tootpick into the middle of a cupcake and if it comes out with no crumbs stuck to it, you can assume that the cupcakes are baked through and ready to come out.
Robin’s Egg Easter Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- 230 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- 230 g caster sugar
- 230 g margarine room temperature
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum
For the buttercream
- 250 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 350 g icing sugar sifted
- 2 tbsp double cream
- ¼ tsp salt
- few drops turquoise or blue food gel colouring
- 36 mini eggs to decorate
- 2 tbsp chocolate shavings
For the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 160 ° C Fan and line a 12-hole muffin try with cupcakes cases.
- Cream the margarine on a medium-high setting for 2 minutes until paler in colour and light and fluffy in texture.230 g margarine
- Add the sugar and whisk again until fully incorporated.230 g caster sugar
- Whisk in the eggs one at a time until incorporated and then the vanilla extract.4 large eggs, ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and Xanthan Gum and mix in on a low setting until just combined and no pockets of flour remain.230 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum, ½ tsp baking powder
- Use an ice cream scoop to spoon one generous scoop into each of the cupcake cases, dividing the mixture evenly. The cases should be ¾ full so as to accomodate for the rise during the baking process.
- Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for around 20-25 minutes, until springy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean with no wet crumbs stuck to it.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool on a cooling rack to room temperature before preparing the buttercream.
For the buttercream
- Cream the butter in a mixer on the highest setting for around 5 minutes until paler in colour and light and fluffy in texture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as neccesary.250 g unsalted butter
- Sift in the icing sugar and salt in batches, until no lumps remain. Then whisk in the food gel colouring and the double cream.350 g icing sugar, 2 tbsp double cream, ¼ tsp salt, few drops turquoise or blue food gel colouring
- If the buttercream is too runny to pipe, add a tablespoon of icing sugar at a time to thicken. If the opposite occurs and the buttercream is too stiff, add a teaspoon of cream or milk at a time to loosen.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large open-star tip and pipe a swirl onto each cupcake with a blob in the centre. Place some mini eggs on top and sprinkle with the chocolae shavings to finish.36 mini eggs, 2 tbsp chocolate shavings