Cupcakes For All

When it comes right down to it, the only real way that I can gauge my success is through the happiness of others. If I couldn’t share my baking experiments, if my crafts didn’t put a smile on someone’s face, well, I don’t know that the whole process of creating would be quite as much fun. Of course, that wouldn’t stop me from going about my crafty ways, but it would certainly be a far less fulfilling path than what I have been lucky enough to follow up to this point. Seeing a friend’s eyes light up, hearing their voice brimming with delight and knowing that I was responsible makes every oven burn and the frustration of dropped stitches worth it.

Small tokens made from the heart always get to me, especially when they’re of the edible sort. Being vegan, I know that any friend who makes me a special treat is really going out of their way to accommodate my needs and still give me something enjoyable. Dietary restrictions are certainly tough to work around for even the most savvy baker, be it the need to limit sugar, exclude animal products, or remove wheat altogether. This last one has always proved to be a nearly impossible obstacle for me to overcome, because what is a baked good if not a product of wheat flour and sugar in various forms? After a good bit of thinking, it occurred to me that this is exactly how many people might view vegan baking- An impossible feat, only because they had never thought to approach this traditional craft in such an unconventional way. Sure, the first couple of tries are bound to fail and perhaps reinforce the stereotype to some, but for those who don’t give up, the eventual success is all the more sweet.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I might be so bold, I would have have to say that everyone loves cupcakes. It just kills me when someone is forced to turn down one of these miniature morsels of cakey delight due to health or moral issues, as I think that everyone should be able to eat cupcakes if they so desire. That’s why the request for a wheat-free version of my most popular recipe online, the Rootbeer Float Cupcakes, really took me by the throat and got my full attention.

Wheat-free cake has been one of my biggest stumbling blocks in this field, proving far more challenging to create than pedestrian baked goods like cookies and candies. Now, I’m a firm believer that trial can only lead to error so many times before success begins to enter the picture… And in the end, I’m happy to offer all of you cupcakes, suitable for vegans, sufferers of celiac’s, and omnivores alike. Trust me on this, these sweet treats don’t sacrifice flavor or texture for all that they “lack,” and you may be surprised what you can do without wheat if you just give it a chance. My only regret is that I didn’t do enough research to pick out a flour that was gluten-free, as spelt still can not be tolerated by those extremely sensitive to gluten. I guess this is a stepping stone to full-fledged gluten-free goodies… But I would bet that if you just used something like teff flour… Well, I need to experiment further with these, but for now, I consider this some serious progress!

And if you really want to treat your loved ones, isn’t baking with an open heart and open mind the sweetest gift of all?

Rootbeer Cupcakes:

1 Cup Rootbeer Soda
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Teaspoons Rootbeer Extract / Concentrate
1 Cup Spelt Flour
1/4 Cup Brown Rice Flour
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt


5 Ounce Dark Chocolate
1/4 Cup Soymilk
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

Vanilla Frosting:

1 Cup Vegetable Shortening
3 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Soymilk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a dozen cupcake tins with papers.

Combine the soda and vinegar and let stand for a few minutes. Add in the sugar and oil, whisking vigorously until slightly frothy. Integrate your extracts, and add in both flours, cornstarch, and xanthan gum. Mix well to ensure that there are no errant lumps hiding about, since you don’t need to worry about overmixing and forming gluten! Distributing the batter evenly between the prepared tins, fill cupcake liners approximately 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before proceeding to make the ganache.

When the cupcakes are at room temperature, combine all of the ingredients for the ganache in a microwave-safe container and nuke for about a minute. Stir thoroughly even if it doesn’t look completely melted – It should come together after a bit of agitation, but if the chocolate still isn’t entirely smooth, return to the microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time, watching carefully to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Drizzle the ganache in squiggles over the tops of the cupcakes. Allow ganache squiggles to fully cool and dry before preparing the frosting.

Beat the shortening thoroughly using your stand mixer until creamed. Add in sugar and start on a low speed so as not to spray powder everywhere. Incorporate soymilk and extract, and combine thoroughly. Frost your cupcakes and share them freely!

Printable Recipe

13 thoughts on “Cupcakes For All

  1. These look delicious. Now if only I could get you to work on some soy-free foods. But I suppose you could make these using rice milk in pace of soy milk.

  2. I couldn’t have said it better myself – baking and crafting brings not only joy to myself, but to family and friends as well (especially the muffins and cookies I’ve been baking lately, haha). These root beer cupcakes are so innovative, and look positively delightful. Kudos again for another incredible recipe, and for sharing it on your blog :0)

  3. They look super delicious!! Hmm, do you think it would be okay to have a cupcake for breakfast?! LOL!
    I agree about baking and crafts (scrapbooking for me) bringing joy to myself and my family/friends. Like you, I’m not sure I’d get the same satisfaction if I couldn’t share them with people.

  4. The cupcakes look lovely but need a disclaimer. Spelt is actually a type of wheat. It is a gluten free type of wheat. However, those of us with wheat allergies could become seriously ill from eating a cupcake with spelt.


  5. Spelt is NOT gluten free. It is a variety of wheat. Some people with wheat allergies report that they do just fine with varying amounts of spelt. A person who has Celiac or any other gluten-sensitive condition cannot eat any spelt. Spelt contains gluten.

  6. Hmm. I hate to further burst your bubble because your cupcakes look and sound gorgeous and it was so kind of you to attempt to make cupcakes for all. Not only is spelt a gluten containing kind of wheat, but the root beer contains wheat as well. Thanks so much for being courageous enough to try to bring cupcakes to all. Keep plugging away!

  7. making these cupcakes was quite a feat. we drove all over Los Angeles looking for root beer extract and finally found some @ the Culver City Home Brewing Supply Company. we were SO excited! I’m sad to report however that after making the cupcakes we are not fans. the vegetable shortening icing reminds me of cheap store bought stuff from my childhood and the cake part is rubbery. also, when do you add the baking powder, baking soda and salt? another issue is the ganache and icing recipes make enough for at least 3 times the cake recipe. all in all, the experience was a let down. for all you wheat free peeps – the following recipe did us right!!!

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