For the last week of school before the Christmas break I decided to treat my mentor class to some home-made chocolate cupcakes. This is a habit I’ve held dear ever since I started finding myself in a work environment, that is to say my intern days in Toronto. My first batch of Christmas cupcakes was crafted for my office mates one December day in Canada. More Christmas cupcakes have followed when I was working in another office in Poland, this time not as an intern but as an actual employee. It had become a real tradition that on the last week of work before Christmas I would treat my colleagues to cupcakes.
This tradition has in a way ended when I stopped being an office employee and moved to Sweden in 2014. On my first Christmas I didn’t have a job, so no colleagues to treat, and I didn’t bake any cupcakes. On my second Christmas in Sweden I was already working as a teacher and had my students try their skills at piping Christmas trees on their cupcakes. This year I decided that I would start offering cupcakes again but the recipients would be my mentor students this time. (Please think not I have forsaken my wonderful colleagues. I treated them to a big tray of buttercream cupcakes a couple of months ago, on the occasion of my 30th birthday – which coincided with the parent meetings at school, so the sweet treats were twice as appreciated.)
Keeping in mind the many food allergies that a bunch of 30 kids can have I decided to play safe and go for something that would suit them all without having to make distinctions: rich chocolate cupcakes that featured no eggs, no cow milk, no soy, no nuts and no gluten. And that still tasted as wonderful as any other chocolate cupcake I have made before. No kidding.
Allergy-friendly chocolate cupcakes:
- 120 g gluten free flour
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 150 g sugar
- 2 dl oat milk
- 60 ml oil
In one bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. In another bowl combine the sugar and oat milk. Whisk the sugar and milk mixture until the sugar is almost entirely dissolved, then add the oil and whisk it in. Still whisking, add the flour mixture, little by little, until it is all incorporated and you have a homogeneous batter. At this point you can line a muffin tin with paper liners. Pour the cake batter onto each cup so that they’re all about half full. Not more, or the mixture will overflow: the generous amount of baking powder will make these cakes double in size as they bake. Bake for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven at 200°C, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
This time I decided to go with just chocolate and not venture into making any Christmas-themed decorations with the frosting. I figured that this would be spectacular enough for a bunch of hungry 12-year-olds. Furthermore, I had to make 30 and not so much time to spend on them if I wanted to manage to photograph them in the light of day.
For the frosting I had to set aside my favourite Swiss meringue buttercream as it features egg whites, so I made a simple chocolate buttercream combining softened vegan butter, powdered sugar and melted milk-free chocolate. I think I have never been more conscious of what I was putting in my cakes, allergy-wise.
The snowflake sprinkles, that match the paper liners, are the main theme of the cupcakes, that also hints at the season. I couldn’t spend too much time crafting Christmas-themed buttercream sculptures, but that didn’t stop me from at least making the cupcakes winter-themed. I was really pleased with the vegan frosting, too. It piped wonderfully and was the perfect addition to the cake itself. Honestly, could you tell from their looks that these cupcakes are not regular but they’re a bit more special? They look just like regular chocolate cupcakes, minus the gluten, the butter, the eggs, etc.
Of course the cupcakes were a great success at school. So my tradition of offering Christmas cupcakes at the workplace has been restored, and this year it also had the double feature of serving as a little end of term present to my class.