Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Banana Cupcakes (gluten free, dairy free) for Steve's birthday

Do you like your weekends to be full on, relaxing, or a bit of both? I have to say that I like mine to be a bit of both. However, when I do things full on, they are really full on, leaving me exhausted. That's what it felt like on Saturday morning - I needed to wrap birthday presents for my friends Steve and Ruth, to bake a cake for Steve, to get Ruth's present to the post office before it closed at midday, and to take Steve's present and cake over, all in the one trip.

I nearly didn't make the post office because I had a disaster with my first attempt at Steve's cake. Because Steve's partner needs to have gluten free, dairy free sweets, I thought this
chocolate nut cake from La Tartine Gourmande fit the bill perfectly. Umm, it would have too, if (a) I had not managed somehow to burn it; and (b) it had not stuck to the bottom, so that I ended up with a cake in two bits, each with a very brown bottom. Trying not to think of the ground almonds and chocolate going to waste, I sadly tossed this cake in the bin and started again.

Now by this stage, I was running out of time, and I needed a cake that was quick and simple to make. My thoughts then turned to a birthday present I had received from my brother, the Sunbeam Pattie Cupcake Maker:

It claims to make 6 cupcakes in 10 minutes. I was sold! I removed Pattie from her box, flicked through the recipe book that came with her, and settled on the recipe for banana cupcakes. The beauty of this recipe is that it is a one bowl, one step recipe. This recipe was neither gluten free nor dairy free, but I fixed that by subbing gluten free flour in for the self raising flour and Nuttelex for the butter. This may have had some impact on the flavour, but they still tasted fine to me.

Pattie is like a muffin tin with a heating element underneath and a cover on top. You fill your cupcake cases on the bench, then place them in Pattie. Here are the cupcakes before baking:

and after baking:

The trickiest part was getting the baked cupcakes out of the very hot Pattie - I used a Bessemer wok tool to do that, which was small enough to manoeuvre into the cupcake wells so I could flip out the cakes. Pattie lived up to her claims, and the cupcakes were done in 10 minutes.

The recipe gave me lovely little domed banana cupcakes that were reasonably moist. Once the cakes were cooled, I iced them with chocolate flavoured water icing, sprinkled them with gold disco glitter and piped "Steve" all over them. The latter was probably one ambitious step too far, as my royal icing resolutely refused to thicken up properly, so that my neat piping ran a little - or perhaps that was the result of piping it onto slightly damp water icing. Nonetheless, Steve was delighted with his cakes - and I made the post office with twenty minutes to spare.

The recipe for these cupcakes (which could be made in a conventional oven at a longer baking time, say 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes at a pinch) is as follows:

2 cups self raising flour (I used GF flour)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 ripe mashed banana
2 lightly beaten eggs
125g melted butter or Nuttelex

Preheat your oven or cupcake maker. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl, and combine them using an electric mixer on low speed; once combined, increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute or until all lumps disappear. (But don't overbeat it otherwise you'll get tough cakes!)

Turn the cakes onto a wire rack to cool before decorating.

Seguing into a totally unrelated topic, I went to the
Paris to Provence Melbourne French Festival after visiting Steve. There was a lot of stalls selling French wares and apparently some music and dancing, but due to an unpleasant and unprovoked incident with an ill-informed woman attending the festival, I left ASAP. However, before I left, I managed to pick up these lovely macarons from the La Tropezienne stall:

Aren't they beauties? There was (clockwise from top left) coffee, rose, chocolate, milk chocolate (I think!), raspberry, lemon, pistachio and blueberry. My favourite was the blueberry that was filled with some kind of juicy blueberry filling. Yum!

And I will leave you with that thought - have a great day.


Emily said...

I've never heard of a Pattie before! How cool! I want one. It's kind of like an easy bake oven.

Lisa Mary said...

What an interesting post! I hate the rushing around to have a birthday cake ready. Done that loads of times. And the Pattie was fascinating! Love those macaroons, but ... you're not going to tell us about the incident?

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aren't you a clever cookie making it GF and dairy free and still managing to get it done within 10 minutes!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Emily, it's really cute as well as fast - I am very happy with it.

LOL, Lisa Mary, no, best not mention the war. Let's say it made me very cranky.

Hi Lorraine, necessity is the mother of invention.

Johanna GGG said...

Good save! Those cupcakes look lovely - I know the feeling of things falling apart -happens to me too often lately!

Cakelaw said...

Thanks Johanna. It wasn't even worth photographing my disastrous cake - it really was unsalvagable. Not sure what happened, other than that I am still grappling with gas marks.

adele said...

Clever improvisation - those cupcakes look great!

I had a look at that nut cake recipe, and I think something's wrong with either the cooking time or the temperature.

At 400F (about 200C) I wouldn't bake that cake for more than 12 minutes. Or else I'd drop the temperature to 350F (180C), and check on it at the 20-minute mark.

Maybe it's supposed to be baked in a water bath?

Cakelaw said...

Hi Adele, you make me feel better about it - although I really should have learned my lesson and check on these things rather than just assuming all will be OK. I wasn't concerned because my oven tends to take longer than the recommended cooking times for all the other recipes I'd tried, so I didn't check on it until it was too late. Dang!

margot said...

My goodness, the Pattie Cupcake maker is too funny! Glad it came in handy, the cupcakes look great.

I like having a balanced weekend, if things are too busy, I'm cranky on Monday.

sarah @ For the Love of Food said...

I think I would've given up after messing up the first one if I only had such a short time to do it all. Well done - especially to make it dairy and gluten free!

Anonymous said...

Pattie saves the day! How fun - I've never seen anything like that. The cupcakes look so cute with the writing on them!

Tammy said...

Pleased to hear Pattie works well! i have bought her for my 7 year old niece for Christmas!

Cakelaw said...

LOL Tammy - she will love Pattie! I liked the pink box, which I am sure a 7 year old will adore.

Kathy said...

The cupcakes look great! I'll have to try these out, as I'm getting more and more interested in the gluten free foods.