Go Ahead Honey it's Gluten Free! Grain Free Liquorice & Ginger Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting



I referred to these cupcakes last week after some fiddling with the recipe rendered it less, not more. Is this some sort of veiled message on modern food in general from the universe, I wonder? Hmmm?

I made these on Sunday when Nick was at work (on a weekend? yes he is very wicked indeed and there is surely no rest for him). As they cooled, Fin and I took our stunt kite to a hillside overlooking Burton Bradstock beach to enjoy the wind whilst huge puffball clouds did battle with frothing waves. Every so often the clouds would crack open to let a shaft of honey fall through, illuminating thrill seekers on the beach below us as they darted forward and back, avoiding the crash and suck of the water. After an hour we'd taken enough buffeting and our arms were tired from stroking the sky. Fin streaked madly downhill in seconds making a noise like an expiring balloon.

Back home I smeared chocolate butter-cream messily over the cakes whilst Fin hopped about excitedly with his tongue hanging out. I handed him one quickly, in case he reached combustion speed whilst my back was turned and fetched a camera to record my efforts.

The light was already failing and Fin looked so picturesque (in a kind of chocolate smeared, wild eyed, small fingered way), so I begged him to slow down in order to take a picture. He was eating it upside down, as is his usual style - cake first and finally the great glob of partially melted icing on top. I hoped to get a shot before he had wolfed the entire thing, so I asked him to stop a minute whilst I got a good picture. He held the upside down cake away from his mouth and threw me a winning smile for about ten seconds before his tongue snaked out and tasted a little icing, lending him the air of a cow searching for some out of reach morsel. So I tried again, and again, and again, until my nerves snapped and I shouted for him to stop licking so I could get the shot.

Fin looked at me with disbelief for a moment and then the cake slipped out of his hot fingers and onto the table - sticky, soft, chocolaty icing side down. Smeary fingers held up in the international symbol for surrender, he raised his eyes to mine and mouthed, 'sorry' as I let out a deep, low, mummy is a long suffering person sound. And then we both fell about laughing - well aware that cakes are for eating lustily, upside down and with your fingers, food photographs be damned!

This is my submission for this month's Go Ahead Honey event, hosted by the inspiring and talented Elana of Elana's Pantry. The theme was Grain Free Cakes and I hardly need say that it couldn't be closer to my cupcake shaped, grain free heart.

Although these cakes are gluten and grain free and super low on the sweet, they are not suitable for SCD followers as they contain both ground liquorice root and cocoa powder. In order to make them SCD compliant, double the honey content, omit ground liquorice and frost with vanilla and honey butter-cream or sweetened strained yogurt.

Liquorice & Ginger Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

(makes 10)

7oz ground almonds (almond flour)

2 oz whole almonds

4 large sticky dried figs

4 large eggs

100ml walnut oil (or another vegetable oil or melted butter)

two heaped dessertspoons of set honey (about 80ml)

3-4 tsp ground liquorice root (you can buy teabags full of it if you can't find a box)

4 tsp ground ginger root

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract (I use bourbon vanilla - use less if it is very strong)

zest of 1 lemon and 4 tsp of juice

pinch of sea salt or himalayan rock salt

preheat the oven to 160C (fan assisted) and fill your muffin tin with cases. Pour water into the two spare holes to give a nice moist atmosphere to the oven.

Separate eggs and beat the whites with lemon juice and salt until stiff peaks form.

Beat the yolks, vanilla and honey with an electric whisk until pale and starting to thicken. Pour the oil in slowly whilst still beating (or in small additions if you find that fiddly) until the mixture forms a thick pale runny mayonnaise.

In a clean spice/coffee grinder, grind the almonds and the figs until they form fine damp crumbs, but not until they turn to nut butter - the ground fig seeds give a wonderful texture. You may need to do this in two batches.

Stir together all the remaining dry ingredients and the zest and then fold gently into the egg yolk mix.

Spoon half of the egg whites into the nut mix and fold until combined, then gently fold in the rest just until no white remains - don't beat the air out as it is the only thing keeping these cakes fluffy.

Spoon carefully into the waiting cases and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool and ice when completely cold with chocolate butter-cream below.

Chocolate and Honey Butter-cream

5oz slightly salted butter (I use goats) room temperature

1 1/2 oz set honey

2 oz cocoa

2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat everything together until lighter in colour and fluffy textured - add a little coconut or almond milk as you beat to get an even lighter frosting. Pile generously onto cakes, spoons, fingers...and definitely lick the bowl.