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Gluten-Free Holiday Baking Tips from a 3 Time ‘Cupcake Wars’ Winner

👤 🕔 December 9, 2013

Screen shot 2013-12-09 at 1.59.45 PMThe holiday’s are a great time to gather  while sharing stories, laughs, and great food with our loved ones. In recent years, more people have been adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle, which can impact their choices of what makes their plate for the big meal!

The three-time winner of ‘Cupcake Wars,’ Kyra Bussanich wrote a new book, “Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle. Not only is Kyra a phenomenal cook, but she also was diagnosed with celiac disease and has adapted her latest cookbook to the gluten-free lifestyle.

You may not be a ‘Cupcake Wars’ winner, but with these tips from Kyra your gluten-free holiday baking can taste award-winning!

  •  If you’re following a recipe, don’t substitute the listed flour or starch with another type unless you’re familiar with its properties. There are many different types of gluten-free flours and starches, including millet, sorghum and sweet white rice flour, and potato and tapioca starches. Each has its own idiosyncrasies. For example, millet flour has a slightly nutty flavor and is well-suited for goods with a hearty texture. Sweet white rice flour holds moisture well and is good for recipes that have a slight gumminess to them. Potato starch is light and good for fluffy cakes.
  • Use eggs and butter at room temperature. Eggs are often used as a binder, the protein that substitutes for the missing gluten. Eggs and butter are both easier to work with when used at room temperature, and room-temperature egg whites whip up fluffier. If you forget to pull the butter out of the refrigerator beforehand, heat it for 7 to 12 seconds in the microwave. Put cold eggs in warm (not hot) water for 30 to 60 seconds.
  •  Don’t overwork batter and dough with xanthan gum in it. Corn-based xanthan gum is often used as a stabilizer and thickener in gluten-free baked goods, sauces, dressings and soups. Once this ingredient is added, overworking the dough can give it a slimy, gummy texture, and cause it to lose flavor (a good substitute for xanthan gum is ground psyllium seed husk).
  • Heat higher, cream longer for lighter cakes. One complaint people sometimes have about gluten-free baked goods is that they’re too dense. To prevent this, try setting the oven temperature 25 degrees warmer than you would for flour. This will cause the butter in the recipe to release its water as steam, which helps the cake rise quickly. Also, cream eggs and butter together longer—about 10 minutes—than you would for flour cakes.

We hope you have a happy and indigestion-free holiday this year! For more gluten-free information and news check out the Elburn Herald.