These light, refreshing little bundles of orange creme goodness remind us of angel food cake (most likely thanks to the lift given by the potato starch). They are the perfect tea cake or party cupcake. And the best thing is, not only do they taste like a certain retro frozen confection (you know the one – that orange Popsicle with a vanilla ice cream center), these beauties are gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and rice free. An allergen-free indulgence.
Gluten-free vegan batters are a tad different than wheat and white flour batters. They are stiffer at first, then stretch and get sticky as the xanthan gum and egg replacer do their thing.
Don’t beat the batter to death. Let it sit for a minute or two after mixing to let it relax and settle in.
If the batter “climbs” the beaters, slow down the speed and slightly lift the beaters to encourage the batter to move back down into the bowl. Move your beater around the bowl in figure eights, at a slight angle.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the orange zest, oil, agave, orange juice, Egg Replacer, and vanilla.
Beat on medium speed for two minutes until batter is smooth and fluffy. Make a ‘figure eight’ motion if the batter climbs the beaters. Let the batter sit for a minute before spooning it into cupcake liners.
Spoon the batter evenly into 12 lined cupcake cups. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm (cupcakes should be slightly tender but not too soft). Try not to open the door to peek until the very end of baking time – you don’t want to jar the cupcakes and make them deflate. These cupcakes rise quite high, and then slowly settle down to a slightly rounded shape at about 20-25 minutes.
Remove and cool on a wire rack. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with my vegan Orange Creme Frosting.
– Orange juice should be fresh-squeezed at room temperature. I use California navel oranges. Using an ice cold commercial orange juice with added vitamin C, or citric acid, may affect the batter’s consistency and rise (too much acid).
– Before you grate the zest, wash the orange. And don’t include the bitter white layer.
If you prefer eggs (instead of egg replacer), use two large eggs, beaten.
To prepare the frosting, beat shortening, vanilla, juice, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Start with two tablespoons juice. Don’t add too much juice too soon. Go slowly. Beat on medium high until the frosting is smooth and creamy. If it is too thin, add more sugar; too stiff, add a spoonful of orange juice. You want a medium-bodied icing.
Spoon frosting into a resealable plastic sandwich bag. Press out the air and seal tightly. Cut a very small hole in one of the bottom corners – not too big.
To frost, place the cut tip over the cupcake, near an outer edge, and squeeze the bag of frosting, gripping it tightly and moving in a circular motion, spiraling in toward the center, until the swirl of icing covers the cupcake.
Top with a few pieces of orange zest. Or try a sprinkle of flaked coconut, finely chopped pecans, or walnuts.
Place frosted cupcakes in a freezable container to chill or freeze. Once frozen, you can wrap each cupcake individually for single treats, if you like. Remove wrapping before thawing to keep the icing intact.
This cake batter would make a luscious orange birthday cake. The amount of batter in this recipe should make one 7- or 8-inch round layer. Double it for a two-pan layer cake, and double the frosting.