36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Glaze

These gluten-free chocolate cupcakes are so light and spongey, you’ll think they’re laced with traditional flour, but coconut flour and eggs do the trick!

Light and Spongey, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with an Espresso Glaze & Sea Salt
36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

Just the Personal Stuff:

As an adult, I developed a new tradition to relish in my love of my birthdays. I’d make a miniature cake for each year of life. It started when I was 25. The idea was to celebrate my life, to celebrate cake, and to share said cake with those I loved. When I told friends the story behind the many cakes, they’d always joke about when the tradition would become too much to bear – at age 30? 40? 60? 

At age 34. That year, my birthday was tough (the full story is here), but for my 36th, the tradition returned in a big, bold, colorful way: with a roller skating party! 

I made these mini cakes to reclaim my tradition but also as a way to choose life and joy instead of fear. It seems appropriate that now, as I’m sharing the recipe, the world is in the grips of fear. We’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and when I start to feel overwhelmed, stressed, scared or all of the above, I remind myself to return to gratitude. 

Choosing Gratitude

I’m grateful my family deemed me a blessing just for being born. I’m only now beginning to understand that I was and am enough just for existing. I’m grateful for every friend who has sent me a text to check on me in these uncertain times of quarantines and social distancing. I’m grateful for a warm home that makes me feel safe and calm. I’m grateful for my many windows and the view of a blossoming tree that reminds me life will continue.

I’m grateful for the challenges of my upbringing that prepared me to be resourceful and hopeful. I’m grateful for the friendships I developed in college that offered me profound connections and more than they know, saved me from an eating disorder. I’m grateful for a healthy, strong body. I’m grateful for the time to nurture my body.

I’m grateful for the many, many choices, actions and events that led to my entrance in this universe. We are all profound miracles worth celebrating, and anything worth celebrating, in my book, calls for cake!

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

Just the Food Stuff:

In keeping with my birthday cake tradition, I made individual mini cakes, accentuated by the rose mold. However, these roses are the same capacity as a cupcake, so your standard muffin tin will work equally well. Of the two flavors I brought to my party, these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes were so light and spongey, my guests thought these were the gluten-filled cakes!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Espresso Glaze & Salt

Adapted from All I Day I Dream About Food

Yield: 12 cupcakes or mini cakes

Cake Ingredients

Coconut oil or butter for greasing cupcake pan/cake mold

1/2 cup butter 
1/2 cup raw cacao
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules 

7 eggs room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup whole milk or unsweetened almond milk

Espresso Glaze Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
3 Tablespoons espresso or strong coffee
Pinch of salt

Topping:

sea salt (I used black lava sea salt for a dramatic contrast)

For the Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a muffin tin or cake mold.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the raw cacao and espresso powder, and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs until well combined. Add the cacao mixture and vanilla, and beat until well combined. 

Sift the coconut flour, coconut sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium mixing bowl, then whisk to combine. 

Beat in the almond milk. If that batter is still very thick, beat in more almond milk 1 tbsp at a time until it thins out a bit (batter will still be thick, but should be of spoonable consistency. It will not be pourable).

Divide batter among prepared muffin tins, pouring the batter about 3/4 of the way full, and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the top is set, and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Espresso Glaze:

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle the glazed cakes with sea salt. Serve & enjoy!

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com

Why the Rose Shape?

The shape of my mini cakes was an ode to The Wild Rose Collective, the business I formed with my friend Lindsey Smith. Stay tuned for the rose-flavored cakes in a subsequent post. 

36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
36 Cakes for 36 Years: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes // www.WithTheGrains.com
The thematic floral arrangements I made for my roller skating birthday party.

Just the Julep Stuff:

In keeping with the rose theme, here’s a throwback to lil’ two-year-old Julep being extra rosy. In keeping with the theme of gratitude, I am most grateful for Julep, who loves me unconditionally, keeps me active and prevents me from ever being truly lonely in this situation. If you don’t have a dog of your own, I highly recommend this live puppy cam.

I know these are hard times, and we’re all facing different challenges, but I hope this corner of the web can bring a little hope and joy and cake. If you enjoyed this post, please pass it on, so we can grow the conversation.

Be well, my friends!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Those mini-rose-cakes look absolutely delicious
    Happy Birthdays, now and in the future!
    Have a joyful day
    Sid

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