Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes for the Portland Kindergartener

Lately it feels like every other joke around here is about Portlandia, the new show that lovingly makes fun of our fair, gray city. Believe me, Portland has earned every joke that comes our way, what with our open minds and acceptance of alternative lifestyles. We wear them with pride on our striped and polka dotted sleeves, I tell you!
So - it should come as no surprise that for our daughter Ruby's birthday today we had to bake some very special cupcakes. Vegan, gluten-free, soy free cupcakes, to be precise. Vegan (duh), gluten-free because one of her classmates is gluten-free as is her teacher (at her democratic public charter school, SO Portland) and soy-free because one of her classmates is allergic to soy! Whew!

Not white like processed flour cupcakes, but a better & nuttier beige vanilla!
Ruby was VERY excited about the chocolate.

SO - I made the Vanilla Gluten Freedom cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, and the Chocolate Gluten Freedom cupcakes, too. Then I realized as I was getting everything prepped that my muffin pan was still lent out....but not to worry...5 & 6 year old humans don't care about cupcake shape, right? Freestyle cupcakes commenced.

I am not an experienced gluten-free baker, though I do use many different flours in my baking. I'll switch out the white whole wheat for some barley or kamut or spelt, but those all contain gluten. So this was a first for me, and it was easy as can be. The recipe calls for several different flours, one of which is quinoa flour. I was shocked that the price at my local high-priced natural foods market was $11.99 for a 1 pound bag of quinoa flour! That price does not jive with my budget or my sense of thriftiness. So I left the bag on the shelf and got myself a few cups of organic white quinoa (all I had at home was red) and went home to grind some flour. I know, I'm living in the dark ages, grinding my own flour. Ha. But it was just like grinding coffee, and within seconds I had plenty of quinoa flour. Look!
Thank you, Ms. Magic Bullet. A bounty of quinoa flour.
I wised up when I baked the chocolate one. Bread pans = Squares!
Here are the vanilla's pre-baked. They got wonky but still looked cute!
It was fun to make a treat for her class - especially a treat that everyone could have. Because she is vegan, Ruby is often not able to consume the same treat as everyone else. She's used to it - she doesn't want to eat food that isn't vegan and has never once complained. But to make a bunch of cupcakes that she can have with her class and her wonderful teacher was truly a treat for me. I am also a fan of showing the generosity that veganism is - for animals and for people. I like to show that we are a thoughtful bunch of folks who are trying hard to be kind to everyone. Damn, I'm a sap! I hope they loved the cupcakes.


  1. That's awesome! My little girl is in preschool and her friends' parents are constantly bringing cupcakes for everyone and she can never have them :( So I occasionally bring in some awesome vegan cupcakes and everyone loves them and says they are the best and that they look like they are from a magazine. It feels good!

  2. Awww, free form cupcakes! Cute!

  3. We did gluten-free, soy-free vegan for my son's birthday party when we lived in Ashland :) Now that we're in suburban NJ, we know no one with announced soy or gluten intolerances and just make our vegan cupcakes and shove 'em at the kids in one knows or seems to care, they disappear fast!