This recipe came about in such a surprising way! The day before we moved house, I received a lovely email from Jaime who works for RSPCA Victoria (Australia). Jaime asked if I would be interested in developing a cupcake recipe for the RSPCA’s Cupcake Day, which is held during the month of August, however the official day is Monday 18th August. Surrounded by boxes and in between a run to the new house, I replied that I would be delighted to develop a recipe….I will just have to get my kitchen sorted out first!
I know chocolate and vanilla are popular flavours with people, but I wanted my cupcake to stand out and be completely different. I put my thinking cap on and I thought, and I thought but nothing was coming to mind until my husband said, “How about a Maple Pecan Cupcake”? What a brilliant idea….now why didn’t I think of that, and what would I do without him! Then we bounced around ideas of how we could ‘dress’ this cupcake up to make it extra special. So after a bit of discussion we decided on maple frosting and the finishing touch would be a candied pecan on top.
These cupcakes are not overly sweet and are wonderfully light and fluffy. Even on the second day, the cupcake still remains soft and light. This recipe is also the first time where I have included grams, ounces and to the best of my ability worked out accurate cup measurements. For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch and icing sugar before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
This event is one of the RSPCA’s biggest fundraisers for animal welfare. Last year the Cupcake Day raised more than $1.2 million across Australia. The proceeds help the RSPCA to continue their tireless efforts to fight animal cruelty via their adoption centres, animal shelters, veterinary clinics, educational services and Inspectorate teams.
RSPCA Victoria receives less than 3% government funding, so they rely heavily on the kindness and generosity of public donations. If you would be interested in hosting a cupcake party please click on this link to register and receive you free host kit, with all the tools to help plan your party.
Makes 12 Cupcakes
50g (1.8 ounces or ½ cup minus 2 scant tablespoons) superfine white rice flour
35g (1.2 ounces or ⅓ cup) pecan nuts
25g (0.9 ounces or 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) potato starch
20g (0.7 ounces or 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon) sorghum flour
10g (0.4 ounces or 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon) sweet rice flour
8g (0.3 ounces or 1 tablespoon) tapioca starch
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
⅛ teaspoon (0.625ml) salt
125g (4.4 ounces or ½ cup plus 1 scant tablespoon) gluten and dairy free butter
100g (3.5 ounces or ½ cup plus 1 scant tablespoon) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
75ml (5 tablespoons) dairy free milk of choice, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
1½ teaspoons (7.5ml) pure vanilla extract
1 large organic or free range egg, at room temperature
Candied Pecan Nuts
12g (1 tablespoon) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine sugar
1 teaspoon (5ml) neutral flavoured oil
262g (9.2 ounces or 1¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon) soft icing sugar (I use this brand)
70g (2.5 ounces or 5 tablespoons) gluten and dairy free butter
2½ tablespoons (37.5ml) pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with large cupcake liners.
Add the pecan nuts to a small blender and blitz to a fine crumb. Don’t blitz for too long, otherwise you will end up with pecan butter.
Sift together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl except the pecan meal, stir that through after.
Cream the butter and sugar together with a handheld mixer, this will take a couple of minutes.
Next add the egg and beat until well combined,
then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract and continue beating until light and fluffy.
Add half of the dry ingredients and pour in half of the milk and mix on a low speed until combined. Then add the rest of the flour and milk and mix again on low speed until thoroughly combined.
Use a spoon and approximately ½ fill the cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes.
Once cooked allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the candied pecans, heat a non-stick or a well seasoned stainless steel frypan over a medium high heat. Add the pecans, sugar and oil. You need to stir frequently so that the nuts and sugar do not burn (especially towards the end). When the sugar begins to melt, stir constantly until all the sugar is melted and the nuts are well coated.
Immediately transfer the nuts onto a sheet of baking paper or parchment and separate them straight away, as you don’t want them to harden stuck together. The coating takes about 5 minutes to cool and harden.
To make the frosting, add the icing sugar, butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract to a bowl. Using a handheld mixer, start mixing on a low speed until combined and then turn up the speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M nozzle. To start piping, first hold the bag in a vertical position over your cupcake. Then, applying a constant and even pressure, start piping from the outside edge and move in one fluid motion as you pipe a circle around the border of the cupcake. As you near the point where you started, continue in an ever-decreasing circle as you move inside, making sure that you overlap your first circle to create an upward spiral. When you reach the top of your spiral, in the centre the cupcake, it’s very important that you stop and release the pressure on the bag, before you lift up. This will then give you a nice star pattern on top.
Then all that is left to do is place the candied pecan on top and you’re done!!
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8