I promise I can actually take decent food photos. I just keep making these cakes and cupcakes in the evening when the light is all gone/shitty and then they’re all eaten up by the next day. I’d use my speedlights but, well, I am lazy and they are currently needin’ fixin’.
But that shouldn’t stop me from sharing the recipe because a) these are really good, and b) it’s fig season NOW and you should all take advantage of it. All these years I thought August had nothing to offer, but August is FIG MONTH, at least around here. So I’m going to fig out and you should too.
The base cake recipe is basically Barefeet in the Kitchen’s Best Gluten Free White Cake recipe. But then I took it up an extra notch, whisked the egg whites, subbed out honey for some of the sugar, and splashed in some extra baking soda for uumph. I couldn’t have done it without that original recipe, though, and what I learned from last week’s cake.
The rest of it I made up on the fly, using what we had on hand, and subbing in duck eggs for chicken eggs.
Without further ado:
Gluten-Free Honey Fig Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting
FOR THE CAKE
2 cups Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour (or Barefeet’s mix of brown rice, tapioca, & potato)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
4 eggs, separated and room temp
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup honey (or to taste)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup melted butter, cooled
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Preheat yo oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill yo cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers – 24 should do nicely.
Mix together dry ingredients in the smaller bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk your egg whites and cream of tartar until they get white and stiff, just shy of stiff peaks. This takes about 5-10 minutes depending on everything. Then switch to a larger bowl and beat your egg yolks and 1/2 cup honey until creamy. Add the rest of your liquid ingredients – sans whites & the other 1/4 cup honey – to the yolks and mix it all together.
Add your wet to your dry, mixing as you go. Taste the concoction at this point to see if you need to add more honey. I like my cupcakes a whole lot less sweet than most people, so 1/2 cup was just about right for me. But if you need more, just add it a tbsp. or so at a time until you reach desired sweetness. Once your mixture is sufficiently mixed, take your beaten egg whites and gently fold them in.
Fill each cupcake tin about 2/3 of the way full – just shy of 1/4 cup. Then bake for 25-30min, or until the tops are a nice golden color. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack while you proceed with the following steps.
FOR THE FIG FILLING
10 figs, diced and sliced
1/8 cup honey
1 tsp arrowroot powder (or corn starch)
Place yo figs in a small pot and turn on the heat. Add the honey. Cover for 5-10 min, or until the figs start releasing their liquids and the concoction gets runny. Uncover, and the arrowroot powder, and let it simmer another 10 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Then take it off the heat and let it cool.
When the cupcakes and the fig filling are both cool, cut little holes in the top of the cupcakes, fill the holes with a teaspoon or three of filling, then press the cut cake back on top.
FOR THE FROSTING
1 tub or 8oz mascarpone, room temp
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/4 cup honey
1-2 cups powdered sugar
dash of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix the mascarpone and butter together until creamy. Add the honey, salt, and vanilla and mix some more. Then start adding powdered sugar. I confess I didn’t really measure, I just kept adding 1/2 cup at a time until it looked right – smooth and white and the consistency of, well, frosting. I suspect it was close to 2 cups, but not much over. If it starts tasting too much like powdered sugar, you can add another tbsp. of honey.
Once it’s the right consistency, you can frost your fig-filled cupcakes. Now you’re done! Or, you can get a little fancy if you have extra figs, cut a dozen in half, and place each half on its own cupcake. Sprinkle the cakes with walnut or pecan pieces and drizzle with honey for extra show.