For the swirl/filling
4 tablespoons (48 g) vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the cupcakes
2 cups (280 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (185 grams superfine white rice flour + 61 grams potato starch + 34 grams tapioca starch) (See Recipe Notes)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (See Recipe Notes)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup (158 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the glaze (See Recipe Notes)
3/4 cup (86 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons milk (any kind, including nondairy)
For the flour blend/xanthan gum
This recipe does not work well with our typical all purpose gluten free flour blend, like (mock) Better Batter or Cup4Cup. The blend should be our gum-free blend, with xanthan gum added.
The point is to use a much lower amount of xanthan gum than is in the all purpose gluten free flour blend. That is what allows us to swirl the cinnamon mixture into the middle and the top of the cupcakes. If you use (mock) Better Batter, you will find it very difficult to create the swirl as the cupcake batter will be much thicker.
For an alternative glaze
Instead of the classic confectioners’ sugar glaze, in some of the photos and in the how-to video here you’ll find a spreadable frosting-style glaze. You can make that spreading glaze easily.
Simply whisk together 1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional). Then add 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
The mixture will be very thick and a bit crumbly. Add lukewarm water by the drop, mixing completely, until you have a thick, spreadable glaze. If you’ve added cinnamon, the glaze will be brown.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and set it aside.
First, make the swirl/filling. Place the melted shortening in a small bowl, and add the brown sugar and cinnamon, then mix to combine well. Set the bowl aside.
Make the cupcake batter. In a medium-size bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Set the dry ingredients aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar, and then the eggs and vanilla, beating on medium speed after each addition until well-combined. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick but light and fluffy.
Place half of the cupcake batter in the prepared wells of the muffin tin, and top with half the filling. Swirl the filling around gently in the batter with the short end of a chopstick, or a toothpick or skewer. Top with the remaining cupcake batter, and then the remaining filling, and swirl again. Shake the tin back and forth until the batter sits in an even layer in each muffin well.
Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon of the milk, and mix to combine well. You should have a smooth, but very thick paste. Add more milk by drop and mix well until you have a thick, but slowly pourable, glaze. Pour a bit of glaze over each cooled cupcake. Serve immediately.
Originally published on the blog in 2014. Some photos, video, and alternative glaze new. Recipe otherwise unchanged.