Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with this fun and delicious gluten free shamrock shake cupcake that has all the flavors of the drink we wait for all year long!
When I’m not sure how to celebrate a holiday, I fall back on gluten-free cupcakes. And since my children insist upon celebrating every single solitary holiday, no matter what (they’re in it for the food), when all else fails I come up with a celebratory cupcake.
Enter … gluten-free Shamrock Shake Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day. I had no choice.
Can you blame them? Every time I look at this overhead shot, I wanna take out a straw and drink it like a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.
Take that, McDonald’s.
How to make cupcakes mint-flavored
The cupcakes are naturally mint-flavored by baking them with mint sugar. You make mint sugar easily by taking granulated sugar and pulsing it in a food processor with some fresh mint leaves.
Then bake the cupcakes. See the flecks of mint? I also added some peppermint oil to the batter, to boost the mint flavor. But use that sparingly. It’s strong stuff. You could also leave it out altogether.
Whipped cream frosting
Okay, let’s talk Whipped Cream Frosting. You can make fresh whipped cream and pipe it on there like frosting, but within a couple hours, it’ll begin to separate.
You need something to stabilize the frosting. We could use gelatin, but I wanted something to make it a bit sturdier.
We made it into a heavier whipped cream frosting by adding mascarpone, an Italian cream cheese. You could also use an equal amount standard cream cheese, but the frosting will have more of a tangy flavor with cream cheese.
Ingredients and substitutions
There are many different forms of dairy in this recipe. The cupcakes have butter and milk, and the frosting has mascarpone cheese and heavy whipping cream.
You can try using Melt brand or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter in place of the butter, and unsweetened non-dairy milk in place of the cow’s milk.
The frosting recipe is trickier. Rather than a whipped cream frosting, I’d try making a dairy free buttermilk recipe instead using non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening in place of butter. Just add peppermint oil and some green food coloring.
There is one whole egg and one egg white in this recipe. In their place you could try using 1 1/2 “chia eggs” (1 1/2 tablespoons ground white chia seeds + 1 1/2 tablespoons lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel), but I’m not sure how well it would work!
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (or 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil)
2 cups (16 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 drops leaf green food coloring gel paste (optional)
Green gluten free sprinkles (optional)
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line or grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin and set it aside.
Make the cupcake batter. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt, whisk to combine well and set the bowl aside. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or, place the granulated sugar and 20 mint leaves. Pulse or blend until the mint leaves are ground fine. The sugar will be a pale green color. Add the mint sugar to the bowl of dry ingredients, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, milk, vanilla, peppermint extract or oil and eggs, and beat until well-combined and smooth. Mince the remaining 5 mint leaves, and fold them into the batter.
Bake the cupcakes. Fill the prepared muffin cups about halfway full, and shake into an even layer in each well. Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until very pale golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the middle muffin comes out clean, about 19 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Place the mascarpone cheese and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and peppermint, and mix to combine. Switch out the paddle attachment for the wire whisk. Add the chilled heavy cream to the bowl, and mix on high speed until the cream thickens and holds a relatively soft peak (stiffer than a very soft peak that falls over on itself, but softer than a stiff peak that stands straight up). Toward the very end, add the optional food coloring.
Frost the cupcakes. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large tip, and pipe a generous amount of frosting on top of each cooled cupcake. Sprinkle with the optional green sprinkles. The whipped cream frosting is stable enough to sit at room temperature for about a day without wilting or separating. For a slightly firmer frosting, refrigerate the cupcakes after frosting and serve chilled.