DessertDecember-January 2017

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Caramel Pear Cupcakes


Gluten-Free Cinnamon Caramel Pear Cupcakes

Photography by Tim Horel

For a special touch, top each frosted gluten-free cupcake with a drizzle of caramel sauce. This gluten-free recipe can be doubled. It can be made egg-free; see instructions.


cup tapioca starch/flour
cup potato starch (not potato flour
⅓ cup white rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon salt
teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 cup whole milk or canned coconut milk (not lite)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
cup butter or Spectrum Organic Shortening, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in a 12-count cupcake pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together tapioca starch/flour, potato starch, white rice flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and xanthan gum. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, mix together milk and vanilla.

4. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light in color and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add sugar and beat until blended, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs, 1 at a time until fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Beat until mixture is fully blended and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed until batter is smooth.

6. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter.

7. Place cupcakes in preheated oven and bake, rotating halfway, until the top of each cupcake is slightly springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with dry crumbs, about 14 to 16 minutes. When fully baked, cupcakes will be light golden, not browned.

8. Remove from the oven and immediately place each cupcake onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

For Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Cinnamon Caramel Pear Cupcakes, omit 2 eggs. Reduce butter or shortening to 1/4 cup. Add 2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer powder to dry ingredients in step 2. Heat 1/4 cup milk (from the recipe), just until warm. Combine 1 tablespoon golden flax meal or ground chia seeds with warm milk and let cool; add remaining milk. Use this mixture to replace the eggs in step 4.

Caramel Pear Compote Filling

pound ripe pears (about 2 medium pears), peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salted butter or Spectrum Organic Shortening
2 teaspoons lemon juice
teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup good-quality caramel sauce, more for drizzling

1. In a large saucepan, stir to combine pears, sugar, butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar melts, pears soften and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and stir in the caramel sauce. Let cool completely.

3. Pour filling into a piping bag and set aside until ready to use.

4. Using an apple corer, small scoop or knife, core out the center of each cooled cupcake, leaving plenty of cake in the bottom. Fill each cupcake with Caramel Pear Compote Filling.

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting

For egg-free frosting, go to

cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
⅛ cup cold water
cup egg whites (2 large eggs)
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
cup salted butter or Spectrum Organic Shortening
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon (pinch) fine sea salt

1. Measure sugar and water into a heavy saucepan and stir just to combine. Cook over medium heat without stirring until sugar mixture reaches 250F, about 10 to 18 minutes. Use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature. (To keep sugar mixture from crystalizing, don’t stir it at all while it cooks. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe down any sugar that climbs up the side of pan and crystalizes, taking care not to disturb the mixture in the pan.)

2. While sugar is cooking, beat egg whites with a mixer on medium speed to soft peaks. (Whites will look foamy and white. Be careful not to overwhip them.) Add cream of tartar and continue whipping.

3. With mixer on medium speed, very slowly pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the whites. Increase mixer speed to high and whip until the mixing bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add butter, cinnamon and salt. Whip on medium speed until frosting is fluffy and light. If mixture looks like it’s separating, keep beating until it comes back together, about 5 minutes.

4. Spoon frosting into a piping bag and top each cupcake.

Each cupcake contains 407 calories, 23g total fat, 14g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 94mg cholesterol, 281mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 33g sugars, 3g protein, 29Est GL.

Recipes by Kyra Bussanich, author of Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle (Ten Speed Press). Copyright 2016 by Kyra Bussanich, Kyra’s Bake Shop.

Comments (1)

The filling and frosting were so wonderful! Unfortunately, the cupcakes were unusable. I did use the egg substitution, but they fluffed then fell, and even after an extra 15 minutes of baking time were not set in the middle, but were overcooked on the edges. Made a different gf cupcake and added cinnamon to mimic these, and they turned out great, so my first thought that my oven was off isn't the issue. Not sure where the issue lies, but please double check the recipe!

Posted by: Ginger Martin | September 11, 2017 8:27 AM    Report this comment

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