We heard of gluten intolerance more and more these days. Not because this is a recent epidemic but I’m glad that the awareness of gluten intolerance is definitely there now and more and more products are available for people with gluten intolerance (celiac disease). I have to say that it wasn’t like 7 years ago when I worked as a dietitian. Patients’ choices for gluten-free products are so very limited and often products were not labeled properly. It could be frustrating. I’m glad that it is much better now and there are even special sections at most grocery stores for gluten-free products. Yay!I chose this recipe because it’s nice to have an option to bake without gluten and I wanted to see how they turned out. This rice flour muffin-cakes recipe is another one from Home Baking by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. I added my own twist into the recipe by adding chia seeds and dried cranberries.
The chia seeds are almost like poppy seeds, but of course surpass poppy seeds in nutritional value. Looking at the packaging of the chia seeds I got it said that chia seeds were ancient grains that have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years and these seeds are truly one of the oldest and best super foods available. Chia was a staple in the diets of both the Aztecs and Mayas in Central America. Chia seeds are a great source of omega 3, high in antioxidant, high in protein and fiber. I like to add Chia seeds to my cereal, yogurt, and now include it in baking in any way I can. It doesn’t have much taste on its own and adding this to the muffin cakes make it look much more fun and you know you are adding good stuff into your bodies too.
The muffin cakes are rich in taste and almost like pound cake. They have a fine, moist, cakelike texture and kinda “eggy”, which I like. I made the mini muffin cakes because I thought they are much more fun and not too much to eat at one time (though I can always eat several of them lol, but that’s a different story!).
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ¼ tsp salt (reduce to ⅛ if using salted butter)
- 11 Tbsp (1⅓ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1½ cups rice flour (this is available in major non-Asian grocery too)
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional- you can use other chopped dried fruit you like)
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 12 regular muffin cups or 2 of the 12 mini muffin cups if you choose to make the mini version
- Combine the egg whites and salt in a bowl and beat with a mixer until stiff. Set aside
- Place the butter and sugar in another bowl and cream together until smooth and pale. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth. Gently stir in the rice flour and vanilla, then fold in the beaten whites
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them half to three-quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed in the center, with a golden brown rim around the edge
- Let stand for about 5 minutes to firm up, then turn out the muffins onto a wire rack to cool