Wednesday, May 19, 2010

For The Love Of Cupcakes

OK, I will admit it freely and with no hesitation..............I adore cupcakes! Cupcakes are festive, cupcakes are irresistable and cupcakes are just plain fun to eat! Cupcakes look like a tiny celebration all deliciously encased in a paper liner with sweet, decadent frosting spilling over the top. Everyone loves cupcakes! Cupcakes are a happy indulgence that we can all afford to splurge on from time to time. They make the end of a long day considerably brighter, and they make children squeal with delight and clap their hands in anticipation of the first gooey mouthful. You want to make someone smile...............give them a cupcake. When I was growing up my Mother knew of my fascination with cupcakes and would often send homemade ones in my lunch for school. Ahhh, the amazing buttercream frosting adorning each cake in various shades of pink, mint green and creamy yellow! Trust me, I became hooked at an early age, they were the best!

Now my love of cupcakes had taken quite a sabbatical because I could no longer eat them........sigh! To say I have been underwhelmed with gluten-free cake mixes would be an understatement. They always turn out grainy and there is that yucky aftertaste that always seems to accompany them. Well no more........I have found an awesome gluten-free bakery in Denver and they just happen to specilize in cupcakes! Mermaids Bakery is divine! Now they cannot ship baked cupcakes but they can ship their mixes. I spent a pleasurable part of my weekend baking several of their mixes and they were way beyond my expectations! I was so pleased with the results of my efforts. I made the chocolate mix and the red velvet mix. I frosted the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts. I frosted the chocolate ones with a sinful chocolate buttercream. To my surprise and delight these cupcakes are heavenly! The texture is identical to gluten-laden cake and there is no trace of graininess or that weird aftertaste that we all know and dislike. I think I may have actually moaned and swooned out loud when I tried the first red velvet cupcake. I couldn't believe how good it was. And the chocolate is a very deep, rich, dark chocolate flavor that makes you feel extremely decadent as you devour every morsel. Now Mermaids Bakery has a shop in downtown Denver and you can bet I am going to make it there sooner than later. I will be trying the spice mix and the vanilla mix this weekend if time allows. And low and behold, these freeze very well too! But the best part is that I gave some to my gluten-loving, non-celiac friends (the final test) and they loved them and gobbled them up. Check out their website: The photos alone will make you drool with longing.

I will keep you posted on the next flavors I make and I also have a recipe for a great yellow cake which I will post next time. More to come.....and remember to celebrate the little things in fantastic cupcakes from Mermaids Bakery........and no one will ever guess they are gluten-free!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Fantastic Hy-Vee Stores

You all know how I periodically sing the praises of Hy-Vee and their endeavors to bring their customers the best choices in gluten-free products. Well, they are at again, folks! They are expanding their gluten-free items tremendously and I couldn't be happier! The store on 156th & Maple has polished up their new and improved area in their Health Market and some of their new items look very enticing. It is my understandint that most of the Hy-Vee stores are expanding their gluten-free offerings, but below is a list of new gluten-free items that I know are now at the 156th & Maple Store.

Against the Grain Gourmet Baguettes (frozen)
Schar Classic White Bread (frozen)
Udi's Vanilla, Cranberry, Original and Au Natural Granola (So far I like Udi's products!)
Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Kasha
Back to Nature White Cheddar Crackers
Hodgson Mill Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix
New Nut Thin Flavors - Barbeque and Hint of Salt
Schar Products:
Penne Pasta
Fusilli Pasta
Hazelnut Wafers
Vanilla Wafers (These intrigue me.....I could make Southern Banana Pudding with them)
Cocoa Wafers
Chocolate Dipped Wafers
Vanilla Sandwich Creams
Chocolate Sandwich Creams
Table Crackers
Bread Crumbs
These are just some of the new products and they have many more! Now I must be honest and tell you that I have not tried any of the products listed yet, but of course I will certainly make that a priority now. I have heard good things about Schar Brand Products and I love Udi's stuff, so we will see how it goes. You must go visit the Health Markets at the Hy-Vee Stores! They improve their inventory every time I visit one. Now the Hy-Vee at 132nd & Dodge is being remodled so that is kind of a mess right now, but when they are done it is going to be fantastic! Also, the Oakview Hy-Vee is moving or they may have moved already.........I will check on that....but it looks like it is going to be an awesome store.

The Hy-Vee at 156th & Maple is having another Sack Sale on May 21st through May 23rd, so this would be a good time to stock up! Last month I posted some other dates for Hy-Vee happenings so check them out.

I have been busy testing recipes for gluten-free cupcakes! Actually I am baking as I write this. I am seeking the best gluten-free cupcake ever, so if you have a suggestion, let me know. Stay tuned and I will have some reviews shortly!