Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free Cupcakes... or With Egg, If You Like

It took me a while to get these just right, but I think I have finally cracked it. They're a little denser than a normal, white flour cupcake, maybe somewhere between a cupcake and a brownie, but unless you went out of your way to tell someone they were free from a bunch of stuff then no one would ever guess.


Look at it!

Delicious as it is, or go all out and pile some sort of icing on the top!

So, recipe (eggy version changes at the bottom). This is a "combine the dry and wet ingredients separately before lobbing them all together and cooking" recipe, so it's even simpler than a normal cupcake batter. This makes a batch of six. Just double for 12, etc... simple maths.

Preheat your oven to 160C/320F/gas mark 3 and prepare your cases. I use silicone ones on a flat baking tray, but obviously paper cases in fairy tins work too.

Mix the "wet" ingredients in one bowl;
  • 1tbsp ground flax seeds (this is the egg replacer)
  • 45g water (I have an electronic scale, but 45ml works too)
  • 50g vegetable oil (or sunflower, canola, hemp... most plant based oils should work)
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
Give it a really good whisk then let it sit while you measure out the dry ingredients. It will go quite gloopy, a little like egg white.

Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl;
  • 60g chickpea flour
  • 60g caster sugar (you probably could use a non-cane sugar alternative, but I've not tried yet)
  • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder
  • 45g dark chocolate chips
Or replace the chocolate chips and cocoa powder with your favoured flavourings. Chickpea flour has a mild but distinct flavour, so just going plain might not work. I would recommend, at the very least, upping the vanilla essence in the wet ingredients list. I've yet to experiment. It's next on my list.

There's one more ingredient to add to the "wet" list;
  • 1/2tsp lemon juice
Give the wet ingredients a quick mix then pour it all into the dry ingredients and combine. It should be quite thick and gooey. Divvy it up into the cases and stick them in the oven. Mine take 30 to 35 minutes. I check them at the 25 minute mark, but they generally need another 8 to 10 minutes. They should be firm and coming away from the cases, just light normal sponge, but they'll be a little gooey in the middle still, more like a brownie (so the skewer test isn't very accurate).

Leave to cool... though not necessarily to room temperature. I can NEVER wait that long.


If you are happy including egg then omit the flax seed and lemon juice, halve the bicarb and baking powder. Weigh the egg and use the same amount of chickpea flour and sugar. The batter will be wetter but will rise and hold its form more easily.

Ishtar =/= Easter, Geez!

The Ishtar = Easter meme is doing the rounds again, with even more inaccuracies and visual lies than previous years. I'll start with the worst offending parts, from the point of view of mythologists, historians and anthropologists... and rant on from there.

The Grass Is Not Skinnier On The Other Hips

Last year, due in part to reading 30 Days of Good Stuff after a tweet from a friend, I decided it was time to get back to being fit. At school I was super sporty and active, and until some asshole stole my bike I biked to work in my late teens. Then uni happened and aside from long walks through the Welsh hills, exercise fell by the way side.

Moving to a big city didn't help matters. I can't cycle to work on these roads; they're terrifying. That and two years of wage slavery shift work that pushed even my ability to tell bosses to fuck off when they try to abuse your good nature killed my energy and free time.

So, along with getting my finances in shape (I got into the black for the first time in a decade in just over a year, fuck yes!), I figured I would put more effort into not sitting on my ass all of the time. This was not about losing weight. 5'8" and a size 14 constitutes, in my mind, a perfectly reasonable amount of energy reserves. No, I wanted to improve my stamina, core strength and flexibility... and my knee joints. Holy crap my left knee joint hates me. It's an old war wound.

Obviously an increase in physical activity is going to result in a drop in fat stores if food intake is not upped. An inevitable by product of improving my fitness was losing weight. In twelve months I dropped to a size 10, and have stabilized at that. That's two dress sizes, for non-UK folk. There was a large drop when both myself and my bunny got sick. I was not getting enough sleep or food, and carrying a 3.5kg bunny (dropping to 3.1kg, poor boy) and his carrier a couple of miles twice a day for a week to and from the vet. Seriously, a huge drop. That was a bit scary.

So yes, I have lost a fair amount of fat reserves from around my waist. There never really was anything on my arms and legs. My legs are, and always have been just muscle mass due to all of the sports I played in my teens. Kids; exercise in your teens will give you a lifetime of benefits, both habitual and physical. Wiggle out of sports at school and suffer the consequences in your adult years. Heed my warning!


Where am I going with this then?