Tuesday, March 22, 2016

{Gluten-Free} Cherry-Chocolate Blossom Cupcakes for #TheBookClubCookbookCC

Here we are at March's #thebookclubcookbookCC event. It's hard to believe that we only have four more months in this year-long journey to explore - and cook from - The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.*

Judy, Vicki, and their publisher, Tarcher-Penguin, have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous.

This month Emily at Life on Food has selected A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.** Click to read Emily's invitation. She shared the recipe for Chocolate Russe, but invited us to find inspiration in any of the pages.

On the Page...

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is another classic that I can't believe I've never read - until now! Thanks, Emily, for picking it. If someone were to claim this is an autobiography, I would easily believe it. It was believable and well-penned. Betty Smith completely drew me into Francie Nolan's world. I feel as if I were there; I feel as if I lived that life alongside her. There is no easy was to encapsulate what this book is about. Really. Well, I guess I would have to say that it embodies the entire human experience - from birth to death, puberty to marriage and bigamy. You name it, it's in there.

I read the bulk of this book in two sittings, but I lingered through the final 100 pages over several days because I wasn't ready for it to end.

Francie wrote the next chapter of her book feverishly, hoping the dream would come true. "I'd like to see a lot of simple desserts and choose my dinner from among them Please bring me a dozen chocolate russe, some strawberry shortcake and a quart of ice cream - make it chocolate, a dozen lady fingers and a box of French chocolates." (p.327)

On the Plate...

The Enthustiastic Kitchen Elf has recently discovered Cupcake Wars on Netflix. So, during the past few days, he's been watching - at least - one twenty-minute episode in the evenings. I really had no idea what a Chocolate Russe was, but looked at the ingredients and was inspired to make a cherry-chocolate cupcake as my #TheBookClubCookbookCC creation this month. I, of course, had to experiment and make them gluten-free so my husband could indulge...and D wanted to fill them with a cherry compote. These were moist, chocolatey, and wonderful.


  • 1-1/2 C gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C ricotta
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chunks


  • 1 C pitted cherries
  • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C red wine

  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 C organic powdered sugar


  • semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners; I double line mine.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda salt, and sugar. Add in the olive oil, egg, vanilla extract, ricotta, and milk. Stir together with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Divide the batter between the cups with a small scoop.

Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 24 to 26 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, make your compote. Place all of the ingredients together in large skillet. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the sauce is thickened to a syrup.

When the cupcakes are cooled, use a paring knife to remove a small piece of the cupcake. Spoon in a few cherries and a bit of the syrup.

Let stand while you make the frosting.Beat cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Spoon onto your cupcakes or - because D wanted to use a bag - pipe the frosting onto the cakes, covering the filling.

Use the chocolate chunks and dried cherry to create a blossom shape, if you wish. Enjoy!

This month Emily at Life on Food, this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from March 1st till March 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Emily received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

**This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.



  1. These sound absolutely divine. Francie would have loved them!

  2. I am glad you enjoyed the book. I did too. It was new to me and I was scared halfway through I would regret picking it as the March option. It did not disappoint in any way. These cupcakes looks great. Super decadent!


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