Giada De Laurentiis Copycat Cupcakes

Last night I came home from work to find a request in my inbox for help adapting these Strawberry and Mascarpone Filled Cupcakes from Giada De Laurentiis for a girl with an egg allergy. Giada is not my favorite celebrity chef, since she always comes across more as a spokesmodel, rather than someone who genuinely, you know, eats. (What can I say, I'm an Alton Brown fan.) I am a big sucker, though, for any kid with a food allergy who's looking to score some baked goods. Just ask my son. So here are some cupcakes fit for a Princess.
A basic yellow cake recipe has sat on my to do list for a long time, just because it's so much easier to bake a cake that doesn't rely on eggs or butter for its flavors. I used my standby, soy yogurt, so it has a nice density and tang, despite being a plain oilcake. There's not a lot of rise to it, so I wouldn't trust this batter to a full size cake pan, but it makes a more than respectable cuppy.
For the filling, I used frozen raspberries instead of strawberries, since that's what was in my freezer. I also halved the quantity for this version, since that's the amount I had left over. Quite a few of the reviews of the original mentioned it's liquidity, which was also a problem for me. Chilling the filling is definitely advisable. Several commentators also mentioned that the icing was incredibly sweet, which I also found to be true. I love the look, though, so I just recommend using a very light hand. These were a lot of fun, too, since I'm usually sculpting dinosaurs, rather than making girly pink filled fairy cakes.
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C plain or vanilla soy yogurt
1 C sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil, preferably canola
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F Line standard muffin pan with foil liners. (The oil will seep through paper liners, even waxed ones, which is unattractive, though still yummy.) Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together into a medium mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth. Carefully fill muffin liners three quarters of the way to the top; do not overfill. (You might have a little left over, but it doesn't have eggs in it, so I'm sure you'll find someone to lick the bowl!) Bake for twenty minutes. Allow to cool five or ten minutes in the pan, then move to cooling rack. Once completely cool, keep in the refrigerator.
1/4 C thawed and drained frozen fruit
4 oz. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
While your frozen strawberries or raspberries are thawing and draining, measure out half an 8 oz. container of plain Better Than Cream Cheese. I didn't chill it, but putting it in the freezer while your fruit thaws is probably a really good idea to prevent the drippies later. Chuck all the ingredients in your food processor or blender and pulverize until you have a nice pink mixture.
Put the mixture in a decorating bag with long, thin tip. (I finally had a chance to use the Bismark tip from my Cupcake Decorating Set for these.) Do not fill more than halfway, or it will come out the top. Giada says to fill from the bottom, but that's just asking for trouble, so you'll want to gently slide the tip into the top of the cupcake and give it a squeeze until you see the top of the cuppy slightly rise. Don't worry about a little overflow, you're going to cover it with more sugar.
2 C powdered sugar
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place filled cupcakes on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet or other drip catcher. Measure powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small saucepan and just bring to simmer while stirring with a whisk. (The sugar should be dissolved. If not, hang out at a simmer until it is.) Pour sugary liquid over the powdered sugar and continue whisking until just combined. Working very quickly, spread a very thin layer of icing over each cupcake. (The icing in the poorly lit photo above is probably about twice as thick as the optimal amount.) If the icing gets too firm, microwave it. Once iced, keep your little sugarbombs in the refrigerator until consuming.

Update: You can see the ones made for a Princess at To the Moon and Back.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you have mentioned this before, but what brand of soy yogurt do you use? The one sold in our local grocery store still contains some dairy. Argh!

Anonymous said...

You're a cool chica. I've never heard of the 'super-model chef', but let's face it, if someone doesn't look like they cook (and taste) for a living, well, something is rotten in Denmark!

Those do look like princess cupcakes, and I'm sure that there is a very happy little girl out there!

Libby said...

Hey Mimi, I've been using Silk Soy Yogurt for years with nary a reaction. My local Publix carries them, but I have to go to a health food store to get the good flavors like lime and black cherry. Here's a link to their product locator:


Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Those look great, and I love how simple the cupcakes are.

Speedbump Kitchen said...

We're all about pink here! On the yogurt question, Silk is the one to use...Stonyfield Farms uses milk in their OSoy...and instantly lost our business. No reactions, but the thought that they'd do that...just made me steam!

Allergy Mom said...

Great adaptation, which I am looking forward to trying, but why slam Giada in the process? I actually have found many delicious allergy safe or easily adaptable recipes in her cookbooks that my family loves. "Never trust a skinny cook" is an unfair generalization. Just because she's pretty doesn't mean she can't cook. We want people to keep an open mind about our kids...we should do the same about others. You really have a wonderful site. The Giada comments just bothered me.

Another Allergy Mom said...

Whoa, I should have signed that "Another Allergy Mom" :) I didn't realize that was your tag. Sorry :/ hat's acyually part of my email address. There are really so many of us out here!

Libby said...

There really are a lot of us allergy moms out there!

You are right, I didn't phrase my "spokesmodel" comment very well. It was not meant as "Never trust a skinny cook," though I realize that's exactly how it sounded.

The reason I don't care for her show is that she does not seem comfortable either in the kitchen, though her knife skills have improved considerably since the first time I saw her, or with food itself. I find it truly disturbing the way she says repeatedly, that whatever she is making tastes so good. Then when she actually picks up a bite, there's such a disconnect between her words about food and the way she actually interacts with it that I find off putting.

Since I never intended to deconstruct Giada (just the cupcakes,) I probably shouldn't have said anything at all!

Another Allergy Mom said...

Fair enough :) And yes, I do agree that she goes overboard with the "Perfects!" during her tastings. Ithink I just read this before coffee this morning ;) I will continue to check your blog-you have some really great info/ideas here. I hope your little guy is feeling better!

elana said...

i've tried a few different vanilla cupcakes for my allergic son but i haven't found one i love yet. i need to make some for school this week (he's allergic to dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and sesame) and i thought i'd try these (with coconut milk yogurt).

how many cupcakes does this make? can i make it without the filling?