Gluten-free Amaretto Sour cupcakes

Gluten Free Amaretto Sour Cupcakes


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My mum is a glamorous but self-effacing blonde, who hates shopping but loves shoes and has a penchant for navy strength gin. She goes tap dancing, plays the violin and loves botanical drawing. She is the mother of four daughters, gets impassioned about politics, loves dancing with her grandchildren and has loud fits of giggles at least twice a day. In the ‘60s, she worked in town planning at County Hall by day and stomped the Kings Road by night in the latest Biba, before rocking out to The Rolling Stones. She is warm and daft, beautiful but approachable, generous, clever and fidgety. She looks years younger than her age, gets excited by new ideas, but would be happier holidaying in Cornwall than any of the world’s most exotic places.

Most of all, my mum is a lot of fun - she throws her head back when she laughs, lets us borrow her clothes and will offer you the entire contents of her fridge if you visit. I have inherited that trait, along with her fear of under-catering, which is why you will rarely leave either her home or mine, hungry or sober.

With this in mind, I wanted to create a fun and slightly naughty gluten-free cake for her that is also deceptively unassuming to look at. Pretty, yes, but not old fashioned, and delicate without being in the least bit fussy. I looked to the drinks cabinet for inspiration and dusted off a bottle of Amaretto, before rooting out a bag of sour cherries from the back of the cupboard.

I made these cakes gluten-free as my mum, like so many of the people closest to me, is a gluten dodger. If your mother can eat wheat, you can substitute the rice flour with plain wheat flour if you wish.

  • Cupcake batter

  • 100g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g of caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g of ground almonds
  • 50g of rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder, gluten free
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • 60g of sour cherries, 1 packet
  • 2 tbsp of Amaretto
  • Amaretto icing

  • 75g of unsalted butter
  • 25g of cream cheese
  • 150g of icing sugar
  • Amaretto, a generous splash
  • To garnish

  • glacé cherries, optional
Begin by soaking the sour cherries. Add the sour cherries and Amaretto to a small bowl and soak for 20 minutes. Squeeze out the excess Amaretto from the cherries and reserve for later
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, almonds, rice flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy
Whisk in the reserved amaretto cherry liquid to slightly slacken the mixture, before folding in the cherries and lemon zest
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, two thirds full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack
To make the icing, simply beat the butter and cream cheese together until soft and sift over half of the icing sugar. Whisk together until fully combined, before sifting over the remaining icing sugar
Whisk in the amaretto, then give it a taste, adding more booze if necessary. Use a palette knife to smooth the icing over the tops of each cake before topping each one with a cherry
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