Saturday, 24 May 2014

Eclair Cupcakes - gluten free

I have been wanting to make these cupcakes for ages, but haven't got round to it. This month the Alpha Bakes letter has come up as 'E', which has given me the push I need to give them a go.

They are based on my love for these :

Cadburys Eclairs, - chewy toffee, filled with a melty dose of chocolate which mingle together as you chew. They are sold in many countries around the world and have been one of my favourite sweets since I was a child.  If only there was a cake version!

Well............. here it is....... and trust me, they are really really delicious. And amazingly easy to make. The sponge is rich with real toffee so that it almost has a texture of sticky toffee pudding in cupcake form, the edges slightly crisp where the toffee has melted on the sponge and hardened slightly in the oven. As you bite through the sticky, sweet sponge, your teeth sink into soft, creamy, dark chocolate ganache............ not over-sweet, so that it off-sets the caramel-sweetness of the toffee cake. Heaven!

Not wanting to 'unbalance' that perfect combination, the cake is not topped with any icing (it really would have ruined the incredible marriage of flavours already there) and instead each cupcake is decorated with a simple combination of sprinkled icing sugar, a large chocolate button (to hide the 'cap' for the hole) and a small piece of fudge.

The toffee sponge has come from an earlier recipe that I made (Sticky Toffee Cake), although interestingly the end result was slightly different in cupcake form (somehow the toffee remained stickier and more defined). I think I over-filled my cupcake cases slightly as I was unsure how well they would rise, but the over-flow of sponge may just add to the final scrumptious effect.

The sponge is not only moist from the toffee and golden syrup, but has the addition of a good dose of ground almond which adds a nutty bite to the texture and helps the sponge stay fresh. They also contain coconut palm sugar which throws in an extra toffee depth with its caramel notes (although this addition is optional). Because of the cream in the ganache, it is worth storing the finished cupcakes in the fridge and allowing them to come to room temperature before eating, so that they are slightly squidgy and the flavours are properly defined.

I am sharing these amazing Eclair Cakes with May's Alpha Bakes challenge, being hosted by Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker (co-hosted by Caroline at Caroline Makes). The letter 'E' is the perfect opportunity to share them with the world............. these have to be tried!

Eclair Cupcakes (makes 20 to 24 cupcakes)


Toffee Sponge
100g light soft brown sugar 
100g coconut palm sugar (or if you have no coconut palm sugar, just use a further 100g brown sugar)
200g plain gluten free flour blend (I used mix A from this post)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g ground almonds
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
200g unsalted butter (cubed)
200g golden syrup
3 large eggs - room temperature
30 ml/2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
100g soft dairy toffee - cut into very small pieces

Chocolate Ganache Filling
225g dark chocolate - cubed
125 ml double cream
225g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon icing sugar

icing sugar to sprinkle
large chocolate buttons (make sure they are gluten free)
fudge or toffees, cut into triangles/pieces


  1. Ganache : Make the ganache first : Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and melt on a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and combined.
  2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely, stirring occasionally. As it cools, the ganache will thicken to a piping consistency. You can speed the cooling/firming process by cooling in the fridge, but will need to allow to come to room temperature before use. The oil may separate during the cooling process, so it is important to stir intermittently and give a thorough stir through before use.
  3. Sponge : Line 2 cupcake tins with cake cases.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4.
  5. Mix together the sugar(s), flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground almonds and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
  6. Place the butter and golden syrup in a medium sized bowl and gently melt in a microwave at medium setting on 30 second bursts, stirring between each until the ingredients are liquid and fully combined (do not allow to boil). If you don't have access to a microwave, place in a small saucepan and gently melt over a low heat until liquid and combined.
  7. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and gently beat with a spoon until combined.
  8. Beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl and then add to the cake mix. Beat briefly to combine all ingredients into a thick batter.
  9. Add the toffee pieces and gently stir into the batter until evenly distributed.
  10. Spoon the batter into the cake cases evenly (about two-thirds full) and spread with the back of a spoon, to get an even surface.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160 C / 320 F / Gas 3, and continue to bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes until the cakes are well risen, spring back to the touch and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  12. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. Putting it all together : When the cakes are cold, core the centre of each using a cupcake corer or knife, being sure to trim and save the circular centre sponge 'cap'. 
  14. Use a piping bag or teaspoons to fill the centre of each cup cake with ganache and top with the sponge cap to close the hole.
  15. Sprinkle the cupcakes with icing sugar.
  16. Use a small blob of remaining ganache on the top of each cake to stick a large chocolate button (or alternative decoration) to hide the 'cap'. 
  17. Stick a small triangle of fudge to the top of the buttons either using a little (carefully placed) ganache or a brush of food glue.

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  1. Oh my goodness... Eclairs are my mum's favourite.. I'll have to bookmark this for her birthday ;-) Sounds sooooooo good!

    1. Thanks Aimee. They were lovely..... If your Mum likes Eclairs, than I'm sure she would love these........ and the ganache makes them very grown up!

  2. Now I want to make these too! Such a clever use of E for Alphabakes and I love how you've decorated the cakes. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.

    1. You're welcome Ros. That toffee-chocolate combo is pretty irresistible!

  3. What a lovely idea to turn eclairs into cupcakes - I've always thought of eclairs as a rather high end boiled sweet!

    1. Thanks CC. They have been on my 'things to make' list for way too long....... I am so pleased I have finally tasted just how yummy they are..... maybe I should think of them as a 'high-end cupcake'?!

  4. I love these they look great and especially the purple cases, my favourite colour!

    1. Thanks Kat. I picked purple cases because I love the colour too. It was only after I took the photos that I realised that I had subconsciously matched the sweet wrappers!


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