How It Started

Earlier this year, I decided to bake something special for my friend's birthday. She has celiac disease, so I had to bake her a birthday dessert that was completely gluten-free. I found a recipe for chocolate cupcakes that was both gluten-free and vegan, and seemed simple enough to make.

Finding the ingredients was tough in the beginning because I had no idea how many items contained gluten in them. I used a celiac disease forum website to help me find whether an item contained gluten or not. I also went on multiple company websites to make sure the ingredients were not cross-contaminated or made in a factory that produced other gluten items. I was able to find all of my ingredients at two of my local grocery stores. 

The recipe turned out to be amazing! Making the cupcakes was an easy process, and they didn't take long to bake. The cupcakes were rich in chocolate flavoring and moist in texture. Using the recipe, I added chocolate chips to the cupcakes which gave the cupcakes an extra kick of chocolate. My family and friends that tried the cupcakes could not believe they were vegan or gluten-free because they tasted just like regular gluten and dairy filled cupcakes. My gluten-free baking was a success.   

Olivia Elizalde

Continuing Gluten-Free Baking

Ever since then, I have started using gluten-free flour in my baking. During the long months of quarantine, I had a lot of free time and used it to practice my gluten-free baking. I have used the original cupcake recipe I found multiple times and each batch of cupcakes have come out just as delicious as the first.

Olivia Elizalde

Although it was difficult in the beginning to find gluten-free ingredients and flour, I did my research and found items that worked for my baking, budget, and flavors.

I realized that Bob's Red Mill 1-1 Gluten-Free Flour works the best. It is now my go-to gluten-free flour. For most gluten-free baking, recipes will call for the use of xanthan gum. However, Bob's 1-1 Gluten-Free Flour contains xanthan gum already so it saves the hassle of adding it in yourself. Compared to regular flour, the price of Bob's 1-1 Gluten-Free Flour is roughly two dollars more than your average all-purpose flour. 

I use the Domino Sugar brand for all of my sugar ingredients and Hershey's Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Chips for my chocolate ingredients. All of these items are labeled gluten-free by the company's website and on multiple celiac disease forums. These brands and items are also fairly inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores. 

So far, I have only made batches of various flavors of gluten-free cupcakes, but I plan on incorporating my new skill into more desserts. After doing my research and practicing my gluten-free baking, I realized using gluten-free ingredients is as easy as using regular flour or ingredients that may contain gluten. Gluten-free baking is also a healthier option for many people, especially those who are sensitive to gluten like me or who have celiac like my friend. 

Olivia Elizalde