The Today Show featured Sprinkles Cupcake’s founder Candace Nelson making gluten-free red velvet cupcakes. Sadly, the feature doesn’t actually give the recipe (but we have it below), or really, any useful tips on gluten-free baking, but it’s pretty neat that gluten-free is is being featured on the Today Show, don’t you think?

I’d never heard of Sprinkles Cupcakes before the Today Show segment, so I looked it up in The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide. Here’s what it said about the bakery: “GF red velvet cupcakes are available every day. They are not visible on display, as they are kept behind the counter to avoid cross-contamination.” (That last part is a nice little tip from the editors . . . it’s easy to see how someone might just walk out if they didn’t immediately see them on display.)  The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide listed locations mostly in California, but on the Sprinkles website, it looks like there are a bunch of locations in the works for Fall 2010 & 2011.

As happy as I am about the exposure that gluten-free is getting on the Today Show — I have some small bones to pick. First, Candace mentions that vanilla may contain “glutens” in the form of fillers. I have never heard of any such thing. In fact, our office favorite, Shelley Case’s Gluten-Free Diet, lists vanilla extract and vanillin (imitation vanilla) as gluten-free. I wonder if maybe Candace worry stems from the outdated rumor that vanilla might contain gluten if the alcohol in it was distilled from wheat. But like I said, that’s totally outdated info: regardless of source, distilled alcohol is gluten-free.  But for all you worry warts out there, The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide lists McCormick and Rodelle vanilla extracts as gluten-free. As always, it’s a good idea to check labels, but I doubt you’ll find anything to worry about. Second, they cut off the part where they compare the taste of GF and non-GF cupcakes. Booh for TV editing!

On an unrelated, but hilarious note, the presenter Hoda starts the segment (presumably thinking she’s off camera) by exclaiming “Wow…somebody has gas!”  I wonder what that’s all about!

Thanks to Nicole Schwartz from Sprinkles Cupcakes for the below recipe.

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend
4 T cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 T red food coloring
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir the first 4 ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Mix milk, vinegar, vanilla and food coloring in a separate bowl and set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar and add in eggs one at a time. Beat until creamy and light.
  5. Alternately add in the wet and dry ingredients you mixed earlier and beat until smooth.
  6. Bake at 18-22 minutes until the tops are just barely dry.

Gluten Free Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. With a mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add salt and vanilla.
  3. Slowly pour in powdered sugar mix and mix until the frosting is creamy; be careful not to overmix.