The perfect combo of sweet vanilla with smooth milk chocolate is what makes these Gluten Free Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes so addictive. A tender vanilla cake filled with vanilla bean pudding and swirled with a sweet chocolate buttercream.
I just want to give a quick shout out to those amazing athletes that just competed in the Boston marathon. I mean, how freaking cool is that???!
I’ve had a few friends that have qualified for the Boston marathon over the years, and I can’t get over how much pain, dedication, mental and physical exhaustion that goes into preparing for and running this race. Frankly, I’d rather run this race in my dreams rather than real life. Does that count?
Let me recap for a minute the one and only marathon I’ve ever run. It was 3 years ago in Phoenix. We had just moved into our brand new home and my training was going stellar. My one goal of this marathon was to Boston qualify with my time. I didn’t actually want to run the Boston marathon. I just wanted to be able to say that I qualified.
During all of my long training runs, I ran an average pace of anywhere between 7:30 and 8:15 minute miles. I only missed one long run toward the end of my training; probably the most important of them all. It was the 20 miler, which would have been the greatest distance of all the long runs. I figured I had gotten up to 18 miles in my training, so what was 2 more miles anyway? Plus, I was on vacation in Mexico and I wasn’t about to spend 3 hours running on a hotel treadmill.
Anyhow, arrogantly I believed Boston was in the bag. Yeah, not so much. Here’s how it went:
The race started with a cool rain which felt amazing. I ran the first few miles in a poncho wearing a huge smile on my face. The rain stopped and I stripped off the extra layer. I breezed through the first 13 miles at a 7:45 pace. Then I started to slow a bit to reserve some energy. Feeling great, right???
BAM!!! Then I died. Well, not literally. But at mile 18 death felt as if it would be a sweet relief in exchange for the exhaustion that had encompassed my entire body. I could hardly move my legs. It’s like my brain and body were in a disconnect.
By mile 20 I was alternately walking and jogging and just praying to see the finish line. I finally finished right after the 4 hour mark, this time taunting me for thinking that I could finish any earlier.
After guzzling some water and grabbing a bagel, I walked across the parking lot to Walmart to use the restroom (I wasn’t too keen on using the porta potties). Once I saw my brown pee fill the toilet, I realized my body was actually really close to shutting down. I was so extremely dehydrated that there was no way I could have kept my steady pace throughout the race. Lesson learned: drink more water!!!
And ever since that ridiculously challenging experience, I have toyed with the idea of running another marathon, but haven’t been able to actually pull the trigger. Kudos to all you lean mean marathon running machines. I admire you! Maybe one day I can grace the presence of you fellow Boston qualifiers.
But until then, I’ll enjoy something else Boston related: Gluten Free Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. These are more so my style nowadays than running 26.2 miles in one day. Anyone with me here???
I mean, you can’t argue with the fact that eating a tender, sweet gluten free vanilla cupcake filled with a vanilla bean pudding and topped with a milk chocolate frosting isn’t better that panting up and down hills with blisters for well over 3 hours. It’s a no brainer.
My inspiration for these cupcakes started as I was perusing the baking isle of Target and spotted these fancy Jell-O pudding mix packets. With bold black lettering it stated: Simply Good. I was intrigued.
These new Jell-O pudding mixes are made with no artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives. That’s right up my alley. And since the only time I really like pudding is when it’s in Boston cream pie, I figured it was time to make a cake…or cupcakes in this case.
I knew I wouldn’t need an entire packet of pudding to fill the cupcakes, so I figured I would add half the packet to the cupcake batter to make them extra moist. It totally worked. These vanilla bean cupcakes are perfectly sweet and surprisingly moist and light and fluffy. They are basically delicious.
So yeah, a perfect vanilla cupcake filled with smooth vanilla bean pudding just needs one more element to reach pure perfection: milk chocolate frosting. Oh boy, this frosting does not disappoint. I wanted to lick the bowl, it was just that decadent.
The luscious chocolate flavor comes from a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate. I’ll never make chocolate frosting any other way, that’s for sure. I’m telling you, this frosting is finger licking fabulous.
So for all of us out there who don’t foresee Boston marathoning in our near future, let’s curl up on the couch and eat cupcakes together, planning for the day when our legs can run that far.
What was the most difficult physical challenge you have ever faced?
- For the cupcakes:
- 1½ sticks butter, room temperature (12 tablespoons)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup white rice flour
- ½ cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup potato starch
- ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free oat flour
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ package Jello Simply Good vanilla bean instant pudding mix
- 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
- ¼ cup full fat sour cream
- For the filling:
- ½ package Jello Simply Good vanilla bean instant pudding mix
- ¾ cup cold milk
- For the frosting:
- 1 stick butter, room temperature (8 tablespoons)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream, half and half, or milk
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill cupcake tins with paper liners. Set aside.
- Begin making cupcakes. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
- In a smaller bowl, sift together white rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, oat flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, baking soda, and ½ of pudding mix.
- Alternately add sifted ingredients and milk to batter, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Gently stir in sour cream until evenly mixed. Let batter sit for 5 mins.
- Stir batter again before filling liners ⅔ way full. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes until edges are golden brown, top springs back at touch of a finger, and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven and carefully transfer to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
- While cupcakes are baking, make pudding mixture by whisking together remaining pudding mix and ¾ cup milk. Chill in fridge until ready to use.
- To make frosting, melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for 45 seconds. Stir chocolate until completely melted. Return to microwave for 10 second intervals if needed. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to slightly cool. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add cocoa powder, melted chocolate, half and half, and pinch of salt. Beat until smooth. Whip for an additional minute, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Once cupcakes are completely cooled, core out centers about ¾ way down the cupcake. Spoon or pipe pudding mixture into the centers. Pipe chocolate frosting on top of cupcakes.
- Serve cupcakes immediately while pudding is cold. Store leftovers in an airtight container in fridge for up to 5 days or in freezer for up to 3 months. Allow refrigerated cupcakes to sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before serving.