Vegan & Gluten-free Cupcakes With a Lime/ Lemon Glaze by Aparna

I remember as a child, a few of my friends were into the pen-friend thing.  Pen-friends apparently shared strong bonds.  I often thought, as young children are wont to think when not convinced, that the stories were made-up, just to ‘show-off’, until I heard a real life incident.  One of P’s friend actually traveled to Australia to meet his pen-friend after receiving an invitation and ended up working and living there for a long time!  Incredible, isn’t it?  The days of pen-friends through snail-mail mode is long gone.  And these days we have online friends, chatroom-friends, flickr-friends, and well – blogger-friends!  I have quite a few and I am sure you do!  Many of you are already my friends, and God bless you all for enriching my life with your touch!

I make friends easily with most people, that I knew, but till the blog happened, my friends were always those whom I met in real life.  I did not understand virtual friendships.  Slowly it happened, and without my knowing it, I started getting into conversations with  readers, fellow bloggers and they were some with whom I ‘connected’.  We exchanged numbers and would meet up if we visited each other’s cities.  At first I was cautious but so far all the people I have met have been really nice people, some with whom the friendship has gone from acquaintance to close friends.

Aparna is one of my closest friends amongst bloggers.  We have met a few times, and I have stayed at her place.  We converse a lot on phone.  Jr.H and Aparna’s daughter Akshaya are buddies.  We have a lot in common though as my daughter points out – “Ma, you both are so different!”  That is what makes it special. 🙂

Today, it is my pleasure to invite Aparna over to my virtual home.  Aparna writes a lacto-ovo, food blog called My Diverse Kitchen.  As the name indicates, her recipes belong to diverse regions.  She loves baking as much as I do.

Over to Aparna:


Sometimes the simplest of things can have you stumped. Sometime back, Harini came down to Goa with her family for a short vacation. We are good friends, and our daughters can spend a lot of time marvelling over how food and photography can turn their mothers in beings weirder than Martians might be!

So what does one food blogger take when meeting another one? Well, good food is always much appreciated, so I decided to bake some cupcakes for her kids. I don’t usually bake vegan but being vegetarian, I am now quite comfortable with it and only need to give my recipe of choice a bit of thought before I adapt it.

Harini’s daughter, whom she refers to in her posts as ‘Jr H’ also happens to be allergic to gluten and this, is what had me stumped as I have rarely done gluten-free baking! My native style of South Indian cooking is inherently gluten-free as it is mostly rice based, but gluten-free baking is something I have very little experience with.

One of my reference points for workable gluten-free recipes on the net is the Karina, the Gluten-free Goddess. She has an excellent variety of gluten-free recipes on her blog, which are vegetarian and many are vegan too. These gorgeous gluten-free cupcakes took my fancy but I didn’t have oranges or orange juice and some of the other ingredients in stock. But I did have lemons on hand, so adapted the recipe to suit my taste, make it vegan, and use whatever was in my kitchen cupboards.

And the result? Soft and delicious lemony cupcakes with a tangy lemon glaze. The softness and crumb texture is like that of a regular cupcake, and you wouldn’t even know there wasn’t all-purpose flour in it except for the somewhat nutty taste of sorghum flour. We liked them, and I remember Harini’s daughter telling me she liked them very much.

So when Harini asked me, a couple of months back, if I would do guest post for her, it seemed a perfect idea to make those very gluten-free cupcakes that I had originally for her daughter. So here’s my recipe.

One thing I would like to add, is that “xanthan gum” which is used in this recipe, is a corn-derived thickener and usually used in gluten-free bakes. It works by making the gluten-free batter thicker and the bakes like cakes less crumbly. I got my “xanthan gum” from the US, but if you don’t have it, you can substitute it with guar gum (if you can find it), or arrowroot starch or flax seed meal.

Might I also add that the lemon glaze really does make this cupcake special so don’t leave that out, or else you can use an icing/ buttercream of your choice.


Recipe:  Vegan & Gluten-free Cupcakes With a Lime/ Lemon Glaze

(Adapted from the Gluten-free Goddess)


3/4 cup sorghum flour (jowar)
3/4 cup corn starch (corn flour in India)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum and the lemon zest.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, water, lemon juice and vanilla till mixed. Add this to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer, on medium speed, for about 2 minutes till smooth and fluffy. This gluten-free batter is likely to climb up the beaters so it helps to beat in a “figure eight” motion while holding up the beaters a bit and at a slight angle while beating.

Let the batter sit a minute before spooning it into 10 medium sized cupcake lined cupcake tins. Bake the cupcakes at 180C (350F) for about 20 to 25 minutes till golden and firm to touch.

To make the lime/ lemon glaze, mix 1 cup icing sugar with about 1 to 2 tsp fresh lime/ lemon juice, or just enough to make a thick glaze. Drop a small teaspoonful of the glaze on the cool cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles if desired.

This recipe makes 10 medium sized cupcakes.



Aparna can be reached on Facebook and Twitter.


Harini is a vegan food photographer, writer and recipe developer. She also loves feeding birds, reading, watching crime thrillers, and travelling amongst other things.

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  • Meenakshi

    What a fantastic recipe! Simple enough, too. And thanks so much for sharing the xantham gum substitutions 🙂

  • spicentadka

    Lovely post! I am also new to blogging and have been looking at few Gluten free recipes and this one looks like a must try 🙂

  • Srimathi

    It is so nice for you two to meet up. Very thoughtful of Aparna to make something for your daughter.

  • Marta @ I love breakfast

    I enjoyed reading your entry, it is amazing how you can click with people even through the internet 🙂

  • Jayanthi

    Wow!!! This is what I felt after reading your write-up. Absolutely loved it. Amazing isn’t it, virtual friends. I’m so new to this blogging world and I’m open to accept everyone as my friends and that makes me feel so happy. Love your muffins and the colorful muffin wraps too. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

    • Harini

      Hi Jayanthi, welcome to blogging, and wish you the best!

  • Richa@HobbyandMore

    pretty cupcakes! love that lemon glaze.. so sweet that aparna baked up some gf cupcakes. i love it when 2 people can instantly connect via one of their common interests. now i need to find some bloggers around to yap about food:) its a diverse situation here though, but slowly some of us are getting to know more about each other.

    • Harini

      Richa, I am sure food will slowly wipe out the ethnic diversity and bring in real diversity!:) So glad you are finding blogger friends too!

  • Sanjeeta KK

    I thought there already is a full stop to the list of friends in my life..before I stepped into the world of blogging. As there was rarely any chance to meet or chat with people who share same interest. And I was wrong…the food blogging world has opened a new chapter with such wonderful friends and memories to cherish…
    Wish I could meet both of you soon..I still remember and love the shot Aparna took with you and your daughter under the same umbrella 🙂
    Gluten free cupcakes with lemony glaze…sounds so tempting.

  • maha

    looks just awesum..n nice cliks.wonderful blog vth tasty recipes n lovely cliks…visit mine when u free If possible..

  • Gemini Xettigar

    Dear Aparna

    Please tell me the source from which you purchased the Xanthan gum. I need some to make a home made soy based vegan alternative to butter (recipe sourced from In India , distributors expect you to buy it in bulk of 25 kgs which is unreasonable for somebody intending to use it for home consumption.

    Kind Regards

    Gemini Xettigar

    • Aparna

      My sister brought me the xanthan gum from the US. It was available as a small pack of about 300gm, I think. I don’t know where small quantities are available in India, if at all.

      You can try using guar gum, or what is called dinka/ gond/ kathira gond instead.

      • Gemini Xettigar

        Sorry for the typographical error in typing your name as Aparna

        • Harini

          I know what you mean by that, Sanjeeta! Maybe we can when you come up some other time. Yes, I love that shot too. It was candid.:D My daughter found it very tempting too.:)

  • Spandana

    Looks delicious, lovely clicks!!!! You have an award waiting for you at my blog. Do visit and accept!

    • Harini

      Thank you for the award, Spandana. Those are Aparna’s, and yes, they are lovely clicks. 🙂

  • Lata Raja

    Wow! that is how I felt with Aparna too. I could actually have long conversations with her and not just food! Like you stated, I make friends easily, but mostly with whom I meet in person. Only the blog has given me so many virtual friends . I am happy to have met few of them too.
    These cup cakes are again such a treat both literally and visually!

    • Harini

      Lata, waiting to meet you too! Let me know when you visit. 🙂

  • Aparna

    And thank you for having me here, Harini. 🙂
    And please thank H for that compliment. At least, I hope whe meant the different was nice and not weird! 😀

    • Harini

      I remember I was on sugarfree and some other restrictions during that time due to which I was not able to eat your cakes, and that only delighted Jr.h all the more, because it meant she could have more. 😀 My pleasure to have you here, Aparna! And yes, I will tell her about this. 🙂 By ‘different’ she meant that you are more like my elder sister. We have our similarities and our differences but that is what sets each individual apart and makes friendship fun. I would end up with zombies if my friends were all like me!

  • chinmayie @ love food eat

    I have been trying my hands on GF baking and it’s fun. My latest blgo post is on a Vegan+GF banana muffins. I have been baking these without any gum in them and i still find the texture alright. May be the banana is holding them together?
    This recipes looks simple enough for me to try too… I might replace xanthan gum with flax seed powder and see how that goes…
    A great post with beautiful (as always) pictures from Aparna!

    • Harini

      Chinmayie, I too try not to use xantham gum as much as possible. The texture is still good but different from the ones you make with x.g. I use any bean flour – amaranth, lobia flour – to hold them together. I would like to see how it goes for you.

  • bharathi

    going to try this one. Looks easy and doable. Lemon glaze seems to be a good substitute for buttercream look delicious

  • Srivalli

    I can understand how wonderful it is to connect to our blogger friends Harini..I am glad I could finally connect with people who can think as I do..:) was the same when we chatted over the phone nice to know about your daughters..yes Aparna is one of those nice friends whom you feel as if you have always known!..That’s a delightful treat with those being vegan and gluten free..kudos on the pretty pictures.

    • Harini

      Hey Valli, that was quick. 🙂 Yes, I remember talking to you for quite a long time once I started to! I guess that is how it is when twains meet. 😀 Yes, the treats are delightful and the pictures pretty. 🙂 Thank you!

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