Japanese bakery Kyotofu introduced New Yorkers to a brave new world of soybean-based treats when it hung out a shingle in Hell’s Kitchen in 2006. Its inspiring menu of mouthwatering, artisanal tofu-filled weirdness quickly garnered all sorts of accolades, even earning New York magazine’s coveted Best Cupcake title – in a city with the Carrie Bradshaw-endorsed Magnolia. But rather than rest on its beany laurels, Kyotofu has upped the ante by diving headfirst into the gluten-free game. Based on their initial foray, which we recently sampled in the office, they’re in it to win it. To add some star power to their celiac-friendly selections, Kyotofu teamed up with Cup4Cup, a 100% gluten-free flour from chefs Thomas Keller and Lena Kwak of the renowned French Laundry. The results are impressive.
As a relatively new member of the G-Free club (ten months and counting), I can’t help but make a beeline toward any baked good labeled gluten-free (usually in large letters to attract suckers such as myself). Yet this so often leads to disappointment, with bland cookies and dry, insipid cakes masquerading as proper desserts. Fortunately for those of us trying to live a gluten-free life in a wheat-filled world, the Kyotofu/Cup4Cup collaboration finally gets it right.
Kyotofu’s acclaimed chefs have used the cornstarch- and rice-based flour to create such sublime baked goods as yuzu vanilla cupcakes (pictured); sweet potato mini pound cakes; and black sesame, green tea and genmai shortbreads. Don’t be fooled by their innocent little flower-shaped designs, they all pack a satisfying, sugary punch. My particular favorite: Kyotofu’s miso brownies, which have a perfectly moist fudgy consistency, and its green tea financiers: plump, buttery angels straight from gluten-free heaven.
Finally, gluten-free desserts that don’t feel like a compromise. If I could eat like like this forever (and never gain a pound) I’d never crave gluten again.