Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Carrots

This Easter holiday was the first family gathering since I've had to go gluten-free with my diet. geekMan has been such a good sport through the saga of elimination diet diagnosis, but it was a new concept for the rest. We are an incredibly supportive bunch, and so many questions were asked about what I could eat. Pretty much everything at table, and I could avoid the dinner rolls and various breads (I miss my Aunt's date nut bread with dried apricots - yum!).

But then there's dessert. Apple pie. Sounds lovely, but not for me. And not wanting to make everyone else give up a favorite, I offered to bring another dessert. Something I could eat. Something they might want to.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
I adapted the following recipe from Ellie Krieger's, and tweaked the technique à la Ina Garten. Most of the adaptation was converting wheat flours by volume to GF flour by weight (the only way to bake - just ask Shauna at Gluten-free Girl and the Chef). The final result was unbelievably good. Moist, rich. A good semi-sticky crumb, perfect for a carrot cake. I also like that the cupcake to frosting proportions match: exactly 12, and exactly enough. 
Ingredients - Cupcakes
2 large eggs
165g (~5.8oz) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
154g (~5.4oz) Gluten-free flour mix*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (or so) finely shredded peeled carrots (I used 4, but I really need to list this in weight)

Ingredients - Frosting
4oz cream cheese, softened (half a standard package)
85g (3oz) confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 °F (325 °F convection). Place 12 paper liners in muffin cups (I used "Texas-sized" liners so they were tall enough to contain the frosting).

Combine eggs and sugar in bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix well. Add oil, applesauce and vanilla. Mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, measure flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in medium bowl; whisk to combine. Add half dry ingredients to wet ingredients in mixer bowl. Combine carrots with remaining dry ingredients; stir to distribute the carrots. Add to mixer bowl, and stir to combine.

Distribute batter evenly among paper liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

To frost, combine cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest, stirring well to combine. Divide evenly onto the 12 cupcakes.

Cupcakes sprinkled for the occasion.

*Gluten-free flour mixes can be purchased pre-blended, but they are just as easy (and far cheaper) to do on your own. I've been using the proportions of 7 parts flour to 3 parts starch suggested on Gluten-free Girl and the Chef with some success depending on the exact blend I make (she also explains vegetable gums, which I'm trying to avoid although it's not clear I'm sensitive to them; the thought of eating mold in my cupcakes is not appetizing). The blend I used for this recipe was comprised of brown rice flour, GF oat flour, sorghum flour, and tapioca and corn starches.

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