Sunday, 24 July 2011

Year of the Cupcake #1- Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Icing

As part of my 101 Things I decided to declare my 29th year Year of the Cupcake.

So here goes.

I am now 29 years old, plus four days. On my 29th year plus two days, I (quitely, internally) declared it to be YEAR OF THE CUPCAKE!!! (that's supposed to be said using the same emphasis as the commentator on that classic gameshow Sale of the Century used to say it - SAAAAle of the CENTury!!!)

I feel like I need more fanfare here because this really is a big thing for me!!!

It's not quite the fanfare I was after (and here's a disturbing fact: I Google Images'd "Robin Hood Men In Tights Bugle" because I had a certain (fabricated, it would seem) image in my head, and it asked me if I had meant "Robin Hood Men In Tights Bulge"...) but I think it does the trick:

So. It's the Year of the Cupcake, which means completely stamping out my cupcake phobia for once and for all. I have started out with something a bit trickier than usual - gluten free cupcakes. I adapted an existing recipe because the health food store didn't have the type of flour I sought, and I also added a magic ingredient which I will go into more detail on later.

1 1/3c gluten free flour (the one I used was a blend of maize and tapioca starch, and soy and rice flours)
2/3c maize cornflour
2tsp gluten free baking powder
1tsp bicarb soda
2tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp xanthum gum
1c brown sugar
1 1/2c grated carrot (this was about 2 medium carrots but I am aware that the word "medium" is quite subjective!)
1c chopped walnuts
1/2c extra light olive oil
1/2c sour cream
3 eggs

125g Philly cream cheese
1tsp grated orange rind
1 1/2c icing sugar, sifted.

* * * * *

Sift dry ingredients (I don't count brown sugar as "dry" because it doesn't pass through a seive, and almost behaves like a liquid in many ways. I almost took a video of it to prove my point, but I'll leave that for another (quiet, boring, slow) day!).

(Quick lesson on dry ingredients, one of which I already knew and you probably did too, but thought I'd share anyway:

Lesson #1 - cornflour ain't always CORNflour. Yaknow, player? Word.

See, this is CORNflour (please disregard the Best Before date. I do!):

And this is "cornflour" (aka wheaten cornflour, which, WTF, people??!?!?!):

And the fact that there is actually a picture of wheat on the box really screams out that it contains wheat, but I never understood why you would want wheat in CORNflour. I'm sure there's a reason, but I'm not convinced that it's a particularly good one, especially not from those with gluten intolerances!

Lesson #2 - my magic ingredient: Xanthum gum. Oh yes. It is expensive, and this was the first time I had used it so I wasn't quite sure how things would pan out both with and without it, but suspect it was by and large reponsible for my cupcakes being nice and springy and elastic in a non-crumbly, non-gym-mat sort of way common to many gluten free baked goods. I'm not willing to screw with perfection, so the next time I make this recipe I will most likely include the xanthum gum. The packet said to use half a teaspoon in a family sized cake so I figured that equate to a batch of cupcakes. Sort of. So I guess it's not that expensive when you take into account the fact that, at half a teaspoon per cake, this particular packet will last about a bajillion years. Lesson over. Once you've looked at the below picture, that is. I just thought a bracket would look pretty silly hanging about on its own below the photo.)

Stir in brown sugar, carrots and walnuts.

Mix oil, sour cream and eggs together, then stir into the dry-ish mix.

Bake for 7 minutes at 170oC to get the rising thing happening (the flour packet told me that was important with GF flour) and then another 8-10 minutes at 160oC. Cakes are cooked when a skewer comes out cleanish and it doesn't look like a wet puddle in the middle. Note that my larger cakes were a bit on the moist side but still nice. You probably don't want GF cakes to overcook because they're naturally quite dry, so I think that in this case it is particularly important to make sure all cupcakes are a uniform size. Mine were close but a couple were too big and a couple were too small; averaged out, I think it made about 18 cupcakes. Note that two are missing in the below photo. Actually, no, don't note that two are missing *whistles nonchalantly*

Note that the original recipe was for a 20cm round pan and you were to bake it for an hour and then stand for 5 minutes before turning out.

While they're cooling, beat the Philly and the orange rind together until they look sort of... soft? Fluffy? Not a solid block, anyhow, and not lumpy. And then add in the icing sugar, a heaped spoonfull at a time, and beat until it's nice and icing-y. Spread it on.

Admire the beauty (although, granted, not as pretty as these ones).

Eat it.

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