Many people are sensitive, some extremely so, to gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Shauna of Gluten-free Girl has a whole blog devoted to gluten-free cooking (with recipes and gorgeous photography, by the way). As someone who had to give up wheat for 10 years, I can tell you that it isn’t easy, living without pizza, bread, and pasta. We still don’t eat much wheat around here. Many of the pasta recipes we make with rice or spelt pasta. The hard thing is finding good gluten-free baked goods. So many of them really taste awful, the consistency of sawdust. Fortunately, the wheat/gluten alternative flours appear to be improving.
I found a bag of this Wheat and Gluten Free Baking Flour from Red Mill in the health food section of our local grocery store and decided to try it out on a batch of pumpkin cupcakes. I had low expectations for this experiment, and thought it would help to dress up the recipe a bit with nuts and raisins, molasses and honey, anything actually, to help the cupcakes be more edible. The result surprised all of us. The cupcakes were delicious! Really good. Sort of like carrot cake, a good carrot cake.
Note that Red Mill’s Gluten-Free Flour contains the following ingredients: garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sweet white sorghum flour, fava flour.
Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature (I only had 3/4 of a stick so I used that and added 2 Tbsp of olive oil. It worked fine.)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 cups Red Mill's gluten-free flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk*
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup raisins
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup confectioner's powdered sugar, sifted
*Note to make your own buttermilk, combine 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let stand 10 minutes before using.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. In a mixer, beat the butter, molasses, brown sugar, and honey together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. (Start on low speed and increase to high speed to get the mixture light and fluffy.)
2 Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and pumpkin purée. Beat until well mixed.
3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients—the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
4 Use a wooden spoon to mix in the pecans and raisins.
5 Arrange paper cupcake holders in a muffin tin. Portion out the batter into the cupcake paper cups, filling them close to the top of the cups. Bake about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven to a rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
6 In an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add maple syrup and confectioners' sugar and mix to combine. Once cupcakes have cooled, apply the frosting.
Yield: Makes 16 cupcakes.