Saturday, September 12, 2009
A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. For those who may not know, it's a genetic autoimmune disorder of the small intestine caused by a reaction to a gluten protein found primarily in wheat, rye, and barley (but also, in smaller amounts, in oats and spelt) (Wikipedia). Symptoms of this can include diarrhea, malnutrition, bloating, and fatigue.
Many of us have only recently heard about Celiac disease (and many still haven't), but it's by no means a new or rare disorder. Approximately 1 in 133 people in America suffer from Celiac disease according to this article. Yet Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl writes that only about 3% of those have been diagnosed. That's a big problem since, left untreated, it can do very serious damage to your body. And the only treatment that works is to cut gluten out of your diet completely and permanently. Fortunately, awareness of Celiac and other types of wheat sensitivity is growing. Especially through the internet, there's now a wide variety of gluten-free (GF) products, information, and support available.
Now all of this comes back to my friend, whose birthday was last week. See, she'd requested pumpkin cupcakes months ago. But that was before her diagnosis. My old (all purpose flour) recipe was no good now! Luckily, this recipe was only a Google search away. These cuppin' cakes rose really well and tasted surprisingly good. The bean flours in the GF mix I used did leave a slight aftertaste though, so next time I'll play around with making a bean-free mix.
Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Makes 16-17 cupcakes
XIAOLU'S NOTE: I omitted the raisins and nuts called and STILL got 1 more cupcake than Elise said I would. Either my wrappers are tiny, or you should expect to get at least 20.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin purée
2 cups Bob's Red Mill's gluten-free flour
(I replaced 1/4 cup with tapioca starch to try to minimize the "beany" taste as much as possible but Elise used all GF mix)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional, but recommended on the GF flour package)
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 (see note below)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (omitted)
1 cup raisins (omitted)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup (I only used 1 Tbsp cause that's all I had)
1 cup confectioner's powdered sugar, sifted
ELISE'S 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.
Preheat oven to 350°F, and place rack in the center of the oven.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses and honey, until as light and fluffy as it will be, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the pumpkin purée and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, sift together flours, 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.
Set paper cupcake holders in a muffin tin. Spoon the batter into the cupcake paper cups, close to the top of the cups. Bake approximately 18 minutes (mine took exactly 22 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
Using an electric mixer, mix together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add maple syrup and confectioners' sugar and mix to combine. Once cupcakes have cooled, apply frosting.