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  • I'm Kristen, a clumsy but determined home cook and crafter living in the Boston area with my husband, B, and I have an interest in all things food and craft.

    This blog was created to keep track of my various projects and adventures. They may not all be successes, but my goal is to remain unintimidated by whatever engages my curiosity.



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Gluten Free, Sugar Free Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Picture it, my living room, three or so years ago. I was at the tail end of an elimination diet (no sugar, dairy, or gluten), which I’d undertaken in desperation after having been told by my doctor that nothing was wrong with me. Yeah, right.

My carb-loving self was having a mean craving for anything cakey, and I didn’t know how long I’d be able to last if I didn’t get a cupcake or muffin in the very immediate future. Apprehensively, but hungrily, I made my way to the kitchen cupboard that contained my then tiny supply of gluten free baking ingredients. Having never baked gluten free before, I wasn’t sure what to make, but after flipping through my only gluten free cookbook at the time, Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts (still a favorite!), I decided on the carrot spice muffins. It’s amazing how easily I can justify eating several muffins or cupcakes in one sitting when they have something healthy like carrots in them.

I mixed up the batter, using these strange new ingredients and agave nectar as the sweetener, popped the muffins into the oven, and hoped for the best. Looking back, I think I can say that I was extremely lucky to have tried such a great recipe for my first gluten free baking adventure, because I knew after taking my first bite of that slightly spiced, moist muffin that it was completely possible to make something that tasted just as good (or better) than what I was used to in my pre-gluten free days.

As a result of my first experience baking gluten free, carrot-y baked goods still hold a yummy place in my heart, and this time around I tried the prize carrot cake recipe from Bette Hagman’s The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods, which has become another of my cookbook favorites. Though I was intrigued by the fact that the original recipe called for a healthy amount of pureed green tomatoes, they’re not exactly easy to find in a city, so I replaced them with applesauce, which provided the same moistness, as well as a little bit of sweetness. I do wonder how different the flavor would’ve been if I would’ve used the tomatoes, because I can tell you that this cake was absolutely delicious even without them. Seriously, I think that this may rank in my top three favorite gluten free recipes. The texture was amazing, and boy was this cake ever moist, even after three days (that’s how long the cupcakes lasted) and even though I used the sugar free sweetener xylitol, which tends to suck the moisture out of baked goods.

I halved the recipe because I didn’t want to make a full cake, but you can double it if you want to make a three layer cake, which is what the original recipe made.

Gluten Free, Sugar Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
makes approximately 12 standard-sized cupcakes

Note: Try substituting crushed pineapple for the applesauce 1:1 for a little more “tropical”. Because pineapple is very sweet, you may want to use one to two less tablespoons of sweetener if you’re concerned about the cake being too sweet.

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
adapted from The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods

1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. gluten free featherlight blend (find the recipe in this post)
1/2 + 1/8 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 cup xylitol
1/4 tsp. liquid stevia
2 eggs
3/4 cup coconut oil
6 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

FOR THE FROSTING
adapted from my grandmother’s recipe

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup xylitol (you can replace 1:1 with sugar)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/4 tsp. agar agar (optional – to prevent the cream from weeping)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, and set aside.

2. FOR THE CAKE: In a medium bowl, whisk together the featherlight flour blend, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and xylitol (or sugar).

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs slightly. Add the stevia, coconut oil, and applesauce and whisk until mixed. Stir slowly while adding the dry ingredients. Stir only until incorporated, then stir in the carrots and nuts.

4. Spoon or scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on racks before frosting.

5. FOR THE FROSTING: Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, mix the xylitol and agar agar (or gelatin), if using. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. You can chill the frosting for an hour or so until it’s firm, or frost immediately and refrigerate the frosted cupcakes.

Posted in Alternatively Sweetened, Cakes and Cookies, Desserts, Favorites, Food, Gluten Free | 5 Comments »

5 Responses

  1. Steph says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing, I have a good friend who just found out she is allergic to sugar so I will definitely pass this on :)



  2. Farah says:

    Hello I am one of very old followers of you, and tries many of your recipes, and in which some are really so good that I make many times…

    I just start a blog about something crafty, please if you pay a visit there, may be you find something interesting …
    Love



  3. Laura Ruth says:

    My daughter is gluten intolerant but can consume sugar… how do you sub the sugar back into your recipes when you use the xylitol and or stevia? Is there a ratio?



  4. Kristen says:

    Laura – The xylitol in my recipes can be subbed 1:1 for sugar, and 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia = 1 cup of sugar, so in this recipe a 1/4 tsp. would be 1/4 cup of sugar. So, 1 cup of sugar total as a substitution for the xylitol and stevia.



  5. Claire says:

    Wow this recipe looks so good! I also like to use xylitol as sugar substitute as opposed to other forms of sweeteners. I have been trying to use xylitol in baking vanilla cupcakes and the result has been very dry cakes. I wonder if I can just take this recipe as a base recipe to make vanilla cupcakes. If you have tried it with success I’d greatly appreciate your sharing the recipe!



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