Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yummy GF Crystallized Ginger Carrot Cupcakes

A relaxed mind is a creative mind
-Yogi Tea bag

I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, I start creating new baked goods in my head. It was wakefulness that had me up at 5AM a recent Sunday morning to try out a carrot cupcake recipe I had been mulling over. Several weeks ago, we harvested the carrots—an entire row of them—which yielded over 30 pounds of carrots (as an aside, don’t listen to them when they tell you to thin the rows since we didn’t, and our carrots were massive.) Ever since then, I have been mining carrot recipes. We’ve had roasted carrots, steamed carrots with rosemary, carrots and summer squash, and sherried carrot sauce. Chester, our Golden, has eaten his share of them, and Alex has taken them to horseback riding lessons for his pal, Norfy. I still have about 20 pounds left!
Something sweet and carrot-y was in order, and I decided to work on a muffin-like variation on a carrot cake. Carrot cake seems to me like it has the potential for the perfect marriage of sweet and healthy. I even remember the first carrot cake I ever ate. It was sent to me for my first birthday away from home in college by my sister, who was also in college. Although it was scrumptious, I think she was more interested in mailing a cake using a newfound packing method—the cake was sitting in a box totally surrounded by popping corn (popped, of course!) I remember opening the package to what looked like a massive popcorn ball. But was easy to brush the popcorn from the cream cheese icing, and by that time, my room mate was drooling and oohing and awwing “Oh, yummy, a carrot cake!” It was then that I had my first bite of carrot cake, and it has been a favorite ever since.

So here is the product of my early-morning musings, and it is actually reasonably healthy as baked goods go. The recipe produces 24 standard-size cupcakes. The recipe contains far less fat than most carrot cakes, with the fat coming from only ½ C canola oil and 4 large eggs. Of course, frosting changes all that, but you certainly don’t need to frost them. The twist in this recipe is the use of crystallized ginger and orange juice, which results in kind of taste bursts of ginger against a carrot-orange backdrop. I’ve been doing my best these days to avoid corn, so I used a gluten free flour base of 1/3 rice flour, 1/3 tapioca flour, and 1/3 arrowroot starch, as well as tapioca-based powdered sugar (by Wholesome Sweetener.)

Crystallized Ginger Carrot Cupcakes (makes 24)

3 C GF flour blend (I used 1 C rice flour, 1 C tapioca starch, 1 C arrowroot starch)
¾ C sugar
¾ C powdered sugar
1 C finely shredded carrots (about 4 medium ones)
1/3 C finely chopped crystallized ginger
½ C canola oil
¾ C orange juice
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Blend all dry ingredients together, except baking soda.
3. Add in wet ingredients, as well as carrots, and mix on high for 2 minutes.
4. Mix in baking soda, and spoon/ladle into cupcake pans.
5. Bake approximately 28 min @350 degrees.

Ice with vanilla or cream cheese icing (I used vanilla icing with crushed pineapple.)

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