Thursday, January 3, 2013

Low Carb and Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Hmm. Carrots were staring me in the face today. Huge carrots, seriously 2 1/2 inches thick! A friend of my mother-in-law brought them by a few weeks ago, from their garden plot. I've never seen carrots this thick, and they deserved to be baked into something.

However, I'm trying really hard to be good with my healthy carb lifestyle. And that means tempering all those gourmet cupcakes I've been baking (and eating) with something a little lower on the sugar scale. I could have gone with a whole wheat pastry flour, but thought I'd play a little more with gluten free.

These aren't low calorie, thanks to the butter and the oil. But to me, baked goods that try to be both low sugar and low fat do NOT work! You have to have one or the other, or it's going to taste horrid... Trust me. Either that or the texture is way off. But they are still lower in calorie since they don't have the sugar. (Unless you want it there, then feel free to use the real stuff.)

I must note that Mark said, and nearly direct quote, "For being low carb and gluten free, they're really good! You almost can't tell the frosting has no sugar..."  He doesn't always love when I do things with alternative flours, or sweeteners. So this is the highest form of praise. Just saying. :)

1 cup ground almond meal
1/2 cup ground flax seed meal
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt

Mix together in a bowl. Set aside.
Cream together:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup Splenda
1/4 cup brown sugar substitute
2 tbsp molasses 

(You could also use 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar if you want.)

When light and fluffy, add in:

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil

When that's all blended, add in the "flour" mixture and beat until combined. Add in 1/2 cup milk and mix until just combined.

Bake at 325 for 22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean and they aren't too squishy. The tops of these don't spring back like a normal cupcake. So they will need to cool in the tin for a good 5 minutes to help them set before removing them. You want them to finish cooking the inside without burning the bottoms.

Once cooled, you can frost them. I used a cream cheese frosting.

1 8oz package of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
2 cups either powdered sugar, or powdered sugar substitute

To make substitute, place 2 cups of granulated sugar substitute, like Splenda, in a blender or food processor and blend until powdery.

Beat butter and cream cheese until well combined. Add in 2 cups of powered sugar or substitute and beat. You can thin out with some milk or cream if you need. I wanted a softer frosting, so I added in about 2 tbsp of cream. The cream thins it out, but helps it stay fluffy when beaten really well. Beautiful texture!

The cupcakes didn't look so pretty once cooled. Frosting, however, hides a multitude of sins. :)

Since there are eggs in this, and dairy in the frosting, they should be stored in the fridge. Normally this wouldn't be necessary as sugar acts as a preservative, but there isn't any in this.

2 Tasty Tidbits:

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