Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

It's fall! And fall means happy comfort foods, and all things pumpkin! So when someone posted a recipe for a pumpkin bread with buttercream icing on my facebook wall, I couldn't resist the temptation.  I was out of wheat flour, however, and that almost deterred me. ALMOST. Because I'd been craving something pumpkin-y, I couldn't get this cake out of my mind. So, I mixed some gluten free flour together, and turned the pumpkin bread into gluten free pumpkin cupcakes.  And mini cupcakes.

This is only my second foray into gluten free baking; I made gluten free waffles, and they turned out great. So I was relatively sure this recipe would work, and I was excited to try xanthan gum for the first time. I also added flaxseed meal, because I had it on hand, have never used it, and it seems like a healthy thing one should stick in a pumpkin cupcake.

When I pulled the cupcakes out of the oven, they looked normal; they rose even without the gluten. And they were soft! Yay! I cooled them, and made the frosting.  I've only made vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream, and rum buttercream (mmmmmmmmm), so the pumpkin in the buttercream seemed odd to me, but I decided to go with it anyhow. I'm glad I did! It gives the frosting a lovely slightly orange color, and it tastes wonderful!

The cupcakes are unbelievably moist, thanks to the pumpkin. And they could be eaten plain, they are so flavorful; but then I'd have to eat the pumpkin buttercream on it's own, and I'm sure that would put me in a diabetic coma. Plus, the cupcakes are just so pretty frosted. : )

Pumpkin Cupcakes

1 3/4 c gluten free flour mix (recipe below)
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place paper liners in a cupcake pan, set aside.

Combine dry ingredients (flour through allspice) in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined; set aside.

In another bowl, or bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs on medium-high
speed for two minutes or until lightened in color. Add the brown sugar and white sugar, and beat for about two minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the canola oil and pumpkin puree, mix until thoroughly combined. Add half the flour mixture, beat in just until combined; beat in the rest. Fold in the pecans using a rubber spatula. The batter will seem quite thick.

Fill the paper cupcake liners about 2/3 full (I used an ice cream scoop). Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Tablespoons canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons half & half or milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional, for sprinkling on top

Cream the butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and vanilla, blending well. Add
powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition. Add half
& half or milk and blend well. NOTE: This makes a very thick buttercream
frosting. If you want a thinner, creamier frosting, add more half & half or
milk until you get the desired consistency.

After frosting the cooled cupcakes, sprinkle with chopped pecans or walnuts if desired.
Gluten Free Flour Mix
6 cups white rice flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour

For each cup of flour mix, use 1 tsp of gluten substitute - xanthan gum, guar gum, or pre-gel starch.

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