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Gluten-free Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:02pm
I got a cupcake book for Christmas, and one of the best things about the book is that it includes cupcake recipes from scratch that make it a lot easier to adjust them to make them gluten-free. While I still have some work to do on the recipes, this one worked out well enough for me to post here. I assumed that a banana cupcake would work well, and it did, with minor modifications.

1 cup Featherlight mix
2/3 cup GF mix
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 medium ripe bananas
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 dozen muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the buttermilk and set aside. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the banana mixture in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating just until blended. Stir in the vanilla. Then, with the mixer on low, add the boiling water to thin down your batter. If adding nuts, stir them in. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, to 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and tops spring back when touched.

Let these cool, and then start to make the quick caramel frosting. This frosting recipe comes from the Cake Doctor, and really tastes great with a banana cake. The recipe is for 3 cups, which is enough to frost a double layer cake, and more than enough for 24 cupcakes, I had plenty leftover.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups sifted powdered sugar (and this is an instance where the sifting is a must)

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter and sugars. Stir and cook until mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add milk. Stir, and bring mixture bakc to boil. Revmoe from heat, add powdered sugar and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, mix until smooth (this might take a while, I also had to replace the frosting on low heat to make it easier, and I still had a few lumps). Use immediately while still warm or it will harden. If it hardens before you're done with it, then place pan on low heat and mix till it softens, and continue.

I toasted a handful of pecan halves and placed one on each cupcake.

So, I decided that they looked a little too boring with just a single pecan, so I chopped finely the extra toasted nuts, then reapplied some soft frosting to the edges of a few cupcakes, and rolled the soft frosting in the chopped nuts. I'm sure this adds plenty of extra calories, but it certainly looks beautiful, and I'm sure it tastes delicious.
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