Like many of you, this weekend my kitchen contained a pumpkin. Unlike many of you, I felt mine was just too precious to carve, so I did what comes naturally to me. I turned it into CAKE. Cupcakes to be precise – gorgeously light, subtly spiced, gluten-free ones.
These cupcakes provided a perfect opportunity to get in a bit more practice with sugarpaste, too – something of which I have very little experience – which was essentially like being left to my own devices for two hours with grown-up Play Doh. In other words – AWESOME.
I frosted them with orange buttercream, and got to work on creating outrageously cute toppers and decorations – not always uniform in style, but made with love and enthusiasm, nonetheless! This dinky witches hat is probably my favourite…
The recipe for the cake is adapted from a delicious butternut squash chocolate cake from the wonderful Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache, a book I bang on about to anyone who’ll listen, filled with gorgeous gluten-free (often low-fat) cakes made from vegetables.
It’s pretty unique in that it uses no butter at all in the actual cake – the fat element is made up of ground almonds, and its texture created by the grated vegetables. Now, if there’s anything I love more than cake, it’s guilt-free cake, and these little beauties come in at around 200 calories each – with frosting!
I warn you now – finely grating 200g of any unwilling veggie can be a little testing, but it’s well worth it – and quite therapeutic if you’ve got a little time on your hands.
Gluten-Free Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes
- 3 medium eggs
- 160g caster sugar
- 200g peeled and finely grated pumpkin
- 140g white rice flour (or plain flour will do just nicely if you’re not bothered about gluten free!)
- 85g ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1tsp mixed spice
- pinch of salt
- 125ml buttermilk (I used greek yoghurt mixed with a little milk instead)
For the frosting
- 85g butter
- 85g icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- few drops of orange food colouring (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees/160 fan/gas mark 4. Line your muffin tin with cases.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for about 4 minutes, until pale and fluffy. It will be quite runny at this stage, but that’s normal.
- Beat in the grated pumpkin, then flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb, spices and salt.
- Add the buttermilk or yoghurt and beat until well combined.
- Pour into the cupcake cases until around 2/3 full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden on the top and a skewer comes out clean.
- Cream together your butter and sugar, using the milk to help them along. Add in your food colouring a drop or two at a time until you get your desired colour. Be wary of adding too much to get a vibrant colour as it will affect the taste and texture of the icing and it may become unusable (speaking from experience!)
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, ice and decorate as you like em – pumpkins, skeletons, eyeballs – the cakey world’s your oyster!