Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

I just realized that in one week, two things will happen: one – this blog will be celebrating it’s first birthday (I must think of something special to post) and two – I will begin my mad dash like I do every year to get my stuff done to enter in my hometown’s Fair. I have been entering various things in the Tri-County Fair for at least half my life. I’ve won countless (I say countless because seriously I’ve lost count) ribbons and awards for my items.

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with my Celiac Disease that I began entering my baked goods. I was too scared to do so before. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Entering food items, like anything else, is nerve-racking, especially the first time when you don’t know what the judges look for. I try to enter different things every year, but usually enter the same old things because they are fast and easy. It’s hard to enter as many things as you want when you work 40 hours a week.

After last year’s Fair, I was asked by my (distant) cousin Susie to give the Fair an idea of what classes they could do for a Gluten-Free Division. At the time that I submitted my suggestions to Susie, nobody knew if the Fair would even go for it. I’ve had to enter my desserts with non-gluten-free items. One year I did win first place on my peanut butter cookies. Who knew the judges would like the gluten-free ones better than the normal, regular ones. This year, my mom opened the book and scanned the various divisions of the baked goods category and told me that it wasn’t there. A little while later, she was looking through it again knowing she had to have missed it and there it was, in between “For Men Only!” and “Baking with Honey”. For the first time in four years, I get to compete with either myself or with others who have possibly “mastered” gluten-free baking. For the first time I don’t feel quite so alone in this small town of mine.

So now comes the big question, as the entry forms are due no later than Saturday. What do I enter? I’ve done chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate biscotti, chocolate sprinkled cookies, peanut butter cookies, corn bread, banana bread, pumpkin cookies, peanut butter & jelly thumbprint cookies, and my 21 & Over cookies (my own original recipe; I’ll post it, no worries) between the regular divisions and the Cookie Contest. Last night I experimented and made Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing. My coworkers and I agree that these are a must enter. I’ll figure it out. I always do. In the mean time, look a recipe…

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 cups white rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp allspice

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp guar gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in pan(s).

Sift together white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and set aside. In a small bowl, mix milk and pumpkin together until smooth and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Slowly add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk/pumpkin mixture alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour in three parts. Add vanilla and guar gum and continue to beat until just mixed.

Fill cupcake tins about 3/4 full. Level batter by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of more level cupcakes. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely and cover tops with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing or the icing of your choice.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temperature

1 8-oz package cream cheese (I use Toffuti® Better than Cream Cheese for a non-dairy substitute)

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

about 2 tbsp cinnamon

In a mixer, cream butter for about 30 seconds. Add cream cheese and cream until well blended. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cinnamon. Increase or decrease the amount of cinnamon depending on taste. Icing should be a little on the thicker side. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar until desired consistency.