Monday, November 7, 2011

Simple Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting (GF)

I’m not one to get up on my soap box about food issues. Don’t get me wrong, bring up most other social and political subjects and you might not be able to shut me up... food has just never been one of them. When Mr. Pixie Crust and I first embarked on our gluten free and (temporarily) dairy free diet, we started to become more and more interested in watching documentaries that discuss raw food and organic produce and animal products. I think it was one of those things where we felt better about not being able to eat (delicious) processed junk food when we convinced ourselves how much healthier we would be.

One particular documentary that we enjoyed is called Vanishing of the Bees. It focuses on Colony Collapse Disorder, which is a phenomenon impacting more and more honeybee colonies in the U.S. Essentially, bees are dying off from pollinating crops that are treated with pesticides because of the impact of the chemicals on honeybees’ immune systems. In addition to the use of pesticides, many beekeepers feed bees processed sugar and water, instead of natural plant nectars, which extenuates the problem of weakened levels of immunity.

All this is to say that bees are integral to humanity’s ability to maintain a proper diet of fruits and vegetables and they are currently being hurt by the very people who need them. To try to do my part (as teeny tiny as it is) I’ve decided to buy carefully sourced organic, raw honey from now on. The particular honey used in this recipe is from Trader Joe’s and is from a part of India where the beekeepers actually climb the trees to collect the honey. Cool, huh?

In addition to buying organic honey, I’ve been trying to remember that bees are important social creatures and not just scary insects out to sting me (I’m a wuss with any and all types of bugs).

Anyhow, you are going to love these banana cupcakes- they are not only simple to make, but are perfectly moist and rich. You would never guess that they are gluten free.

For the Banana Cupcakes (Gluten Free)
Makes 2-dozen cupcakes

3/4 cup superfine sweet rice flour
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, unsalted at room temperature
3 tbsp canola oil
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3-4 bananas)
1/4 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners, set aside.

Measure and sift together flours, starches, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter, oil and sugar. Add vanilla. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add water and 1/2 of the mashed banana. Add the rest of the dry ingredients, mix and add the rest of the banana. Continue mixing until well combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for a few seconds before using batter.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

3 sticks cold butter, unsalted
1 8 oz block cream cheese
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together. Once well combined, add honey. Lastly, add vanilla and confectioner's sugar. Frost cupcakes as desired.

I frosted my cupcakes by using a large round pastry tip and applying round mounds of frosting, small mounds on top of larger mounds. I then cut out a hexagon shaped piece of black fondant, dabbed with water, and dipped into black sanding sugar. The yellow center is a large yellow sprinkle.

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