Sometime a few months back, I found myself standing in my kitchen with a carrot in one hand and a piece of dark chocolate in the other. I was having an unbearable chocolate craving, and I knew that if I let myself I might just eat the whole bar.
I figured the carrot would sort of balance things out - like when I was a kid and my parents would force me to eat a bite of "good food" between every couple of french fries. It worked, too. I only ate the one piece of chocolate, instead of the whole bar. But to my surprise, I also found that the bitterness of dark chocolate is a perfect complement to the slight sweentess of a carrot.
That got the wheels turning. Chocolate and carrot. Carrot and chocolate. Chocolate cake is delicious... and carrot cake is delicious... hmmm. I started looking around for an excuse to bake.
I finally found a couple of recipes to start with. David Lebovitz has a brilliant recipe for Devil's Food Cake, which I used as a starting point. From there, I scoured the internet for the perfect carrot cake recipe. I found one that sounded delicious here, at Allrecipes.com. After a little gluten-free tweaking, I found myself with a damn good cupcake recipe. It's as chocolatey as you would hope for, but stays incredibly moist thanks to the addition of the shredded carrots.
Gluten Free Chocolate Carrot Cake:
This cake is really chocolatey, so if you want more of the carrot cake flavor to come through you may want to reduce the cocoa powder by a couple of tablespoons and replace it with flour. If you wanted to get really extravagant, you could substitute a cup of shredded coconut for one cup of the carrots.
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato or corn starch
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups shredded carrots
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin tins
1. Shred the carrots:
The first time I did this I shredded them a bit too finely in the food processor. I think it actually tastes better if you leave some larger bits in there - you get that nice carroty crunch that reminds you it isn't just chocolate cake.
2. Mix the dry ingredients:
Combine the rice flour, millet flour, tapioca starch and potato starch. Add cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and stir until everything is thoroughly mixed.
3. Mix the wet ingredients:
Mix the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
4. Finishing the batter:
Add the dry ingredients bit by bit, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Then add the shredded carrot (or carrot and coconut if you so choose!) and continue mixing.
Drop the batter into your muffin tins, about two tablespoons per muffin. (This will make a small cupcake. They're very dense, and I found that a two-or-three-bite sized muffin was enough for me. If you want them a bit larger, use more batter and bake a bit longer.)
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Serve as is, with a dusting of powdered sugar, or with your favorite cream cheese frosting. (I would give you a recipe, but as I recently discovered the powdered sugar and cream cheese are kind of different over here, so what works for me probably won't work for you!)
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