Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Easter Bunnies

Spring is Here!

We've had the lightest and easiest winter ever for this area. We've been saying "Spring Spring Spring" for months now, when we should have still been locked in winter.

But now it is official.

It is Spring!

Happy Easter!

I have often celebrated Easter with a gluten-free carrot cake. But it has been a few years since I've made Carrot Cake Bunnies.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth suggesting we make these again this year, there was cheering and jumping.

I'll take that as a "Yes, let's make them!"

So, we did. And they are completely gluten-free!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The first step in making these bunnies is gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes. I'm not one who likes nuts or raisins in my carrot cake.

Purist? Maybe.

Simplicity is grand.

2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup safflower oil
4 eggs - room temperature

Preheat oven to 350º.

Mix well flours, sugar, gums, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in mixer. Stir in carrots, oil, and eggs. Mix well.

We wanted to use large baking cups that did not fit in our muffin tin. And since they seemed a bit floppy, we doubled them up for the baking.

Fill each large paper cup half full. Arrange loosely on baking sheet, keeping them from touching.

Not like this. These were too crowded.

Bake these for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how full they are and on your oven.

If they touch each other, you will get flat sided cupcakes. I got a few of those.

Let these cool completely before trying to ice them. You don't want melted icing and decorations sliding off your cupcakes!

This recipe made 20 large cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Icing

While your cupcakes are cooling, you can make the icing and then set it aside for a bit, if needed.

6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing well between each addition. Beat well.

For these bunnies, we only planned to decorate eight of them, so I made only a half a batch of icing. It was just the right amount.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Bunnies

If your cupcakes are still not completely cool after making the icing, then use the time to prepare your bunny decorations.

We used all gluten-free candy to make these.

large marshmallows
Mike & Ike candies
SweetTarts Jelly Beans
Fruit Roll-Ups

We started by making grass. Every bunny loves grass, didn't you know?

My daughter was a whiz with the knife to cut all of those precious blades of grass from some green Fruit Roll-Ups.

Beautiful, Babe!

Don't worry, it won't look like an alligator's mouth or a zipper when we get done with it!

While she was diligently working on that, I started making the bunny ears. Starting with a large marshmallow, I used kitchen shears to snip off the "corners" of the marshmallow. Then, my daughter sliced off the edges of strawberry (pink) Mike & Ike candies for the insides of the ears.

Luckily for us, the inside of the snipped marshmallow is quite sticky, so the pink Mike & Ike slices stick well to the marshmallow.

Cute, huh?!

Then we sliced off the ends of pink and blue jelly beans for the noses and eyes, respectively.

The whiskers were a challenge. I had originally bought Twizzlers shoestrings for them, but Twizzlers are not gluten-free. Bummer! I love Twizzlers! Correction: I used to love Twizzlers.

Since I wanted to make these completely gluten-free, we started experimenting with the red parts of the Fruit Roll-Ups. We tried rolling pieces and slicing pieces. Thinner slices seemed to be the best.

Finally, the tails. We used the snipped leftover marshmallows, snipped off the rest of the dried outer part, and then my daughter used her fingers to "fluff" up the sticky insides of the marshmallow. This made it look more like a cottontail!

Assembling all the parts was the final challenge.

In order to get the eyes, nose and ears to stick to the bunny head, which is just a whole, unsnipped marshmallow, I used a toothpick to poke through the dry outer layer and get the sticky inside out.

Then we pushed the eyes in, laid the ends of the whiskers in the hole for the nose, pushed the nose on top of the whisker ends. I poked holes in the top of the head and worked the ends of the ears down in the holes just a bit.

Then, we iced the cupcakes with the cream cheese icing, placed the grass around the outside edge, positioned the finished head, and tailed it off with a tail.

Oh, topped it off with a tail.

I love how all the ears are angled differently, giving each a bit of personality.

Adorable and delicious! And completely gluten-free!

Happy Easter, Bunny!

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