These gluten free chocolate cupcakes are moist, fluffy, spongey and undetectably dairy free. They’re easy to make, just sweet enough and made ultra delicious with a simple dairy free buttercream. They’re the perfect way to satisfy your chocolate craving!
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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I felt it was necessary to publish a (gluten free) chocolate cupcake recipe. But Valentine’s Day or not, these cupcakes deserve your attention.
These chocolate cupcakes are fluffy, moist, spongey, cakey, chocolatey, perfectly sweet, and all the things a chocolate cupcake would be. They’re both gluten free and dairy free, but if you did a blind taste test, I promise you would have NO idea.
So while they’re the perfect dessert for you and your significant other, they’re also perfect for a solo Tuesday night with some Netflix and wine.
How to make gluten free chocolate cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add all of the wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl. This includes the egg, non-dairy milk, sugar, oil, vanilla and apple cider vinegar.
Beat with an electric mixer until well combined (this should only take a few seconds). You just want the egg to be mixed in with the other ingredients.
All in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Beat just until everything is combined.
Careful not to over mix because it can make the cupcakes airy and gummy. Just mix on low speed until it’s a uniform color and there aren’t any large chunks of flour. Beating cupcakes with an electric mixer is what makes them fluffy because of the air bubbles, but too much beating and you’ll create too many air bubbles which will result in a very dense cupcake.
Once the batter is ready, use a cookie scoop or spoon and add the batter in 12 lined cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 of the way full. A cookie scoop or ice cream scoop works well because it helps keep the cupcakes an even size.
Add to the center of the oven for 16-22 minutes. Check at 16 minutes and if a toothpick comes out clean, remove from the oven.
They will continue to cook slightly as they sit, so careful not to over bake. In my oven, they are generally done at the 18 or 19 minute mark. Let them sit in the cupcake/muffin tin on the counter until completely cooled. After about 10 or so minutes, you can safely transfer them to a wire rack.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting or removing the liner to keep them moist and to keep their shape. The liner will hold onto the cupcake if they aren’t cooled yet, so truly, let them cool. Frost with a piping bag or keep it simple and use a knife!
How to make dairy free chocolate buttercream
Dairy free buttercream is actually much easier than you would think. Buttercream is essentially a mixture of powdered sugar and butter, so to make it dairy free, all you need to do is use dairy free butter.
You want to use room temperature butter so it’s easy to beat but not too soft, but if yours was in the fridge, microwave for about 20 seconds and you should be good to go.
Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the milk and vanilla until well combined.
Beat in the sifted cocoa powder. Finally, sift the powdered sugar and beat it in 1 cup at a time until all 4 cups have been used. So, add in 1 cup, beat, add in another cup, beat, etc. If the buttercream gets too thick, thin it out with 1 tbsp of milk at a time. If it’s too thin, beat in more powdered sugar.
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Frost with a piping bag or keep it simple and use a knife!
I used these large piping tips to get the ruffled look, but you can also take a blob of buttercream on a knife and swirl it around and it’ll taste just the same.
If you are going to use piping tips, the consistency of the buttercream is really important. Too thin and it won’t hold the shape, too thick and it won’t twirl around the cupcake. When in doubt, this video tutorial is really helpful when frosting!
Recipe tips & tricks
- There are other GF all purpose baking flours out there, but not all of them are the same blend. You can definitely try using other ones, but it may yield a slightly different result. Whichever you use, make sure it has xanthan gum in the mix.
- Once prepared, these cupcakes will store for about 3-5 days. Keep them in an air tight container at room temperature for best results. Keeping them sealed will ensure these cupcakes stay nice and moist.
- Without the buttercream, these cupcakes are sweet, but not too sweet. Keep this in mind if you are planning to eat them like muffins without any frosting. You can use 1 cup of light brown sugar instead of 3/4 cup if you want them sweeter.
- If you’re wondering if gluten free cupcakes can be frozen, the short answer is yes! However, you’ll want to freeze them before they are frosted. I do not recommend storing these in the fridge, because gluten free baked goods can dry out if they get too cold unfortunately.
- These cupcakes are made extra moist with the help of some non-dairy milk, eggs and oil. I used avocado oil but melted dairy free butter also does the trick. The eggs also help the cupcakes get nice and fluffy, so be sure to use a large egg for this recipe. These cupcakes will be (and stay) nice and moist as long as they are not over baked!
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Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg (ideally at room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup neutral oil (I used avocado oil, but melted coconut will work)
- 1 cup non dairy milk at room temperature
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF 1:1 All Purpose Baking Flour (blue bag, spoon and level to measure)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder ( spoon and level to measure)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add all of the wet (first 6) ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
- Beat with an electric mixer until well combined (this should only take a few seconds).
- All in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Beat just until everything is combined. Careful not to over mix because it can make the cupcakes too airy and gummy.
- Once the batter is ready, use a cookie scoop or spoon and add the batter in 12 lined cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 of the way full.
- Add to the center of the oven for 18-22 minutes. Check at 18 minutes and if a toothpick comes out clean, remove from the oven. They will continue to cook slightly as they sit, so careful not to over bake because this will dry out the cupcake. In my oven, they are generally done at the 20 minute mark.
- To make the buttercream, beat the room temperature butter with an electric mixer until fluffy.
- Beat in the milk and vanilla until well combined.
- Beat in the sifted cocoa powder. Finally, beat in the sifted powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until all 4 cups have been used. If the buttercream gets too thick, thin it out with 1 tbsp of milk at a time. If it’s too thin, beat in more powdered sugar.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Frost with piping tips or keep it simple and use a knife!