These gluten-free chocolate cupcakes are dairy-free, oil-free, and made with almond flour. They're topped with a delicious, vegan chocolate buttercream frosting that is so easy to make! These cupcakes are made without xanthan gum which makes them even simpler, and still gluten-free! You will love them.
These cupcakes make for a great dessert for a party, event, or holiday because everyone is sure to love them, even if they're not gluten-free. My family devoured these so quickly, and none of them eat gluten-free or dairy-free. They couldn't tell the difference with this recipe!
If you're looking for another delicious cupcake recipe, don't forget to check out these vegan lemon-raspberry cupcakes with jam filling. They're perfect for events, too!
You only need 8 ingredients to make these cupcakes. Seriously, they're so simple and easy! The chocolate flavor comes from the organic cacao powder and the sweetness comes naturally from maple syrup and coconut sugar.
- Almond flour - Almond flour is a gluten-free flour made from blanched almonds. It gives these cupcakes a soft and light texture.
- Coconut sugar - Coconut sugar is an unrefined sugar that has a taste similar to brown sugar. It helps add sweetness to the cupcakes.
- Cacao powder - Cacao powder is what makes these cupcakes chocolate! Cacao powder is packed with nutrients which makes it better than cocoa powder in this recipe.
- Baking powder - This is a leavening agent that helps the cupcakes rise.
- Salt - A pinch of salt helps balance the flavors in the cupcakes.
- Eggs - Eggs are necessary to bind the ingredients together and give the cupcakes a nice rise as they bake.
- Pure maple syrup - Using maple syrup gives the cupcakes their moist texture while adding some sweetness to offset the cacao powder. You may also use honey.
- Pure vanilla extract - Vanilla adds extra flavor and dimension to the cake.
Simple ingredients like these make for an easy cupcake recipe! No need to make things complicated, right?
As I said, these are easy cupcakes! You don't need much equipment to make them successfully. There are only a few items you really need:
- Electric or Stand Mixer (for making the frosting)
- Standard Cupcake Tin
- Silicone or Paper Cupcake Liners
To frost the cupcakes, you can choose to use these items if you have them:
- Piping Bag
- Piping Tip (I used a star tip)
If you don't want to use a piping bag, you can frost the cupcakes with a butter knife with no problem. It's your choice!
Making the Cupcakes
You don't need a mixer to make the cupcake batter. Just a spoon and a whisk!
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 325 F. Add 12 cupcake liners to a muffin tin and spray the inside of the liners with non-stick cooking spray. Because there is no oil in these cupcakes, it's important to grease the liners so the cupcakes don't stick.
STEP 2: Stir dry ingredients. In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
STEP 3: Whisk wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth.
STEP 4: Add wet and dry. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
STEP 5: Add batter to tin. Use a spoon to scoop the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. They should be about ¾ of the way full.
STEP 6: Bake for 45-50 minutes. The cupcakes should rise and a toothpick should come out with moist crumbs when they are about done. Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack.
TIP: Remember to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them, or the frosting will melt and make a mess!
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
These cupcakes are topped with a delicious chocolate buttercream frosting that is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. It's very easy to make and comes together in just a few minutes with a mixer. You only need 6 ingredients.
- Vegan butter - To make a vegan buttercream frosting, use vegan butter!
- Cacao powder - This is what makes this a chocolate buttercream frosting.
- Unsweetened almond milk - Use unsweetened almond milk or another non-dairy milk to thin the frosting and make it a pipeable consistency.
- Pure vanilla extract - Vanilla adds more flavor to the frosting.
- Powdered sugar - This is the key ingredient that thickens the frosting and provides sweetness.
- Salt - Adding salt will knock down the sweetness so the buttercream isn't too sweet.
Making the Frosting
Using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer makes it super easy to whip the buttercream together. You can do this while the cupcakes are baking or cooling.
STEP 1: Beat butter and cacao powder. In a large bowl, beat together the vegan butter and cacao powder until incorporated together.
STEP 2: Add milk, vanilla, and salt. Add the unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, and salt to the mixture and mix on medium speed until creamy.
STEP 3: Add sugar. In small increments, add the powdered sugar to the bowl and mix until no sugar remains and the frosting is light and fluffy.
TIP: Depending on your frosting needs, you can easily adjust the consistency as necessary by adding small increments of almond milk (if the frosting is too thick) or more powdered sugar (if the frosting is too thin). Start with small amounts until you reach the desired thickness.
Frosting the Cupcakes
You can use a piping bag or a knife to frost the cupcakes easily. Remember, make sure your cupcakes are cool before frosting them, or else the frosting will melt and become a mess on your cupcakes. Nobody wants a sloppy cupcake!
TIP: If you're in a hurry and need to speed up the cooling process, place your cupcakes uncovered in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes. This will help them cool faster-- just don't forget about them!
Frosting with a piping bag: You can use a piping bag with your favorite piping tip to make the cupcakes look professional and fancy for any event. I like using a star tip, but there are many good options that will look nice.
Frosting with a knife: If you don't want to deal with a piping bag or want to frost the cupcakes with young kids, a butter knife will be just fine. The cupcakes will taste just as delicious no matter how you add the frosting on top!
As mentioned already, these chocolate cupcakes are gluten-free, dairy-free, and oil-free. However, I've added notes on how to make ingredient substitutions if you choose to do so or require it for dietary reasons.
- Flour - It's best to use almond flour for this recipe to get the proper texture in the cupcakes. If you absolutely can't use almond flour, you can try using gluten-free 1:1 flour with xanthum gum.
- Sugar - You can use cane sugar or granulated sugar instead of coconut sugar and have great results.
- Cacao Powder - If you don't have cacao powder, use a black cocoa powder like dutch-process cocoa powder for a rich chocolate flavor.
- Eggs - The eggs are necessary in the cupcakes to hold the ingredients together. I don't recommend removing the eggs in the recipe.
- Maple Syrup - Instead of using maple syrup, you can use honey as a natural sweetener.
- Butter - If you're not vegan or dairy-free, you can make a traditional chocolate buttercream frosting with dairy butter. You can also use coconut oil instead, but the consistency and flavor will be different.
- Milk - Use any unsweetened non-dairy milk in the frosting. You can use dairy milk if you prefer that, too.
For best results, make the recipe exactly as written. I cannot guarantee the cupcakes will turn out as well when you start changing ingredients. Please only change one ingredient at a time when making the cupcakes. This provides the best chance of success!
Storing & Freezing Cupcakes
Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. For best results, enjoy them within 3-4 days. This shouldn't be a problem because they're so delicious and irresistible!
You can freeze the cupcakes by placing them in a large airtight container and placing them in the freezer for up to 30 days. It's best not to stack the cupcakes to avoid ruining the frosting.
You may choose to freeze the cupcakes without frosting and make a fresh batch of frosting after thawing, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, these cupcakes do not include gluten or dairy.
I don't recommend removing the eggs in the recipe. They are necessary to provide structure and help the cupcakes rise.
Yes, the cupcakes do not contain refined sugars since they are made with maple syrup and coconut sugar.
To make buttercream frosting less sweet, add salt by ¼ teaspoon at a time until the desired taste is reached. You can also add a spritz of lemon juice to knock down the sweetness, but this may affect the flavor.
If you made these cupcakes, please leave a review below so I can see what you thought of them! Consider posting a photo on Instagram and tagging me so I can see. If you're looking for more gluten-free recipes, check out these favorites:
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Electric or Stand Mixer
- Standard Cupcake/Muffin Tin
- Cupcake Liners (Silicone or Paper)
- Piping Bag (optional)
- Piping Tip (optional)
- 1 ⅓ cups almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup cacao powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- ⅔ cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ¼ to ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk for desired thickness
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Spray the liners with non-stick cooking spray to prevent the cake sticking during baking.
- In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking powder, and salt. Then set aside.1 ⅓ cups almond flour, ¼ cup coconut sugar, ½ cup cacao powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract until well-combined.4 eggs, ⅔ cup pure maple syrup, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Do not over mix!
- Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners until about ¾ of the way full.
- Place the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Leave the cupcake in the pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
- Remember to wait until the cupcakes are completely cool before frosting them.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- In a large bowl, beat vegan butter and cacao powder together until combined. It may seem dry, but that's okay.¼ cup vegan butter, ½ cup cacao powder
- Add the almond milk vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.¼ to ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt
- In small increments, add powdered sugar and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Adjust consistency with slightly more milk or powdered sugar if necessary.