If you are looking for a simple but delicious recipe for gluten-free chocolate cupcakes look no further. Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes are such a classic treat and this recipe does not disappoint. It is my favorite recipe when I crave a tender gluten-free chocolate cake with a rich, decadent chocolate flavor. Pair it with your favorite frosting (like my dark chocolate sour cream buttercream frosting) and you got yourself the best chocolate cupcakes ever.
This recipe gluten-free cupcakes is dairy-free and can be adjusted to be egg-free by using aquafaba as egg replacements (3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg). I have not tested this recipe with any other egg replacer.
If you love chocolate cake, make sure to check out my Gluten-Free Hot Cocoa Snack Cake or my gluten free chocolate zucchini cake.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gluten Free Flour: I have tested this recipe with Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour, King Arthur Measure for Measure and my own gluten-free flour blend. Both blends already contain xanthan gum. Both products used worked fabulously in this recipe.
Neutral Oil: the tenderness of these gluten-free cupcakes cake comes from the vegetable oil since it stays liquid even after cooling. Cakes made with butter normally should be brought to room temperature before serving. I use grapeseed oil in my baking but a neutral oil such as vegetable oil will work just fine. I do not use coconut oil in my baking.
Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder: I highly recommend using dutch processed cocoa in this recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes. Dutch-processed cocoa produces richer, fudgier flavors. My go-to brands are Cacao Barry Extra Brute and Valrhona Pure Cocoa Powder. If you are looking for a better price point cocoa powder I recommend Hershey’s Dutched Cocoa, Special Dark, 100% Cacao. Be aware if you use Natural Cocoa Powder in this recipe, the muffins may be dry and lighter in color.
Instant Espresso: The instant espresso in this recipe brings out the chocolate flavor. It’s an optional ingredient but highly recommended. Instant Espresso can be found in your grocery store where the coffee is sold. It often comes in single servings but is also available in larger jars. If you do not have any instant espresso on hand but would like to incorporate some coffee flavor, you may substitute half (or all) of the hot water used in the cupcake batter with fresh brewed hot coffee.
Step by Step Instructions
Making gluten-free chocolate cupcakes is very simple. This is a fabulous baking project to make if this is your first time baking or have little ones who love helping in the kitchen.
Step 1: Start by preheating the oven to 350F and arrange your oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a standard cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Muffin pans and cupcake pans are the same sizes.
Step 2: In a large bowl sift together gluten-free flour, cornstarch, dutch processed cocoa powder, instant espresso powder (if using), baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.
Step 3: In a separete mixing bowl combine the granulated white sugar, eggs and oil and whisk together until smooth.
Step 4: Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Your batter will be very thick. Add the HOT but not boiling water and whisk until it is a smooth batter. The hot water helps to hydrate the cocoa powder and enhances the chocolate flavor.
Step 5: Using a large cookie scoop, fill each cupcake cavity of your cupcake pan around ⅔ full. Try not to overfill them.
Step 6: Bake the gluten-free chocolate cupcakes at 350F for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Make sure not to overbake your cupcakes since overbaking will try them out.
Step 7: Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow for them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Frosting Ideas for Chocolate Cupcakes
There is almost no frosting that will not work for these perfect gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. Here are a few fun frosting recipes you can find on my website.
Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting (Highly recommend this for the chocolate lovers)
Cream Cheese Frosting (easy recipe)
Difference between dutch processed and natural cocoa powder
The two basic types of cocoa powder are Dutch-process and natural.
Natural cocoa powder is ground cocoa powder in its pure form. It doesn’t undergo further processing which leaves the cocoa a light, chalky brown color with a bitter taste to it. Natural cocoa powder is generally paired with baking soda (which is alkali) in recipes. Because cocoa beans are naturally quite acidic, baking soda will trigger the chemical reaction that causes lift and lightness in your final bake.
Dutch-process cocoa powder, discovered by a Dutch chocolate maker, on the other hand is made by soaking cocoa beans in an alkali solution which neutralizes the acidity and cuts a bit of the bitterness. The results in a product that is darker in color and less bitter flavored. It creates what some people consider a richer, fudgier flavor in baked goods. Dutch-process cocoa powder along with oil is the secret to moist cupcakes.
Black cocoa powder is a style of Dutch-process cocoa powder that - because of heavy, repeated processing- is extremely dark in color (think Oreo cookies). If you are looking for this deep dark color, I recommend giving the black cocoa powder a try.
FAQ for Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Can I double/triple this recipe?
This gluten-free chocolate cake recipe can easily doubled/tripled. You may use this recipe to make cake layers or sheet cakes.
Can I freeze gluten free chocolate cupcakes?
Yes, I recommend allowing them to cool completely and then freeze on a sheet tray for 2-3hrs. Then transfer to a Tupperware container or ziplock bag. Thaw on the counter at room temperature. You can freeze them frosted or unfrosted. Personally I prefer unfrosted (Easier to store)
How to store gluten-free cupcakes
Depending on how warm your kitchen is, you may store your cupcakes in an airight container at room temperature 2-3 days. If you live in a warmer, humid climate, I recommend storing them in your refrigerator or a cool room.
Can this recipe make vegan gluten-free chocolate cupcakes?
This chocolate cupcake recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free (also soy and nut-free). To make this recipe vegan, I recommend replacing the eggs with aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas). Use 3 tabelspoons per egg.
Can I use almond flour or coconut flour in this recipe?
This recipe will not work with almond flour or coconut flour.
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and very affordable. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to gluten-free baking or baking in general. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons. To learn more about Baking with a digital scale, make sure to check out my post about Baking by weight.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
Simple Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Simple gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with a rich, decadent chocolate flavor that pairs well with either chocolate or vanilla frosting (or whatever frosting your choose to make)
- 155 grams Gluten Free Flour
- 10 grams gluten free cornstarch
- 40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
- 200 grams white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 75 grams neutral vegetable oil
- 140 grams water, hot - not boiling
How to make the gluten free chocolate cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Prepare your pan of choice - line one muffin tray with 12 muffin cups or line an 8" or 9" round cake pan with parchment paper.
- In a bowl whisk together the gluten free flour, cornstarch, cocoa, instant espresso (if using), baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl combine eggs, oil and granulated white sugar. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and with a whisk to combine. Add the hot (not boiling) water and whisk until it is a smooth batter.
- Use a large cookie scoop (#20 - the yellow one) and divide the batter between the cupcake liners.
- Bake the cupcakes until the center feels firm when gently pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, around 20-22 minutes.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes with your favorite buttercream and enjoy!
Store the cupcakes in your fridge for up to 5 days - allow them to come to room temp before eating! Those can be frozen as well
Serving Size:1 cupcake without frosting
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210
Priscilla Diaz says
Made these cupcakes today and they are PERFECT! Easy recipe to follow and make. Highly recommend to make 😋
So delicious and dangerously easy.
I am all for dangerously easy recipe 😉
Sarah Beaudry says
I made this recipe twice for a friend who needed a gluten-free cake. I baked it in a 9inch round pan instead of cupcakes. They were super impressed and had to double-check it was gluten-free. The second time I made it I got to try some and it's super moist and delicious! Both times I paired it with the the dark chocolate sour cream frosting and I think that's one of my favourite frostings ever, not too sweet and not too buttery but also super easy to make.
Thank you so much, Sarah! I am so glad this was a big hit
Diane G. says
I have a question concerning the oil and water. You measure them in grams instead of ounces or millimeters. I’ve never seen liquids weighed.
Because it is the most accurate way to measure any ingredient. No matter if it's dry or a wet ingredient. A scale is the way to go 🙂
Diane G. says
I did weigh everything and just finished eating one. They are delicious! I used KAF Measure for Measure. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!
Oh this makes me happy to hear! Glad you enjoy them (those gluten free chocolate cupcakes are so good!)
This recipe is fabulous! I do find when I’m baking the cupcakes they tend to rise strangely, they do not have a uniform dome to the top of the cake. I tap the cupcakes on the bench before baking to remove air bubbles. Any way I can solve this?
Erin, do you have a fan operated oven? Also - do you have an oven thermometer?
Yep I do have a fan oven, but no thermometer.
It’s the fan that causes that issue. I highly recommend turning it off if possible
Problem solved! Thank you!!
Timing suggestions for an 8 inch round or 9 inch square?
Hello, while I can not provide 100% correct times since it has been a while since I baked the chocolate cake I would recommend checking the cake around 28-30 minutes when baked at 350F. The internal temperature should be around 210F.
Perfect thanks! I'll report back
Ok I did 2 - 8" circles. Did not use convection (thanks for the tip). Because I did two rounds I ended up having to increase the bake time up to 36 minutes, rotating them halfway through, both on middle rack (my oven may also cook slightly low). They only make it to about 202 before I pulled them since they were pulling away from the sides and centers were set with no crumb. Fingers crossed they're tasty!
elizabeth a fraccaro says
Made these cupcakes and they are excellent. I'm not sure if I like these or the vanilla better. I may mix the batter and make a marbled cupcake. And the frosting is so creamy and smoother, and not sugary like some frostings. Thanks for your wonderful site Daniela. I think you should write a cookbook --I would love to have all your recipes in one place. Preferably one that will lay flat!! Also, is it possible to post photos with these comments? Would love to see what other people are doing with your recipes. Thanks!!