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.
- Recipe Ingredient Notes
- How to make Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Storage & Freezing
- Frosting Ideas for Chocolate Cupcakes
- Difference between Dutch processed and natural cocoa powder
- FAQ for Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Baking in grams
- Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
- Substitutions and Modifications
- More Gluten Free Recipes to try
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gluten Free Flour: I have tested this gluten-free chocolate cupcake 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 and give the cupcakes a tender texture. This recipe will not work with almond flour or coconut flour.
Neutral Oil: the tenderness of these gluten-free cupcakes cake comes from 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 freshly brewed hot coffee.
How to make Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
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. This recipe does not require a stand mixer or an electric mixer.
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. If you like you can add a teaspoon of vanilla extract but I always skip it in this recipe since it does not contribute anything to the overall taste, unlike vanilla in gluten-free vanilla cupcakes.
Step 3: In a separate large mixing bowl combine the granulated white sugar, eggs, and oil. Whisk them 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 them to cool in the cupcake tins for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Storage & Freezing
To store unfrosted cupcakes, let them cool completely at room temperature. Place the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container that is large enough to hold them without crushing or touching one another. This will help maintain their freshness and prevent them from drying out. The unfrosted chocolate cupcakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
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 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 result is a product that is darker in color and has a less bitter flavor. 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
Unfrosted cupcakes will stay fresh for two days without refrigeration. However, if the room is particularly hot or humid, the cupcakes may spoil more quickly. To extend their shelf life, consider refrigerating them after the first day. Always use your best judgment and check for any signs of spoilage, such as mold, off smells, or changes in texture, before consuming cupcakes that have been left out for an extended period. When in doubt, it's safer to store them in the refrigerator.
This chocolate cupcake recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free (also soy and nut-free). This recipe gluten-free cupcakes is dairy-free and can be adjusted to be egg-free by using aquafaba as an egg replacement (3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg). I have not tested this recipe with any other egg replacer.
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 easy to use. 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.
More Gluten Free Recipes to try
- 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