Easy recipe for gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. The best one bowl, small-batch recipe. Moist and tender. Dairy-free option.
After creating an easy recipe for one bowl gluten-free vanilla cupcakes, I wanted to do the same thing for chocolate cupcakes.
Some gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipes rely on a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate. While this makes for a yummy cake, it’s not what I’d call easy. Some days I’m just not in the mood to chop and melt chocolate. Actually, make that most days.
My goal was to create a recipe for soft and tender gluten-free cupcakes that’s super easy to make.
After a few flops, I settled on a recipe that, if I’m honest, is one of the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever had. Gluten-free or not.
These gluten-free chocolate cupcakes are
- Dense and tender
- Easy to make. You only need one bowl!
Ingredients for Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Gluten-Free Baking Flour. I developed and tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Using a different flour blend may change the texture of the cupcakes.
Cocoa Powder. This recipe uses natural cocoa powder, not Dutch process. For the best flavor, use a cocoa powder that contains fat. The fat in cocoa powder is what carries the flavor.
Granulated Sugar. Granulated sugar allows the cocoa flavor to shine.
Baking Powder. Gives the cupcakes rise.
Salt. Salt is always important in baked goods. It enhances flavors and tempers the sweetness. Use table salt, not Kosher salt for baking.
Eggs. Provide structure. This recipe has not been tested with egg replacers.
Milk or Coffee. For a box mix style cupcake, use milk. (Either cow’s milk or a dairy-free option.) If you like chocolate cupcakes with a deeper flavor, use cooled coffee.
Oil. Adds richness and gives the gluten-free cupcakes a soft crumb.
How to Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven. Baked goods rise best when baked in a hot oven. Before you start measuring ingredients and making the batter, turn the oven on. It should be ready for you when you’re done making the batter.
- Sift the cocoa powder. Since it contains fat, (which is a good thing), cocoa powder tends to clump. Even though it’s a bit of a pain, take a minute to sift the cocoa powder to remove lumps.
- Make the batter. Whisk together the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt. You can use a handheld whisk or an electric mixer for this step. Whisking the dry ingredients together evenly distributes the cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt throughout the mixture. Add the milk, eggs, and oil. Stir until the batter is smooth.
- Fill the cupcake cups. Line a standard cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each cup 2/3 of the way with batter. Don’t add more batter or the cupcakes might overflow during baking.
- Bake until set. Use a cake tester to check the cupcakes for doneness. No batter should stick to the tester.
- Cool on a rack. After baking, allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about five minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. This allows steam to escape, so the cupcakes don’t get soggy or gummy.
- Frost with buttercream. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with your favorite frosting. I love chocolate buttercream with chocolate cupcakes
Storing Gluten-Free Cupcakes
Cover the cupcakes (or use a cake holder) and store them on the counter for up to three days. Check out my guide on how to freeze cupcakes if you’d prefer to keep some for later.
FAQs Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Can I replace the gluten-free flour with almond flour or coconut flour?
This recipe was developed for a grain-based flour. Almond flour or coconut flour won’t work.
Is this recipe dairy-free?
Yes. Use dairy-free milk in the batter and a dairy-free spread for the frosting and you’re good to go.
What’s the best frosting for chocolate cupcakes?
I like chocolate buttercream and I included my favorite recipe below. Use my recipe for vanilla buttercream if you like the combo of chocolate cake and vanilla frosting.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Easy recipe for gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. The best one bowl, small-batch recipe. Moist and tender. Dairy-free option. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (3 5/8 ounces; 105 grams)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/2 ounces; 158 grams)
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder, sifted (1 1/2 ounces; 45 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs (about 4 ounces; 113 grams out of shell)
- 1/2 cup milk or cooled coffee, see note (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (2 1/3 ounces; 65 grams)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup softened butter or dairy-free spread (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 3 tablespoons milk plus more as needed
Heat Oven. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
Make Batter. Whisk together gluten-free flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add eggs, milk, and vegetable oil. Whisk until batter is smooth.
Bake. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake until set, about 15 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes should come out clean.
Cool and Frost. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with buttercream if desired.
Chocolate Frosting. Whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a medium bowl, cream butter until smooth. Stop mixer. Add sugar-cocoa mixture and milk. Mix until smooth. If frosting is thick, add additional milk, one teaspoon at a time.
Ingredient Note: Using Coffee
For a more intense chocolate flavor, use cooled coffee in the recipe. It enhances the chocolate flavor.
Store cupcakes, covered and at room temperature for up to three days. Freeze frosted or unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2-3 months. When ready to serve, thaw cupcakes overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for several hours.