Friday, 5 April 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes for Easter

Can't eat gluten? Then you absolutely definitely need a great gluten free chocolate cupcakes recipe in your life. Not only is it an essential part of any baking repertoire, but (unless you are one of a very rare species of chocolate-dislikers) they will make you endlessly happy. Or is that just me?

Chocolate cupcakes are also a 'must have' for your Easter celebrations. I mean let's be honest, Easter wouldn't be Easter without all things chocolate. I for one can't get enough of the melty, creamy, gooey, sweet stuff. So if there's an excuse to eat it as a bar... in a mug... as an egg... in a cake... I'll take it. Finding (or inventing) new recipes to enjoy it, is all part of the game, so Easter is most definitely my heaven.

You see, I am a genuine chocoholic! After I had my beautiful baby, I squirrelled boxes of the stuff in cupboards and ate it when my husband wasn't around. I even refilled the boxes, just in case he found them and realised what I was doing... it was truly shameful and looking back I am quite mortified by my behaviour (although I am quick to blame it on post-natal hormones). These days I am a little more controlled, but a cake with chocolate is still my preferred option.

I first made this particular gluten free cupcake recipe not long after the Coeliac diagnosis of our daughter. At that time I was less confident in my recipe development, so was really proud when I created these. I made them over and over again and tested them on anyone who would eat them, so thrilled was I that they more than matched up to my previously glutenous expectations. As chocolate cupcake recipes go, it is still one of my absolute favourites... soft and light and perfectly moist with added almond which helps them stay fresh for days (not that they usually last that long).

Squidgy, chocolatey and delicious, this particular and very special Easter batch, was not only a triumph for the sponge, but was excessively generous with the variety of toppings I managed to deliver. With a choice of either mint or strawberry butter icing and vanilla or orange Italian butter cream, there was a flavour choice for everyone. And who can resist the little clutch of mini eggs nestled on the top?

I always think there is something rather beautiful about mini eggs. Of all the chocolate eggs you can get at Easter, they must be the prettiest and by far, the most photogenic. The pastel colours and speckled shells are so iconic... I like to empty a couple of packs of them into a glass jar, just because they look so cute.

The recipe for Italian butter cream was adapted from one found in Artisanal Gluten Free Cupcakes by Kelli and Peter Bronski who can also be found publishing a whole range of amazing gluten free recipes over at No Gluten No Problem. If it's not a book that you have come across, Artisanal Gluten Free Cupcakes is definitely worth a look, covering any number of cupcake flavours and exciting toppings.

You don't of course have to make as many toppings as I did, or even make them at Easter. I have used this recipe year round, topped, filled and decorated any which way.... I have even used the chocolate sponge in trifles and as the basis for ice cream cakes. But whenever and however you choose to make them, these gluten free chocolate cupcakes are for keeps.

Don't just take my word for it though. Grab yourself some pretty cupcake cases, whip up a batch and let me know what you think. Leave me a comment, or better still, take a quick photo, share with the world and tag me in to your social media. I love seeing what my readers have made and am always excited and incredibly proud when I find out that someone has enjoyed one of my recipes.

Other gluten free chocolate cupcakes (and alternatives to chocolate) on Gluten Free Alchemist :

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes
Eclair Cupcakes
Cupcake Trifles/Trifle Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Cupcakes with a hint of ginger
Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
Orange Cupcakes
Courgette & Cherry Cupcakes
Creme Egg Cupcakes

Gluten Free Cupcakes, Chocolate Cupcakes
cake, cupcake, dessert,
sweet treats
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

A soft, light, moist and delicious chocolate cupcake recipe which is versatile enough to make as a large cake or use as a chocolate trifle sponge.
prep time: 20 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 40 mins


Chocolate Sponge
  • 280g gluten free plain flour (I used GFA blend A from this post)
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons GF baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons xanthan gum (½ teaspoon less if using commercial blend with xanthan added)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 60g cocoa
  • 115 ml hot water
  • 360ml milk
  • 1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 160g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 430g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 160g ground almonds


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. Line 2x 12-hole cupcake tins with cupcake cases (large).
  2. Weigh and mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, ensuring they are well blended and no lumps remain (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, weigh the cocoa powder, sifting to remove any lumps. Gradually add the hot water little by little, stirring to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
  4. In a jug, combine and stir the milk and vinegar and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar with an electric whisk until light, fluffy and pale in colour.
  6. Beat the eggs together in a separate bowl and then add and whisk into the butter mixture a little at a time, ensuring they are well-blended.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and cocoa paste and beat thoroughly.
  8. Using a large spoon or spatula, fold in the ground almonds until fully mixed.
  9. Gently fold in the flour mix alternately with the milk-vinegar mixture about a third at a time, ensuring all ingredients are JUST combined. It is important not to over mix.
  10. Spoon the mixture equally into the cupcake cases (about half to two-thirds full) and bake for 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and the tops are soft and spring back.
  11. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before decorating.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Italian Buttercream
Icings and toppings
Sweet Treats

Vanilla or Orange Italian Buttercream (adapted from a recipe by Kelli & Peter Bronski)


Italian Buttercream
  • 135g caster sugar
  • + ½ tablespoon caster sugar (keep separate)
  • 60ml water
  • 2 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 360g unsalted butter (room temperature (cut into small cubes))
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For each half of the mix at stage 8 :
  • vanilla topping : an additional 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to one half
  • orange topping : 1½ teaspoons orange extract (or to taste) + a drop of red and yellow food dye (to desired colour) 


  1. Put the water and 135g sugar in a small heavy-based saucepan and stir.
  2. Using a candy thermometer, heat the mixture to 240⁰ F, without stirring.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites and salt using a stand mixer at medium-high speed until frothy.
  4. Add he remaining 1 tablespoon sugar to the egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer off and leave to stand until the sugar mixture has reached temperature.
  5. When the sugar mix reaches 240⁰ F, set the mixer to run at medium speed and slowly drizzle the sugar mixture down the inside of the bowl, into the egg whites.
  6. When all the sugar is added, continue to whisk until the mixture is cool (approx. 10 minutes).
  7. When cool, continue to whisk at medium speed and add the butter about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding more.
  8. Add the flavourings (vanilla/orange oil etc.) and colouring and mix to combine.
  9. Hand beat with a spoon to remove any last air-bubbles before spreading on your cakes.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Strawberry Sauce
Dessert Sauces
Sweet Treats & Desserts

Mint or Strawberry Butter Icing/Frosting


Mint/Strawberry Butter Icing
  • 120g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g icing sugar
  • Divide the mixture in half at stage 3 :
  • Mint - add ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (or to taste) + a couple of drops green food dye (to desired colour) + a little milk to loosen if necessary
  • Strawberry - add approx 2 tablespoons strawberry sauce (recipe below).
Strawberry Sauce (makes more than you need, but tastes amazing drizzled over icecream or pancakes)
  • 40ml water
  • 2 teaspoons corn flour
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 180g (hulled weight) strawberries - sliced


Butter Icing
  1. Beat the butter until smooth.
  2. Gradually add and beat in the icing sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  3. Add and beat in flavourings, colours and milk (if needed) to achieve desired taste and consistency (add a little extra icing sugar if the mixture is too 'loose').
Strawberry Sauce
  1. Mix the water and corn flour in a saucepan.
  2. Add the sugar and strawberries and heat gently, stirring, until the mixture begins to simmer.
  3. Continue to simmer for about 3 minutes until the mixture becomes clear and thickens slightly.
  4. Remove from the heat and blend to produce a smooth puree.
  5. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate until ready to use.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Shared with :

Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy
Baking Crumbs with Apply to Face Blog and Jo's Kitchen Larder 
Love Cake with Jibber Jabber

Bake of the Week with Mummy Mishaps and Casa Costello 
Fiesta Friday #269 with Angie, Frugal Hausfrau and Ai Made It For You

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-19 unless otherwise indicated.


  1. Oh I am right there with you on the chocolate addiction. I guess I could blame the postnatal hormones, but I was a chocoholic pre-baby so haha. This is great! I'm recently gluten-free so I have a lot to learn from you :) Thanks for sharing at this week's Fiesta Friday!

    1. Ha! Yes.... blame the hormones whatever went before, I say....
      I hope that you find the blog helpful in your gluten free journey! Good luck and just shout if there's anything I can help with x

  2. How nice to have an option at the Easter dinner - holidays can be hard and now there's no reason to not have a wonderful treat!

    1. Absolutely! Coeliacs should never have to miss out. We certainly make sure we never do xx

  3. ohh another yummy chocolate easter bake these look so pretty. Thank you for linking to #CookBlogShare

    1. Yes.... afraid so.... ANOTHER yummy chocolate Easter bake. Definitely that time of year! x

  4. These sound delicious and I love how colourful they are with the different flavoured icings!

    1. Thank you Corina. Easter isn't Easter without chocolate AND pretty! x

  5. They look delicious and so so pretty Kate! I love all different flavours and delicate pastel colours of buttercream too - they go so well with mini eggs :) Perfect Easter treat if you ask me! Thank you for sharing these with #BakingCrumbs! :) x

    1. Thank you Jo. It may rate as my prettiest bake! Always happy to share though xx

  6. They look delicious and so so pretty Kate! I love all different flavours and delicate pastel colours of buttercream too - they go so well with mini eggs :) Perfect Easter treat if you ask me! Thank you for sharing these with #BakingCrumbs! :) x

  7. They're so pretty and perfect for easter!

  8. Beautiful pastel coloured cupcakes for everyone to enjoy!

  9. Squidgy, chocolatey and delicious, I'm a gonna..... These are super cute and sound super delicious. I too am addicted to all things chocolate so am like a pig in wotsit at Easter!! Thank you for bringing these cuties to #BakingCrumbs

    1. You're so welcome Jenny... Me too. Anything chocolate and I'm swooning! x

  10. These look delicious - fantastic for Easter chocfest!

  11. A good chocolate cupcake recipe is a must at any time but especially when topped with mini eggs!


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