Gluten-Free & Vegan Chocolate-Almond Cupcakes

by Maggie on September 21, 2010

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I present these cupcakes in honour of three very important occasions!

1) Callum’s 4th birthday party – if you follow me on twitter you know that Callum is obsessed with pirates.

2) This Friday, September 24th is my one year BLOGIVERSARY- is that word in the dictionary yet?

3) Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free – this month’s excellent and timely theme is Healthy School Lunches.

I made these pirate cupcakes (okay, go to Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom if you want super-amazing decoration skills) for Callum’s 4th birthday party.

His party was going to be my first gluten-free shindig. Not a crumb of gluten to be found. So I wanted a really good cupcake recipe that everyone would enjoy. Not a hard task since gluten-free is so yummy.  And it was a success, thanks to these delightful little cupcakes.

I also wanted a cupcake that wasn’t loaded with sugary junk, in fact I wanted a cupcake that was free of refined sugars. Callum’s guests were my guinea pigs. Lucky them! And they were happy little guinea pigs.

Isn’t he cute?

Healthy Cupcakes?

These cupcakes are great because they’re easy to make, they’re free of refined sugars, and they’re made with almond flour so he gets some extra nutrients. Little does he know!

When Callum goes to school, I know I’ll want to put little homemade treats into his lunch bag. These would make for a perfect snack – a healthy cupcake. In fact, his little buddies will be jealous when he pulls out a cupcake at snack time.

I like to make cupcakes every time we’re invited to a birthday party.  This ensures that my sensitive little dude gets to enjoy a cupcake with his friends and family. Did you know that you can freeze a cupcake that’s already been frosted. Oh yes you can!

These chocolate cupcakes taste great with traditional icing. But in light of my one-year blogiversary, Callum and I frosted them with some sweet chocolate cashew cream icing (recipe below).

If you were sending these delightful cupcakes to school with a healthy lunch, you could frost them with chocolate avocado pudding and your kiddie would get a serving of veggies with his cupcake. What would Jamie Oliver say about that?

Gluten-Free & Vegan Chocolate-Almond Cupcakes

Based on my original cupcake recipe

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1 cup almond flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp xanthan/guar gum

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used raw cacao)

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray or line a cupcake pan with liners.

Combine the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl to create a “buttermilk”.  Let this mixture sit for at least five minutes.

Sift together flours and remaining dry ingredients.  It is important that you sift – no one wants a white lump in their chocolate cupcake!

Add the maple syrup, vanilla and oil to the non-dairy milk “buttermilk”.  Stir to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches.  Stir just until combined.  Spoon into cupcake pan (a little more than 3/4 full since they don’t rise very much) and bake for 20-22 minutes.  Test one cupcake with a cake tester or a knife.

MAKES 12 CUPCAKES.

Dairy-Free Sweet Chocolate Cashew Cream Recipe


1 cup soaked raw cashews (I soak mine for 24 hours in filtered water simply because my Vitamix won’t be here until December 25th, right Santa Pete?)

5 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips melted with 1 tbsp of dairy-free chocolate milk

Place drained cashews in the bowl of your food processor (or if you’re really super amazingly lucky, in your Vitamix) and whiz until cashews are in small little bits.

Add maple syrup and whiz again until combined, this will also help make your icing smooth.

Add the melted chocolate and whiz until combined.

Note: this icing is not overly sweet and it has a nice nutty flavour. It goes so well with the cupcakes. Together they’re a yummy afternoon (or breakfast) treat.

How about this?

  • add 1 tbsp of grated orange zest to jazz up the cupcakes
  • frost with chocolate avocado pudding and add 1/2 tsp of almond extract to the pudding
  • No nuts at your school? Try substituting the almond flour with quinoa flour
  • These cupcakes are also linked up to Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten-Free: Healthy School Lunches which is being hosted this month by Ali from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. This excellent gluten-free blogging event was originally started by Naomi of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried.

    Speaking of healthy school lunches, have you heard about the amazing Alisa’s FREE ebook Smart School Time Recipes? Yes, FREE! It’s loaded with all kinds of recipes; gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and more. It’s the perfect book of recipes for anyone who packs a lunch. And it’s FREE so what are you waiting for?

    And as always, this recipe is linked to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. She’s got a new look this week so be sure to check it out!

This post is also linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker.


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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie September 21, 2010 at 8:46 pm

What cute cupcakes! I love that you used almond flour in them and cashew cream frosting. YUM!!

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats September 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm

OMG these are brilliant. I am always on the lookout for almond flour recipes that are vegan and free of refined sugar. Thanks so much for posting this!

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Valerie @ City|Life|Eats September 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm

And Happy Birthday to Callum :)

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Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea September 21, 2010 at 9:51 pm

“Aww!” was the first thing I said when I saw the pirate cupcake – too cute! That’s the second birthday thing this week (first was the monkey cake on Smitten Kitchen) I’ve seen that are just too cute. And that’s saying a lot as I’m not usually immediately smitten with cute desserts or baked goods that I see on a screen.

Happy birthday, Callum! :)

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Linda September 22, 2010 at 8:37 am

Those are adorable! I love that you’ve made a healthy cupcake for your son, and yes, he is adorable too. Thanks for participating in Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

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Celiacs in the House September 22, 2010 at 9:20 am

Sneaky and adorable little pirates. Extra mom points for you!

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Katie September 22, 2010 at 10:34 am

Wow! One year! Congratulations Sista!

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Heidi @adventuresofaglutenfreemom September 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Too Cute Maggie, I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the pirate cupcakes (especially the “healthy” part)! Will you be my mom too?

Happy one year blogiversary too! Can you believe I totally forgot mine back in June? I need a vacation to Canada. :-D

xoxoxo,
Heidi

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gfe--gluten free easily September 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Too cute, Maggie! I mean the cupcakes and your son! :-) Congrats on your big anniversary. I had no idea you were a newbie on blogging or just having your first gf shindig–you appear to be both a pro and a veteran! ;-)

Hugs,
Shirley

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Iris September 23, 2010 at 12:11 am

Happy blogiversary and happy birthday to Callum!

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Ricki September 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Those cupcakes are adorable! And congrats on your blogiversary (which really SHOULD be in the dictionary by now!). The cashew cream frosting sounds great, too. :)

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Rachel April 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I just found your site, looking for something special to make for my two-year-old son, and boy is he in luck! I made these cupcakes today, and I had to restrain myself and others in the house not to eat them all. The texture is better than any gluten chocolate cake I have ever made. I was wondering if I could use this recipe, replace the cocoa with some sorghum, and add blueberries for a blueberry cupcake. What do you think? I am relatively new to the gf world, and my son has an egg and soy intolerance as well, so I have not yet found a basic white cupcake recipe. Sorry about the novel:(

Thanks again for a great recipe.

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Lynn Peterson April 7, 2011 at 1:32 am

That pirate cupcake is the cutest ever! I couldn’t help but smile as soon as I saw it! Absolutely adorable and perfect for a four year old birthday! Your recipe looks delicious, too!

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Kelly July 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Can you suggest any substitutions for the maple syrup?

Thanks!

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Kelly July 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

P.S. I would still want to use an unrefined sweetener. Wondering about coconut (palm) sugar.

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Kelly July 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm

THANKS! I think I’m gong to make a batch of each and taste test them this weekend to see which ones my daughter and husband like best. My daughter turns 5 at the end of the month and wants chocolate cupcakes for her birthday! I will let you know how it goes. I may try an agave substitution I saw that involves using a combo of palm sugar and water.

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Annie October 27, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Hey Maggie, just thought I’d let you know that I made these puppies tonight and they are SO good on their own that I’m not even going to ice them. With all due respect to Baby Cakes NYC they blow their cupcakes out of the water!

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Jenny January 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Help! I made these as a combination between your original recipe that you linked to and this one. My changes were to use organic cane sugar in place of the maple syrup and dairy milk. They looked great at the halfway baking point but then fell before the finished time. I pulled them out at 18 minutes and they had sink holes in them. What went wrong? They look horrible but taste good :)

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Farzana March 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

oh my gosh, i so love you right now LOL! I was looking for a gluten free vegan chocolate muffin ! You say you can use Quinoa flour instead. I wonder if I will have to adjust the liquids or anything. Have you personally tried it yourself? I really cannot wait to try this :-)

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Kim April 4, 2012 at 7:52 am

I’m new to the GF baking thing, as my son was just diagnosed this past week. However we also have 10 other allergies/1 intolerance to work around. What flour would be ok to substitute for the almond flour? (VERY allergic to almonds/pecans – so no tree nuts here) Thanks so much for a yummy looking recipe! Can’t wait to try it out!!

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Kim April 4, 2012 at 7:54 am

Oops!! Nevermind! Just saw your note at the bottom! Thanks SO much!! Going to go try this out now!

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Mélanie January 24, 2013 at 10:26 am

These are delicious! They taste like regular cupcakes! I love that they are so healthy (for a cupcake) and nutrient dense, with the almond flour and maple syprup. So yum! Amd I love the cashew cream “icing”. I could eat it with a spoon. (Actually, I have :)

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Angie March 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

Thank you,Maggie! I will be making these this week with my 2 year old! Perfect recipe for our family!

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Angie March 29, 2013 at 11:05 am

Just remembered I forgot to report back! In a word: YUM! We loved this recipe!! Thanks again, Maggie!

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Mélanie June 16, 2013 at 6:36 am

Hey Maggie, do you think the sorghum flour could be replaced by another flour? Quinoa, rice, coconut?

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Mélanie June 16, 2013 at 6:38 am

Oat flour maybe?

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Mélanie June 16, 2013 at 11:51 am

I used the oat flour. The result is ok. They are good, but not great. They taste more like a muffin than a cupcake and they have huge sinkholes in them. I’ll just have to fill those up with the delicious icing!

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Amanda July 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I’m sorry to say this recipe did not work out for me- the cupcakes fell apart upon baking. I made no adjustments in the ingredients, amount, or process so I am uncertain what happened. I was looking for a healthier cupcake option for a vegan friend’s birthday, since someone else was bringing biscotti, and have had good experiences using almond and sorghum flour in the past. I found another recipe elsewhere that produced softer, more cake-like cupcakes; perhaps more experimenting with this recipe will help next time.

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Bernadette September 15, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Hi Maggie. I thought I’d give you a quick note about these cupcakes and the substitutions that I made that seem to work for me. I’m allergic to almonds and found the texture of sorghum a bit gritty for my liking. So, I’ve recently subbed buckwheat flour for the sorghum or rice flour and sunflower seed flour for almond. I ground both flours myself and the buckwheat seems ok but the sunflower a little heavier as I couldn’t get a real fine grind without turning it into sunflower butter. The texture with this combo is somewhere I between a cupcake and muffin, and not gritty.

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Bernadette September 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm

The other thing with this recipe is that I have to extend my bake time to 50-60 minutes before my toothpick comes out almost clean. I’ve found this to be the case with other gluten free vegan recipes. Anyone have this problem? Wondering if I cut back on the amount of oil would help? Also use canola in place of coconut oil. Maybe this would be the problem? They taste good tho!

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Angie October 2, 2013 at 4:19 am

Maggie, I’ve made this recipe probably 10 times. Is that bad?! So good! My little girl has a birthday next week…and I’ll be making this for the 2nd year in a row;). It is her fav. Thank you again!!

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