The Best Ever Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes are seriously so moist, decadent, rich and incredible! Nobody would ever guess, ever, that they are gluten-free, vegan or oil-free! They are some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten!
VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
Have you ever seen a more beautiful texture on a cupcake, that was gluten-free??! I’m ecstatic to be sharing these! I won’t lie, I lost count on the trials I did for these Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes. This is because I wanted them to be just as unbelievably amazing as any cupcake made with white flour, white sugar and oil or butter. I swear, it was not an easy task. One of the hardest I’ve done to date. This is because when you are trying to create gluten-free and vegan, and then oil-free and then keep it at 8 ingredients, multiple trials are required. If you are also trying to bake or cook without using oils, check out my tips here How to Cook and Bake Without Oil!
These are truly the best vegan gluten-free chocolate cupcakes you’ll ever taste! They are so rich in chocolate flavor, moist, fluffy, soft and the perfect sponge cake texture.
After posting the original Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, you all messaged me begging for a gluten-free version. If you prefer vanilla, make sure to make my Best Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes or these Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes!
Thrilled to say they are absolutely perfect in every way.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THESE CUPCAKES
Gluten-free baked goods usually end up 1 or 2 ways….either extremely dry and crumbly with a nasty texture. OR, they are insanely dense, mushy and nothing like a texture you’d want in a cake or cupcake. I tried different flours, different combos, plant milks and sweeteners and even in various amounts.
They are so moist, but not mushy or dense. They are cakey, tender, fluffy, but not dry. And, they hold their texture so beautifully. They have the perfect spongy cake texture! They are also nut-free, yay! No almond flour!
So, when I say these are perfect as written, I can’t say that statement enough. I wanted to eat the whole batch, haha!
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
First, you need to gather these 8 ingredients (+salt):
- brown rice flour (I tried white rice flour and they were so chewy, so you must use brown. It yielded the PERFECT cake texture.
- tapioca starch (this starch acts as eggs here to offset the dry, crumbly-ness that brown rice flour can give. But the 2 combined are a perfect combo.)
- coconut sugar (I tried maple syrup, too dense. Granulated sugar bakes up differently giving a different scientific structure than liquid.)
- natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 70% dark chocolate chips (these give a rich, deep chocolate taste, as well as the natural cocoa butter in them gives moisture)
- baking powder
- baking soda
- canned lite coconut milk (this milk is crucial to the moisture level and fluffy texture, it is NOT the same as other milks)
To a medium bowl, add the brown rice flour, starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk very well.
To a large bowl, (you need a large since you’ll be adding the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet, not the other way around) add the coconut milk and chocolate chips. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Whisk the mixture well until 100% melted and smooth.
Whisk the cocoa powder into the chocolate milk mixture until completed dissolved and smooth. This process creates a richer, more moist cupcake.
To the bowl of liquids, slowly add the dry ingredients a small amount at a time, whisking each amount in. Once the batter is very smooth and completely mixed, divide it into 15 cupcakes. This amount will yield perfect size cupcakes every time. Do not be tempted to overfill to only use 12, as these cupcakes rise A LOT while baking.
Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick is clean. Mine were perfect at 19 minutes, but ovens can vary. Don’t be tempted to eat one while warm, as they will taste under-baked since they will still finish cooking as they cool for the next 30 minutes. So, use patience. Remember, these are gluten-free and cooling them is super important.
Once fully cooled, decorate and ice them as you wish. These cupcakes have a rich, dark chocolate flavor, perfectly sweetened and not overly sweet at all. This makes the icing on top to be the perfect balance. I topped these with my Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. If you don’t want to use a standard buttercream, you can make my Chocolate Truffle Frosting instead or an icing of your choice.
You can see just how perfectly these vegan gluten-free chocolate cupcakes hold together in this bite. The structure is as if there are eggs! No crumbly gluten-free mess here.
MORE VEGAN CUPCAKES RECIPES
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Best Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes EVER!
- 150 grams (3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons) brown rice flour (do not use white!)
- 6 tablespoons (48g) tapioca starch
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (216g) coconut sugar
- 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/2 cups + 3 tablespoons (405g) canned "lite" coconut milk, cans shaken first (SEE NOTES at the bottom!)
- 88 grams (5 full rounded tablespoons) 69 OR 70% dairy-free dark chocolate chips (do not use regular semi-sweet)
- 6 tablespoons (36g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- Of course, as always, I recommend highly to use a scale to prevent room for error. Especially with gluten-free baking. This recipe has a couple of odd measurements to get the perfect result, so it's much easier to just weigh each ingredient before adding to the bowl. Make sure to zero out before adding each ingredient. You don't compare the weights to cups, just simply follow the weights listed, as this is exactly how the recipes are tested and made.
- I use this scale.
- Please note that a huge part of this recipe is the coconut milk, so it's crucial to use a quality brand so that the cupcakes turn out light and fluffy and rise beautifully. Watery milks will yield dense/gooey results that deflate. I highly recommend the Thai Kitchen brand (linked above) if possible, it is consistently creamy and always performs well. DO NOT use the Polar brand, it does not bake well, as it is mostly fillers and very little actual coconut. I also like the Sprouts "lite" coconut milk.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line 2 muffin pans with 15 muffin liners. This recipe yields 15 perfect size cupcakes, so don't be tempted to only do 12. They rise A LOT while baking.
- To a medium bowl, add the brown rice flour, starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk very well.
- To a large bowl, (you need a large since you’ll be adding the dry ingredients to this bowl of wet, not the other way around) add the coconut milk and chocolate chips. Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds. Whisk the mixture well until 100% melted and smooth.
- Whisk the cocoa powder into the chocolate milk mixture until completed dissolved and smooth. This may take a minute.
- To the bowl of liquids, slowly add the dry ingredients a small amount at a time, whisking each amount in. Using a large whisk helps. Do not worry about over-mixing here, you want it smooth. Gluten-free batter is ok to mix longer. Once the batter is very smooth and completely mixed, divide it into 15 cupcakes. I used about a 1/4 measuring cup of batter for each. This amount will yield perfect size cupcakes every time. Do not overfill or do less than 15. They will rise almost double.
- Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick is clean. Mine were perfect at 19 minutes, but ovens can vary. So, make sure you go by the toothpick, not the time. A few DRY crumbs are ok, but not wet sticky batter.
- Don’t be tempted to eat one while warm, as they will taste under-baked since they will still finish cooking as they cool for the next 30-45 minutes. So, use patience. Remember, these are gluten-free and cooling them is super important. I found a good hour to be the perfect result.
- Once fully cooled, decorate and ice them as you wish. These cupcakes have a rich, dark chocolate flavor, perfectly sweetened and not overly sweet at all. This makes the icing on top to be the perfect balance. I topped these with my Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. If you don’t want to use a standard buttercream, you can make my Chocolate Truffle Frosting instead or an icing of your choice.
- MILK: Since these are gluten-free, the milk is crucial to the texture and rise of the cupcakes. Subbing with a lower-fat or lite milk will result in flat, deflated cupcakes. This is why I use lite coconut milk. It leaves no coconut taste (like full-fat coconut milk) and is creamier than other milks with a different mouthfeel. The brand is important too, as many can be quite watery. The best brands that deliver the same results are the Thai Kitchen Lite, Sprouts Lite and the Whole Foods 365 Light. All work well.
- COCONUT-FREE OPTION: If you can't do coconut milk, my only other suggestion would be to try a high fat quality almond milk, which the only brand that doesn't fill with all fillers and is truly just almonds and water, is the Elmhurst brand. It's very creamy and delicious, it is sold at Sprouts and Kroger and possibly other stores. Do not use a standard other almond milk brand. Also, the full-fat Oatly oat milk may work. I've only tested this with the coconut milk, fyi, but these are suggestions I think that may work.
- Nutrition does not include frosting.
- Many have asked about turning this into a cake. I have tested this and it does not work as a cake as well as cupcakes. This is because cupcakes are made in much smaller sizes obviously and much less space. This means cupcake recipes don't always transfer well into large sizes as cakes. The texture does not turn out as perfect as the cupcakes, therefore I do not suggest. I am perfecting a gluten-free cake and will post that soon.
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