Every once in a while you just want a chocolate cupcake. Am I right? But most cupcake recipes make at least two dozen cupcakes. Who wants that many for a little treat? Well, if you're in a small household, or the only gluten free person in your family, or you need a single cupcake to send with your gluten free kid to a party - then this gluten free chocolate cupcakes recipe is for you!
It is a small batch 6 cupcake recipe that is perfectly moist and easy to mix and topped with rich chocolate ganache frosting. Plus, it's already dairy free and I have included instructions for a vegan option as well. No matter what your dietary restrictions, this will be the new favorite recipe of the chocolate lover in your life.
If you're looking for more small batch recipes, check out these gluten free double chocolate chips cookies or fan favorite gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Or if you're really feeling sinful, go for my 6-inch gluten free chocolate cake!
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Why You'll Love These Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- They are loaded with chocolate flavor!
- This cupcake recipe is both gluten free and dairy free as written. There is also a vegan option listed below.
- It doesn't require a mixer, just one large bowl and a muffin tin.
- Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend - I use Bob's Red Mill for all of my recipes. You can use the gluten free flour blend of your choice but the results may vary. Make sure to use a blend that contains xanthan gum. For best results, you should weigh your gluten free flour since all blends are different.
- Cocoa Powder - I use Hershey's Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, which is gluten free.
- White Sugar & Brown Sugar - Using a combination of both sugars provides the perfect amount of sweetness and moisture.
- Oil - I use olive oil in this recipe. But you can use any light flavored cooking oil or melted coconut oil if you prefer.
- Egg - This recipe just uses a single egg. See my note below to make them egg free or vegan.
- Non-Dairy Milk - I use coconut milk in this recipe, but any non dairy milk will do. If you're not dairy free, use regular milk in the same measure.
- Baking Powder - This leavening agent provides the lift needed to keep the cupcakes light and fluffy in texture.
- Salt - Salt is a crucial ingredient in baked goods to round out the flavors.
- Vanilla Extract - Another flavor enhancer that makes things taste a little sweeter.
- Espresso Powder - The espresso powder is optional in this recipe but I love to use it because it deepens the dark chocolate flavor.
- Hot Water - Although it might seem like a tiny amount of a flavorless ingredient, this is crucial to activate the cocoa powder and enhance the chocolate flavor.
For the chocolate ganache frosting:
- Allergen Free Chocolate Chips - Enjoy Life Brand or Nestle Allergen Free are my two favorite brands of chocolate chips. If you're not dairy free, you can use any semi-sweet chocolate chips for the ganache frosting.
- Non-Dairy Heavy Cream - I have been loving the Silk Brand Heavy Cream Alternative. If you don't have that available, you can use coconut milk in the can or any non-dairy milk to make your ganache. If you're not dairy free, use heavy whipping cream in the same measure.
Substitutions and Variations
This cupcake recipe is perfect to customize to your preferences. You can also add more toppings to make new flavor combinations:
- Not Dairy Free - use regular milk and chocolate chips in place of the dairy free version. The measurements will be the same.
- Make the Egg Free or Vegan - Replace the single egg with 3 tablespoons of applesauce. When I tried it the flavor was exactly the same, but the cupcake texture was a little heavier than the egg version, although not in an unpleasant way.
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes - Drizzle each cupcake with homemade or store-bought gluten-free salted caramel sauce after frosting. The sweet and salty combo is a winner!
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes - Add a dollop of gluten-free peanut butter in the center of the cupcake before baking. Top with chocolate frosting and a sprinkling of chopped peanuts or replace the chocolate frosting with peanut butter frosting.
- Mint Chocolate Cupcakes - Mix a bit of peppermint extract into the batter and frosting for a refreshing twist. You can even garnish with a gluten-free chocolate mint candy.
- Chocolate Raspberry Delight - Fill the cupcakes with gluten-free raspberry preserves before frosting. It's a beautiful pairing of flavors.
- Cookies and Cream Cupcakes - Crush some gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreo alternatives) and sprinkle them over the chocolate frosting. They might just be better than the original!
- Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes - Add a teaspoon of coconut extract to the batter and sprinkle some shredded coconut on top of the frosting. It adds a lovely tropical touch.
How to Make Easy Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
This recipe is so easy to make and doesn't require a electric mixer.
STEP 2: Crack the egg into a separate mixing bowl. Whisk until it's frothy, like soap bubbles.
STEP 3: Add the oil, milk and vanilla to the bowl with the beaten egg. Whisk again until smooth.
STEP 4: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula.
STEP 5: Add the hot water to your partially mixed cupcake batter and fold together until it's incorporated.
STEP 6: Use a large cookie scoop to portion your cupcake batter into 6 lined muffin cups. Fill each cup about ½-2/3 full, DO NOT OVERFILL. Then bake!
How to Make Chocolate Ganache Frosting
The frosting is just as easy to make as the cupcakes:
- Heat the milk or cream.
- Add the chocolate chips and allow them to sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir until it forms a smooth chocolate sauce.
- Chill for an hour.
- Then either beat the ganache with an electric mixer to make it light and fluffy or place the chilled ganache into a piping bag and top your cupcakes.
How to Store and Freeze
Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. The frosting is also stable at room temperature.
You can also freeze these cupcakes to have on hand for when a chocolate craving hits. First, place your frosted cupcakes in an airtight container that is big enough to accommodate the frosting. Let the cupcakes freeze completely. Then remove and wrap each cupcake individually in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped cupcakes in a freezer bag and store for up to 6 months in the freezer. Simply bring to room temperature before serving.
No one will suspect these cupcakes are gluten free and dairy free. If you follow the instructions, you will find they taste just like regular cupcakes.
Some chocolate candy bars do have gluten or they are made on shared production lines. These cupcakes are made with cocoa powder - I recommend Hershey's brand, which is gluten free.
Yes. Portion your cupcake batter into the pan and let it rest for about 10 minutes to hydrate the flour before baking.
This recipe doesn't make quite enough batter for a substantial cake layer. I'd recommend my small chocolate cake recipe instead, which makes a single 6-inch layer.
More small batch recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Small Batch Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and espresso powder. Whisk together until evenly combined.½ Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, 3 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, ¼ Cup Sugar, ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar, 1 teaspoon Baking Powder, ¼ teaspoon Salt, ¼ teaspoon Espresso Powder
- In a second smaller bowl, crack the egg. Whisk until frothy, like soap bubbles.1 Egg
- Add the milk, vanilla and oil to the egg. Whisk together until smooth.3 Tablespoon Oil, ⅓ Cup Non-Dairy Milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together until you have a smooth batter.
- Then add the hot water to the batter, stirring it carefully until incorporated.2 Tablespoons Hot Water
- Fill the cupcake liners ½-2/3 full. Do not add more than ⅔.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back when gently poked.
- Remove from oven and place on wire rack. After 10 minutes, remove from the muffin tin and continue to cool on the wire rack for one hour.
For the chocolate ganache frosting
- While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the ganache.
- Place the non-dairy heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 90 seconds.¾ Cup Non-Dairy Cream
- Pour the chocolate chips into the hot cream. Let it sit for 10 minutes.1 Cup Allergen Free Chocolate Chips
- After 10 minutes, whisk the melted chocolate and cream until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.½ teaspoon Vanilla
- Refrigerate the chocolate ganache for 1 hour.
- After the ganache has cooled, you can either use as is or you can beat with an electric mixer on high for 4-5 minutes until fluffy.
- Place ganache frosting in a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes. Top with sprinkles if you like.
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Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.