These gluten-free chocolate cupcakes are light, fluffy and bursting with dark chocolate flavor. They are also dairy-free and so simple to make.
Developing a chocolate cupcake/cake recipe has been a long process for me. For some reason the cakes would fall flat in the oven, or soon after coming out of the oven. I finally found just the right balance of ingredients that make these cupcakes chocolatey, moist, light and hold a perfect rise.
Gluten-free flour – I know that the trend in gluten-free baking has moved to all-in-one wheat flour replacements. So I developed this recipe using King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour. Cup4Cup (best price usually at Target) and Pamela’s Artisan blend will work well too. All of these are certified gluten-free. I did not test with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 (not certified GF) since I have had bad reactions to several of their products.
Cocoa Powder – Ghirardelli used to be my go-to, but their products now contain a wheat warning. Hershey’s cocoa powder is gluten-free and easy to find at your local market. I personally prefer an organic cacao powder but I encourage you to use whatever unsweetened cocoa powder you have!
Espresso Powder or instant coffee granules – Coffee is an excellent flavor booster for chocolate. It will will enhance the bittersweet flavor in these cupcakes. It’s not mandatory but highly recommended!
I use dairy-free milk substitutes – almond, coconut, oat, soy will all work. Just be sure to use an unsweetened one,
Mixing the Cupcake Batter
More than most cupcake batters, this one will develop air pockets very easily. Too much air will make these cupcakes dry and will create uneven rising. Here’s how to avoid over-mixing:
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir with a whisk so that they are completely combined. VERY lightly beat the wet ingredients before adding to the dry. Stir the wet and dry together, using a rubber spatula, just until combined and mostly smooth. A few tiny lumps are ok. Get it into the pan and send it straight to the oven.
NOTE: If baking at high altitude. I recommend King Arthur Baking for excellent guidance on this subject and many more baking issues.
Baking the Cupcakes
You may be surprised to see that these chocolate cupcakes bake at 325°F, not 350°. They need a more gentle baking temperature to allow them to rise gradually. The higher temp caused them to rise too quickly and crack on top. But at 325°, they had a nice smooth, gentle dome. Perfect and ready for frosting.
For a super fun way to use this chocolate cupcake recipe, check out my gluten-free whoopie pies. Need more gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes? Try my special gluten-free, dairy-free ginger cupcakes, gluten-free dairy-free carrot cake cupcakes that will knock your socks off and my grain-free healthy banana cupcakes!