This week we’re focusing on overcoming challenges. First off, I’ve been without power for almost 10 days now following massive outages in CT from a freak October snow storm, and everything has been a bit more difficult than usual. No heat, no lights, no internet, no fridge with food, and most importantly, no DVR recordings for an entire week worth of shows! So I apologize for the lack of posting last week, but I ensure you I’m alive, somewhat chilly, and ready to share a recent baking endeavor that required some extra effort. One of my classmate’s Mom is a big fan of my blog, and wanted to surprise her vegan-GF friend with a set of birthday cupcakes. She messaged me to see if I was up to the challenge, and since I had never baked gluten-free before, I gladly accepted. After some online research and an interesting trip to the baking aisle of Whole Foods, I was able to make some surprisingly delicious cupcakes and check GF-baking off my list.

I must admit I was intimidated by the list of ingredients, and I was pretty convinced there was no way they would be tasty. Maybe to someone who hasn’t had a traditional cupcake in years, but personally I wasn’t too excited to taste-test one. I’ve tackled vegan cupcakes already, but something about the words “xanthan gum” and “sorghum flour” made me nervous. The batter was kind of scary too – much gummier and stickier than the chocolate cupcake batter I’m used to. But 20 minutes later, my apartment smelled delicious and I had 12 beautifully-domed cupcakes. Once I finally tasted one, I jumped for joy knowing I had successfully made a challenging cupcake recipe for my first “customer”. So if you’re new to GF baking as I was, just follow the recipe instructions step by step, don’t freak out, and try not to taste-test the batter until their fully cooked :) As for the frosting, I tried a new mocha vegan buttercream that piped beautifully and was the perfect compliment for the deep chocolate cupcakes. Topped with the pretty frosting and some shaved chocolate, your non-GF/vegan friends will never know the difference!

I actually made and photographed these cupcakes over a month ago, and this last picture makes the time lapse really clear. I chose to take these pictures outside on my patio when the lighting was nice around 5PM and our crazy morning glories were in full bloom. If you walked out to our patio tonight at 5PM, it’d be almost pitch black with a bare garden, strewn with patches of snow, and maybe a stray Corona Light that Ryan buried in the snow to keep cold when our fridge went out. Ahhh, the joys of living in the northeast!

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Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


for the chocolate cupcakes:
3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup warm coffee (not too hot)
1 tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

for the vegan mocha frosting:
8 tbsp vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
2-4 oz cold coffee
1 tsp bourbon vanilla
1 tsp instant espresso
4 cups confectioners sugar


for the chocolate cupcakes:
- Preheat the over to 350 degrees and line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and xantham gum in a medium-sized bowl.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the coffee, Ener-G Replacer, olive oil, vanilla extract, and rice vinegar.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat for 2-3 minutes until well-incorporated and smooth.
- Divide batter into cups and smooth the tops.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the vegan mocha frosting:
- Beat the margarine in the bowl of an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Add the coffee, vanilla, and and mix until combined.
- Slowly add the sugar and beat until smooth. If you want to further stiffen the frosting, add more confectioner’s sugar until desired consistency is reached.
- Chill the frosting for about an hour to help stiffen it further.
- Load frosting into a piping bag fit with a large star tip and decorate as desired.

Enjoy, and let’s all hope I get my power back ASAP!!


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25 Responses to “Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes”

  1. #
    Urban Wife — November 9, 2011 @ 2:09 am

    Definitely made these seem less intimidating! I might give GF vegan baking a try one of these days when I get the courage. :) Hope you get power back soon!

  2. #
    MyFudo™ — November 9, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

    Yahoo! GF and vegan cupcakes that look so delicious! I will definitely be making these.
    I am hooked reading Babycakes, a compilation of veganized treats. I don’t mind adding a few more recipes from the net. Page : Bookmarked! Thanks for sharing!

  3. #
    Kat — November 11, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

    Quick question: would a flaxseed egg work as a substitute for the egg rather than the egg-replacer here?


  4. #
    Erica — November 11, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

    I can’t say for certain since I’m not well-versed in vegan/GF baking, but if flaxseed egg work is also a powder substance like Ener-G, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Maybe do some research on the internet before? Good luck!!

  5. #
    Cantor Penny Kessler — November 13, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

    I’m the Mom who asked Erica to create the cupcakes (disclaimer: my friend isn’t vegan, “just” lactose intolerant as well as gluten sensitive). The cupcakes were OUTSTANDING, my friend was delighted, and I’m really grateful to Erica for taking on the challenge.

    Just one suggestion (and this may have to do with the nature of GF; I don’t know): storing the cupcakes in a cool place ensures that they stay very moist and very yummy.

    Way to go, Erica!!!

  6. #
    Ellobie — November 16, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    Bummer! My MIL is not only GF but also soy AND xanthan gum-sensitive.

  7. #
    Anonymous — November 27, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    I got these exact cupcakes off the gluten-free goddess blog.

  8. #
    Anonymous — November 27, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    OOps I am SO sorry I just saw your note about GFG blog – my apologies!

  9. #
    9 — January 11, 2012 @ 11:14 am

    This is a very mouth watering cupcake recipe! Everyone would love to take a bite on this gluten free vegan cupcake!

  10. #
    cloudberriesinlondon — January 18, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    This recipe looks amazing… we’re just testing out recipes to make the perfect chocolate cupcake.. will definitely try this one!

  11. #
    Emma Mae — January 23, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

    These cupcakes look delicious! However, I don’t have any coffee on hand that I could use. What would be a good substitution? Soy milk?

  12. #
    Erica — January 24, 2012 @ 3:12 am

    Emma, I think soy milk would be fine!

  13. #
    Jessica — June 27, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

    I went to a vegan restaurant this past weekend and had a “faux-stess” cupcake….came across your recipe while on the hunt to make it myself. Yours look delicious!!

  14. #
    Samantha — December 27, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    For the lady who is xantham gum intolerant there is also guar and Arabica gum which work just the same :)

  15. #
    rebekah — June 14, 2014 @ 5:47 am

    would sweet white sorghum flour work

    • Erica — June 14th, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

      Sorry I’m not sure, I’m not familiar with that type of flour. But if you try it out, let me know how they turn out!

  16. #
    rebekah — June 15, 2014 @ 1:10 am

    another question, would warm water work instead of coffee?

    • Erica — June 15th, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

      Yes, I think it would!


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