Gluten / Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

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Alyssa Reaves frosting a gluten / dairy free chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting

This recipe was born out of wanting to make another cupcake that would take less time and fewer steps than the last two cupcake recipes we’ve made (find them here and here). Which, believe me, are both totally worth both the time and steps. But who doesn’t need a basic cupcake recipe? Plus, it’s chocolate and vanilla. I mean, you can’t get more classic (or classy) than that!

And given that the ingredients and steps are a bit simpler, this recipe becomes practically foolproof. Using shortening as the frosting base is also a clear path to success, because shortening is just plain good for making dairy-free frosting. It has the right consistency and, unlike frostings based primarily on coconut cream or vegan butter, there’s no risk of your frosting running (no pun intended!) on the grainy or melt-y side.

These would be great for a next day (or heck even same day) party, where you need to whip up something fast.

I like to double the frosting and you might also do this if you like a lot of frosting on your cupcakes. If you have any leftover frosting, simply store in the freezer.

I like to think of these as a foundational recipe. You can add any one of the following ingredient combinations to change into a whole new flavor experience!

  • Up the chocolate ante by adding ¼ cup chocolate chips (these Enjoy Life ones are my faves) to both frosting and cupcakes
  • Maple + bacon anyone?? Add 1 tsp maple flavoring to both frosting and cupcakes. Fry up three slices of bacon, crumble, and sprinkle atop frosted cupcakes.
  • Crave peppermint? Add 1 tsp peppermint extract to both cupcakes and frosting. Then, crush ½ cup of peppermint candies (using a hammer / mortar pestle) and sprinkle on finished cupcakes.
  • Like Mexican? How about Mexican cupcakes?? Add 2 ½ tsp acho chili pepper powder and a pinch of cayenne to cupcakes. For frosting, add 1 tsp cinnamon.

And even though all these flavor combinations are wonderful, these cupcakes are so truly perfect just as they are. The frosting is super smooth and creamy, and the cakes themselves are moist and delicate. Mmmm…enjoy!

Gluten / Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

An easy, fast recipe for making delicious, chocolate-y cupcakes and frosting
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour-Blend
  • 1 tsp xantham gum (if using a blend that doesn't contain it)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla Frosting

  • 3/4 cup palm shortening
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-5 TBSP non-dairy milk of choice


  1. Preheat over to 350 and line two muffin tins with liners.
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk together flour, xantham gum (if needed), sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt till completely blended.
  3. In small bowl combine non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  4. Add melted coconut oil to mixing bowl and beat until combined.
  5. Add hot water and beat until just combined.
  6. Add non-dairy milk / vinegar mixture, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.
  7. Fill muffin liners about 3/4 full. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of cupcakes comes out clean.

Vanilla Frosting

  1. In large mixing bowl, beat together shortening and vegan butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat for about 3-4 minutes, scraping down sides. Mixture will become smoother but will still be a bit dry. Add between 3-5 TBSP non-dairy milk of choice until frosting reaches desired smooth consistency.
  2. When cupcakes have cooled, frost using piping tip and pastry bag. And enjoy!!