Delicious Chocolate Cupcakes (that also happen to be gluten-free)

Roza and cupcakes

Frosted Cupcakes

If you read the title, let me preface this post by saying that I am not often a baker of gluten-free food… Actually, I’m not ever really a gluten-free (GF) cook, if I have anything to do with it. The GF baked goods that I have had in my life are generally sad, deflated looking little things, and usually don’t taste super. So, I try to avoid it.

As you may know, this past year, Jonah and I were nannying for a family, and they are gluten free. I had baked some things for them before (muffins, breads, even pie) and while they were impressed because it usually was pretty good, I was not. You’re going to tell me that pie dough that I made with potato and coconut flour and butter was better than my usual flour-butter-shortening? I don’t think so. But when Roza’s birthday rolled around (see photo below), I wanted to make her the best GF cupcakes I could find. How could you not with a face like that? And I must say, If you just gave me that cupcake, I would not know that it doesn’t have any sugar or flour in it. It is perfectly fluffy and dense at the same time, perfectly chocolatey without being too sweet… It was good. So yeah, these are, by non-GF standards, good cupcakes.

Now let me tell you a bit about Roza. She is the cutest 4 year old I’ve ever met in my life. With a voice like a cartoon character and an endlessly positive attitude, she always had the ability to make me howl with laughter. She was super into Curious George at the time, and we had been reading her this story where George is home alone and finds all these party favors and decorations and cake ingredients, etc. for a party, so he decorates and makes the cake, and then it turns out the party is for him! So Roza’s mom decided to do the same thing. All week, Roza cleaned the house with her little miniature broom for a party she knew we were having, and then she and I decided to make cupcakes for said party. Then, at dinner on Friday with her parents and me and Jonah, we surprised her with the fact that this all was her own birthday party! It was the most adorable thing ever. Their family doesn’t eat sweets a whole lot, and usually sweets aren’t things like chocolate cupcakes, so she was pretty enthused by the idea of baking sweets like these. While we were making them, we had this conversation about 20 times:

Roza: Annie, do you know what is yummy?
Annie: What’s yummy, Roza.
Roza: Chocolate… (Breaks into giggles).

Have I mentioned how much I love her? I have? Ok. I’ll stop.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Note: A lot of GF recipes will not use just coconut flour. In fact, when I told Roza’s parents that this recipe only had coconut flour, they didn’t think it would be very successful. But the key is using LOTS of wet ingredients. Coconut flour soaks up moisture like nothing else, so in order to balance it out, the batter will seem pretty wet. But it works, I swear.



¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
3 eggs
¼ cup canola oil (the recipe called for grapeseed, but I used canola because it’s what we had around)
½ cup agave nectar (we did a little bit less than this since their family is into less sweeteners)


1 cup chocolate chips (preferably dark)
½ cup canola oil (again, the recipe called for grapeseed, but I still didn’t have any)
2 Tbl agave nectar
1 Tbl vanilla extract
a pinch of salt



Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine coconut flour, cacao powder, salt and baking soda and stir. In a larger mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, oil and agave. Then mix the dry into the wet, and stir until thoroughly combined. Line your cupcake tin with liners, and scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each liner. Bake them for ~20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


In a small saucepan over very low heat (or in a double boiler, if you’re feeling that it’s necessary), melt chocolate and oil together. Stir in the agave, vanilla, and salt. Then put the frosting in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill and thicken – mine took longer than 15 minutes to thicken up, but then it was a bit difficult to spread because I think I left it in the freezer for too long… I’m sure there’s a happy medium here, I just didn’t quite hit the nail on the head my first try). After removing from the freezer, whip it with a hand blender (or transfer from the pot you used to a standing mixer and use that) until it is fluffed up. Spread over the cupcakes and enjoy! Roza definitely did.