Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Milk Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Agave Frosting (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Welcome to day three of our Gluten-Free Progressive Dinner Party! Today's theme is chocolate! I am sharing a favorite allergy-free cupcake recipe amongst the younger crowd. This chocolate cupcake is light, moist, easy to make, and has a mild chocolate flavor. The great thing about this recipe is the fact that all children love it, gluten-free or not. I also have another fun giveaway for you, read on to find out....

My 5-year old nephew was just in town visiting. I made these cupcakes for a bake sale at my children's school this past weekend. Of course I had to save a few of them! My nephew, who isn't gluten-free, loved them and asked me to send the recipe to his mom (along with a number of other recipes I made)!

Like my Soft Molasses Cookie recipe, I use either Sucanat or Coconut Sugar for the sweetener in these cupcakes. I have tested it with organic cane sugar and the overall flavor lacked the depth that only a dark, rich sugar can give. Sucanat or Coconut Sugar work beautifully. If you haven't yet entered the giveaway for the 2-pound bag of Coconut Sugar, you still have time, go to my last post to enter.

If you are interested in baking gluten-free cakes or cupcakes from a mix then I have just the thing! Authentic Foods has offered 6 Vanilla Bean Cake Mixes for a giveaway here. I love using their superfine flours in baking. You'll see a number of recipes on this blog using their flours and arrowroot powder. To be entered in the giveaway just leave a comment. To be entered twice you can share this on twitter or facebook, just be sure to come back and leave a second comment! The giveawy will remain open until 9pm PST on December 11th. I will choose 6 names using Random Number Generator so please check back to see if you won and then email me with your contact info!

Milk Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are perfect for a child’s birthday party or a special occasion. They have a simple, mild chocolate flavor and great texture that all children will love, gluten-free or not. I prefer the neutral flavor of grapeseed oil in these cupcakes. Coconut oil works too but will give the cupcakes a slight coconut flavor. Frost with the Chocolate Agave frosting recipe below. You can easily cut the recipe in half to make 9 cupcakes if you don't need all 18. If you are curious about some of the products we use then please visit the Links To Products We Use post for more information and of course the links.

Yield: 18 cupcakes

2 cups sorghum flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt
⅔ cup melted virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1 ⅓ cups Sucanat or coconut sugar
2 cups non-dairy milk (rice milk or almond milk)
4 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 18 paper muffin cups (I use stone muffin pans).

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and sea salt.

In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, milk, vanilla, and almond flavoring.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together until the batter thickens and is very smooth. Batter will be thin at first, don’t worry.

Fill prepared muffin cups about ¾ full. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Source:

Chocolate Agave Frosting

This frosting has the perfect amount of sweetness with a mild chocolate flavor. It is luscious and fluffy, just perfect for frosting your favorite layered cake or cupcakes! For frosting a dozen cupcakes, make a ½ batch of this recipe.

2 cups organic palm shortening
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup arrowroot powder
1 cup agave nectar
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond flavoring (optional)

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric until light and fluffy. Spread onto cooled cupcakes. Source:

Notes: Cupcakes can be frozen before adding the frosting.

You might also like my recipe for Vanilla Frosting (vegan, soy-free, sugar-free). It can be colored with a small amount of beet juice to create a lovely pink-colored frosting.

For more holiday dessert recipes, please visit all of the blogs participating in the Gluten-Free Progressive Dinner Party! Each day this week you’ll find new gluten free desserts being “served” by other bloggers. Follow the schedule as you would a map through a neighborhood. Stop by, leave a comment, pass on the information to your friends, and have a wonderful time!

Monday December 7th: Baked Desserts ~ Alison at Sure Foods Living and here at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen!

Tuesday December 8th: Frozen or Chilled Desserts ~ Shirley at gfe gluten free easily and Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang!

Wednesday December 9th: Chocolate Desserts ~ Karen at Cook4Seasons and here at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen!

Thursday December 10th: No-Bake Desserts ~ Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang!

Friday December 11th Favorite Desserts ~ Melissa at Gluten Free For Good and Jean at Gluten-Free Organics!

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. These look terrific, Ali! I have no doubt my kidos and nephews...AND the adults, will LOVE these on Christmas Eve! Thanks for the chance to win, too!

  2. Those look spectacular, Ali! It's terrific that your nephew loved them so, but I'm not surprised at all.

    I've never tried any products from Authentic Foods, but I know a lot of folks love them for just the reason you cited--superfine flour. Superfine flour is definitely needed for baking of gluten free sweets if one doesn't want texture issues.

    You should find a contest to enter these babies in!


  3. mmmmm yummy cupcakes and I can't wait to try your frosting.
    Being Lactose Intolerant it so great to have your recipes.

  4. I love your recipes, your "what-to-eat" philosophy (what you prepare for your family) and your blog. Thanks.

  5. Oooh, just in time! I'm going to try this frosting on my husband's birthday cake this weekend. Thanks!

  6. These look delicious! Thank you for another great recipe!

  7. Wow! Those look delicious. My little guy was very sad the other day when a classmate brought cupcakes to school and he couldn't eat one. I will have to make some of these for him soon. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  8. Yum, yum, yum!

    That about sums it up :-)

  9. Wahoo! These look awesome. I will be baking them VERY soon. I made a batch of gluten/dairy/egg free vanilla cupcakes from a cookbook called "Babycakes" and they were great. I'm positive that your recipe is fantastic. I can't wait to try it out. Speaking of baking, I made your pumpkin pie recipe from your book and it was absolutely stellar! I "cheated" and used canned sweet potato mush, but it turned out perfectly. My daughter and son fought over the last piece. Definitely a winner! Thank you so much for sharing with us the talents you have been given. You have been such a blessing to my family.

    Oh, and just a curious question about the cupcake recipe. I noted that you are using palm shortening instead of coconut oil in these. Any particular reason for that?


  10. These look great!!! Just in time for some birthdays!!!
    Jen D

  11. Thanks for doing the progressive dinner, Ali, what a great idea. The cupcakes look amazing.

  12. these look fantastic- i'm going to make them for my husband's birthday as he's crazy about mint chocolate :)

  13. Thanks for another great recipe! These will be fun to make for birthdays coming up!

  14. Hi Ali,
    These look absolutely fabulous! I'll definitely be giving these a try soon!

    Thanks so much for all of your great recipes!

    Kim C

  15. YUMMMMMMMMMM. These look moist & delicious. I'll try for the next time I need to bring cupcakes for my daughter!

  16. yummy!! I love chocolate, those look delicious. Can't wait to try them out.

  17. The cupcakes look so delish! Thanks for another great giveway!

  18. Those look SO pretty and I luv agave!


  19. These look amazing! I'm always looking for new cupcake recipes.

  20. Wow... I'm super excited to try these out... and such a simple recipe!

  21. My weekend is filling up fast and my Christmas list is shrinking! 1st on the list is molasses cookies and now these yummy cupcakes too. Thanks for posting!

    Shared on FB too. :)

  22. I'm licking my computer screen! Those look so good. They are going on my must make list.

  23. These look amazing! I am sure my daughter will love them, along with everyone else :)

  24. Thanks for the yummy-looking recipe! And thank you, too, for the detail of your recipes. I love to know that you use stone cupcake pans, for example. I didn't even know they existed, but now one will be on my Christmas list.

  25. Thanks for another fun giveaway Ali!

    I am interested in the cake mix and of course your cupcakes. The photograph is stunning.

  26. Ali, these will be perfect for the preschool party! the children will be so excited when they see them, they look delicious!

  27. I've got to try to make these! My son loves your sunflower toddler snack cookie recipe. Thanks for sharing your recipes! -Jennifer D.

  28. Chocolate goodies that are gluten free, dairy free, *and* egg free?! My sweetheart is going to love these. Thank you so much for so many tasty and nutritious food ideas.

  29. Yet another delicious dessert to try. Gotta get bakin'!
    I have to keep a ready supply of cupcakes at my son's school, should another child's parent bring goodies to class in honor of their student's birthday. These will be perfect - frozen too. Thanks!

  30. All of these giveaways are so exciting...sign me up! Thanks for offering it!

  31. These look soooo yummy! Winning the AF mix would be pretty neat too. :)

  32. Yum! As soon as my oven is fixed, I'm going to try these!

  33. I heart gluten-free baked goods! Thanks for the recipe.

  34. These look so yummy! Will make them soon for sure. Thanks Ali!

  35. Wow Ali! Those cupcakes are just flat-out gorgeous! Yum - now I really want one (too bad I just finished breakfast =D).

  36. Very excited to try this one out. Perfect for any celebration or no reason at all. I think these could easily satisfy any size of chocolate craving. Thank you!

  37. Incredible! Thanks for this great frosting recipe. I have been looking for a good dairy free frosting so this will definitely come in handy this holiday!

  38. These look yummy! I'm going to try them tonight. I made the flourless chocolate chip cookies this weekend and thought I'd gone to heaven. I'd love to be entered in the contest, as well!

    Thanks so much Ali!

    Jennifer M.

  39. Any way to use oat flour for any of these recipes?

  40. I love your recipes, they are really helpful for me as I recently became gluten free and am now trying to go sugar free aswell. I made your soft molasses cookies with date sugar a few days ago and I just love them. My friend who has no food restrictions also loved them. THANK YOU!

  41. These are beautiful, Ali! I love your frosting. I am going to have to try that soon.

  42. I would love to try these mixes. Thanks!

  43. Hi Ali and Tom,

    Thank you for your continued effort in providing us with wonderful gluten-free recipes.

    Please enter my name in the contest for the Authentic Foods cake mix. Hope the wee ones are doing well!

  44. Dear Chef Ali,

    Thank you so much for offering these recipes on your blog. I am saving up for your cookbook...

    Do you have experience using guar gum as well? (begging pardon if you answered that elsewhere) I may be sensitive to xanthan gum.

    I look forward to trying more of your recipes...

  45. Ooh, so yummy! Putting on my "must make" list :) My 3 kids (all GF and dairy free) would love them! And I have never tried the Authentic Foods products -- thanks for another wonderful giveaway!!!

  46. I think I might have to go make some cupcakes right now... yum!

  47. And the winners are......

    comment #5 - Karen R.
    comment #10 - Jen D.
    comment #16 - Valerie
    comment #27 - Adrienne
    comment #31 - Allison
    comment #41 - Jennifer M.

    Congrats to the winners, now could you each please email me your mailing address? Thanks, enjoy your gluten-free cake mixes!

    -Ali :)

  48. I think I'm going to try making these with cherries for the holidays! : ) These looks absolutely AMAZING. Thanks for sharing yet ANOTHER incredible looking recipe. When do you expect us to eat all this stuff? ;) -Kim

  49. Ali, I made these for a birthday party and they were GREAT! I made a frosting out of cashews, a little coconut oil, cocoa powder, water to blend, vanilla bean, sea salt and agave and it worked out really yummy!

  50. Oh, sweet goodness! I just baked these tonight... my excuse was my baby's 7 month birthday, which is tomorrow. ;-) (he will not be getting least not directly). I added an extra teaspoon of almond extract and put a little dollop of raspberry preserves in the center of 1/2 the cupcakes. AMAZING!!! My husband and I couldn't stop eating them!! Hopefully there will be some left to frost tomorrow.
    Thank you again for these delicious recipes.

  51. Also, I just realized that I never added the xanthan gum... oops! But they turned out great!

  52. Just tried these for my son's 2nd bday - they are amazing. Moist, chocolatey, and the chocolate frosting is great. I used regular cane sugar, and canola oil instead of grapeseed, and still was really happy with the result. Thanks!

  53. hey your blog design is very nice, clean and fresh and with updated content, make people feel peace and I always like browsing your site.

    - Mark

  54. those cupcakes look delic..cant wait to try them..:)

  55. My cupcakes did not rise in the middle. Is there anything I could do to get them to rise consistently. The sides rose very nicely. Very good taste!!!


  56. why the arrowroot in the frosting? just curious! I am always on the lookout for ways to make frosting w/out the dreaded powdered sugar!!!


  57. Love the cupcakes, have them on the counter, boys will be thrilled to come home from school, nice treat. Can you freeze the frosting, or keep it in the fridge for later?
    Thanks again.

  58. Hi Ali

    I made your double chocolate cake for Easter and could NOT get my icing recipes to work (I wanted fruit based) so I made this icing recipe, substituting the palm shortening with virgin coconut oil and the arrowroot with tapioca flour. I did a choc version and a 'white' version (omitting the vanilla and cocoa) for decorating. It piped well and tasted delish!! Although there were definitely melting issues, (the iced cake stayed in the fridge till we cut it) was very happy with the result. Thanks again!!

  59. wow, never tried this brand before and would love to. thank you for your great blog. I really enjoy trying your new recipes.

  60. Do you think these would work as a sheet cake? Thinking of making these for Valentine's Day! Thanks!

  61. I have tried to find a birthday cake recipe that doesn't taste "vegan" since learning I had sensitivities to gluten, dairy and eggs, but hadn't found one I also felt good serving my "normal" diet family members. I tried this as an 8 in. two-layer cake. It passed with flying colors! (I don't think my husband realized it was vegan!) And the I love that it doesn't contain powdered sugar, and because of that, doesn't dry out quickly. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe with us!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)