Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting. (Vegan/Gluten/Grain/Egg/Soy Free)

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting. (Vegan/Gluten/Grain/Egg/Soy Free)

 Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

with Cookie Dough Frosting

Before I get into talk about these awesome cupcakes I want to share that my first newly released book The Essential Gluten Free Baking Guide Part 1 is now available for Kindle! (Part 2 will also be available very soon!) The price is only $9.99 per book. For more info on the content check out the FAQ or read some of the reviews on amazon!


8lbs of Almond Flour and 19 different recipe trials- this recipe took me nearly 5 full days of work. Phew.

Cupcakes are easy to throw together, really easy when you use grain based flours + eggs. But the grain free flours (at least the nut based varieties) are pretty heavy and without the use of eggs they are not likely to bake up light and fluffy. My mission the past few months has been to bang out as many Grain, Egg and Sugar free recipes as possible. This combination of "free's" is really hard to come by! I hear all the time from various readers that they tried to convert their favorite grain free recipes to egg free with disastrous results as its really not easy to do, and takes quite a bit of patience. I'm starting to scheme and dream about the recipes for my next book and my game plan is to experiment heavily with all the various grain free flours and create as many recipes as possible without the use of eggs! The challenge of these cupcakes was exciting, and I'm feeling a strong drive to continue on this learning journey.

These cupcakes, to be perfectly honest are more like brownies than cupcakes. But, I do believe I stretched the restricted ingredients to the fullest of their "light and fluffy" potential. With that being said, they are not light and fluffy.. BUT I am happy to say that they are lighter than a brownie. This recipe will be a work in progress, as I experiment heavily with the other grain free flours I'm sure I'll make some fun discoveries in how to achieve the exact texture that I want. For now, I'm pretty pleased with these results!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

Often, I like to provide all kinds of substitution instructions. Today I will not be doing that too extensively. Why? Little changes to this recipe make a big difference, a very big difference infact. 1/2 tsp more or less of liquid will make these cupcakes bake perfectly or fall in the last few minutes in the oven.

A few things I learned along the way: Almond Flour is HEAVY. I started this project using it as my primary flour and no matter what I did, the rise I could get was extremely limited. Flax Meal is slightly lighter than Almond which is why I used it as almost 50% of the mix. The more I used, the lighter the cupcakes became.. but when I went beyond the 50% mark the cupcakes started to get an off putting gummy texture. The Starch and Cocoa Powder help provide some lift, but I had to be careful with the amount I used as they made the cupcakes hard as rocks if I used too much. I did not test out any other nut and seed flours, so if you have that desire- feel free to give it a try. But be prepared that you may need to experiment a little.

*Every time I post an almond flour recipe, I get asked multiple times is coconut flour will work. Coconut flour works extremely, extremely different. Trying to use it in place of almond will almost always provide bad results*

Different types of sugar affect this recipe as well. I did the majority of my trials with Organic Cane Sugar as thats what I was most stocked up in. In my last few trials I used Sucanat and Palm sugar and noticed I needed to make a tiny change in the liquid amount as Sucanat and Palm contain less moisture than Cane Sugar! I did not experiment with xylitol or any other "sugar free" sugars. If you want to do this, I think it would be safe to try- but I cannot guarantee perfect results.

You'll notice that this batch is on the small side. I did this due to the sheer volume of times that I needed to retest the recipe. Unfortunately I ran out of almond flour just as I finished the recipe and was not able to source anymore locally to see if the recipe functioned well as a double batch. So, for now I'm leaving this in your hands. If you give it a try, please come back and let us all know how they turned out.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting

Grain & Egg Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting.


  • 1/2 Cup + 1 TBS Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Flax Meal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 5 1/2 TBS Starch (Tapioca or Arrowroot)
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/8 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 3/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • (If you are able to eat it, I highly recommend Double Acting from Bob's)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp. Oil
  • 5 TBS Milk (Dairy or Nondairy- any variety)
  • 1 3/4 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Line 6-7 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. In a bowl, combine all cupcake ingredients. At first when you stir the batter will look very dry. As you mix it, it will gain a thick wet consistency.
  3. Spoon the batter into the cups. If you want your cupcakes taller divide the batter among only 6 cups. (I personally like using 7 cups).
  4. Bake 23-25 minutes. (I use a toothpick to test for doneness. it won't ever come out completely clean, but I look to make sure the stick isn't covered with wet batter.
  5. Remove from oven, and place the cupcakes into a sealed bag. The tops of these cupcakes can get on the hard side, and placing them to cool in this warm environment provides the best overall texture.
  6. Once cooled, top with frosting!


If using Cane Sugar follow the ingredients listed above. If you choose to use Sucanat or Palm Sugar add an extra 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract or milk as the recipe will need that extra bit of liquid).

As these sit, over time I found that they dry out some. A quick 30 second trip to the microwave will make them nice and soft again.


Cookie Dough Frosting

Yield: 6-7 frosted cupcakes.


  • 1/2 Cup- 3/4 Cup Blanched Almond Flour
  • 7 TBS Milk (Dairy or Nondairy)
  • 1/2 cup- 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar (to taste)
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt.
  • 2-3 TBS Starch (Tapioca or Arrowroot).
  • Allergy Free Chocolate Chips.


  1. Combine in a sauce pan the Almond flour and Milk. Depending on how thick you want your frosting you can use more or less almond flour. Add the Sugar (to taste), Vanilla and pinch of salt and continue to stir over low heat. The mixture will thicken (and the granules of the almond flour will become less obvious). A a few minutes add as much starch as you would like to create your desired thickness. Place in the fridge (or freezer) to cool.
  2. Once chilled pipe or spread frosting onto (cooled) cupcakes. Top with Chocolate Chips!


Any variety of granulated sugar can be used here- keep in mind that the color of the sugar will affect the frosting. For those that like to use honey and other liquid sugars - feel free. You just may need to adjust how much almond flour and starch you use to thicken the frosting.





Brittany Angell

30 comments | Leave your own

  1. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

    ::Standing ovation:: You rock, Brittany. 🙂

  2. Niv

    Hi Brittany

    This looks yum. I want to try it but wanted to know what is the best substitution for flax. My son doesn’t tolerate flax but he can have chia. Do you know what the proportion would be?


  3. bitt

    wow, this can be my birthday cake!!! can I hire you to cook it too? well done, i know this wasn’t easy with all the parameters.

  4. joan

    I wonder if cashew flour would be lighter than almond….

  5. June

    Thanks so much for this recipe!! What a challenge you took on. I will be trying these on the weekend. With regard to flour experiments, have you ever tried buckwheat flour? I grind my own from hulled seeds so I don’t get that black chaffy stuff. Yuk. The raw buckwheat flour is fantastic for giving my gf flax muffins a tender, light texture. I sub in about 30g of buckwheat flour for another gf flour and soak it in the liquid I soak my flax in as well. I think my recipe gets about 12 muffins. They rise better than the original recipe.

  6. Amy in Austin

    This looks amazing! Have you ever considered working in weight rather than volume measurements for baking? It might be simpler than 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp (and there are less measuring devices to wash when you’re done!)

  7. Alison

    If one were to use eggs with this recipe, what would you recommend? Can I just keep your recipe the same and use an egg with it?

  8. hännah @ dishesanddishes

    These look great…and I would probably love brownie-like cupcakes just as much, if not more, than cake-like ones. I’m very impressed with your dedication to getting things right with so many trials. Thanks for sharing so we can all benefit from what you learned!

  9. Kate @eatrecyclerepeat

    Wow! Thanks for all the work you put into testing recipes. I’m experiencing similar challenges with some grain-free coconut muffins – right now they are so dense! I love to eat them, but they aren’t quite ready for a blog debut. These look like they would be really fun to decorate with kids! Maybe with some shredded coconut on top for Easter too…

    1. Kate @eatrecyclerepeat

      What I forgot to say was that I am excited to get the Kindle version of your book for some guidance in the baking department!

  10. Kristina

    omygosh these cupcakes look amazing! Can’t wait to give these a try!! Are white vinegar and apple cider interchangeable? I only have white at home? I’m just starting to get into vegan baking, I still need to stock my pantry up!

  11. Fiona Elliott

    Hi everyone,

    Just made these this morning and they are fabulous. I put less sugar 1/2 a cup and I reckon you could cut back a little more. Will experiment. Loved the idea of putting them into bags kept them really soft, normally that would be a no no but works well with almond meal. Didn’t make the icing will do next time. Thanks for sharing this and so grateful that you enjoy baking till you get the perfect batch.

    Cheers fee

  12. Gretchen @gfedge

    Hi Brittany – I love your blog, your recipes, and the risks that you take in creating these recipes. I’ve baked this particular recipe in my own kitchen several times with my brand of ingredients because the deep chocolate flavor of the cake and the dense, yet fluffy texture are great. I am reducing the sugar for blood sugar considerations. The other thing I did which really made a difference for me was to process in a coffee grinder both the flax meal and coconut palm sugar to a fine powder. The sugar disperses evenly (and seems sweeter) and the flax meal had a distracting texture. I will probably make several more tiny adjustments but wanted to thank you for the work that you put into this. Egg free stays fresh longer and therefore is easier to travel with – greatly important for gluten-free. Your work is very much appreciated.

  13. kim

    I just found this site and am loving the recipes! I think I will try this one only with an egg or two instead of flax. I was voted mom of the year this am when I made the grain free waffles! I heard wow mom these are actually good! So, thank you for that!

  14. Alexandra

    Thanks for an amazing recipe! I have experimented with this a few times now and thought I would post my findings for other readers, in case they are helpful.

    I had to make these low-salycilate today (so no almonds) and replaced the almond meal with hazelnut meal. It did not go so well. They are edible, but the texture is off and the hazelnut meal is much heavier and makes them more dense than they were. If you want to use hazelnut meal I would suggest adding more oil.

    Also worth noting that in a fan forced oven a much lower temperature and shorter cooking time will stop them burning around the edges.

    I have found two things that compliment the recipe though – the other day I was all out of arrowroot/tapioca so instead I used coconut flour. Worked perfectly!

    Also, instead of the icing here (which I haven’t tried yet as I dont have choc chips on hand but I do plan on trying!) I used a raw cacao butter buttercream. Exactly the same recipe as your ordinary buttercream, but instead of dairy butter use cocoa/cacao butter. Delicious!! Can add cocoa powder to make it chocolatey otherwise it’s a white chocolate icing.

    Again, thank you for the recipe!

  15. Bethanie

    Your recipes are amazing! We are mostly paleo with a daughter who also has allergies to eggs, soy and dairy. I was so happy to come across your blog! I’ve used some of your recipes before and I’m excited to use this one for my son’s birthday next week! Thank you so much for sharing these with me! I will probably post on my blog about his birthday and what treats we have, but I will DEFINITELY link to you! Thanks!

  16. Fiorella

    These were awesome, thanks so much! Only flaw was my fault – I thought I could make flax meal from my flax seeds in my food processor but that didn’t work LOL oh well, it didn’t affect the taste, you could just feel the little seeds.

    Question: once cooled and frosted, do you store them in a sealed bag, airtight container on countertop or in the fridge? (Not that they’ll last long but in case we don’t get to eating them right away)

  17. Rebecca

    Can I use potato starch instead?

  18. Debi

    I tried this recipe with stevia substition and they were not good, I am so dissappointed! My grandson’s birthday is this weekend and I was hoping this would be the cake I could make him after looking at several egg free, gluten free recipes. He also dosen’t eat sugar so I tried the stevia…….oh well back to searching!

  19. Leanna

    I just made these because there is a birthday party in my daughter’s(5yr old) class today at school and she is GF/EF right now. Not sure if she will like the texture of the icing.( made it but also made a powdered sugar one) but I am very impressed! They look like a cupcake and taste good also. I also had made some zucchini brownies in cupcake wrappers in case these didn’t work. They don’t look near as pretty as these do. THANK YOU!

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Hey Everyone!

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Thank you!