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Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting

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Requested at almost every family birthday party, these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes are topped with an amazing fudge frosting! This might just become your go-to gluten-free birthday cupcake recipe too!

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting regular and dark chocolate

After my diagnosis with celiac disease several years ago, one of the first desserts that I knew I was going to have to make gluten-free was chocolate cupcakes.  I adore cookies and brownies, but if I HAD to pick my favorite dessert, it would be these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes with fudgy frosting. They’re my favorite gluten-free cupcakes!

This is the only thing I bake that I have zero self-control around. I will usually eat 3 of these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes per day until they are gone, which is definitely not good for the waistline! It’s definitely best if I make them when I have somewhere to bring them!

I’ve been sharing these super chocolaty, moist cupcakes with their fudgy frosting with people for years. They always receive rave reviews from everyone that tries them, whether they eat gluten-free usually or not. No one can tell that they are gluten-free!

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcake with Fudge Frosting

These gluten-free cupcakes have the best texture on the day AFTER baking them, which I think is a big plus! I can whip these up the day before a birthday party, holiday get-together, or BBQ and save myself the work on the day of the event. Sometimes I’ll frost these the first day, sometimes I’ll wait to frost them until a few hours before I need them. You can store these at room temperature if your house isn’t overly warm, or keep chilled until an hour before serving.

This versatile recipe comes from my favorite recipe for gluten-free Texas Sheet Cake.  If you’re looking for a potluck friendly dessert, go check that one out!

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting

Notes on ingredients for gluten-free chocolate cupcakes:

Here’s a look at how full to fill the cupcake liners before baking and what the cupcakes look like after baking. You’ll notice the cupcakes are mostly flat, making them perfect for frosting!

Making gluten-free chocolate cupcakes

This frosting – you MUST make this fudge frosting! You will totally want to just eat the frosting with a spoon. My hubby and I will fight over who gets to lick the beaters when I make it. Thanks to my friend Steph for sharing this frosting recipe with me back in my college days!

No matter what new cake recipe I try out, I always use this frosting as it is simply the best chocolate fudge frosting there is!

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcake with dark chocolate frosting

Now I often do the frosting like I do the cake – with half regular cocoa and half dark cocoa. This pic shows you what the frosting looks like made with all regular cocoa (the lighter colored frosting) or with the blend with dark cocoa and regular together (the darker colored frosting). It’s completely delicious either way, or to make it fun, make a batch of each like I did here if you want the pretty assortment to offer.

Gluten free Chocolate Cupcakes with chocolate frosting

If you use this frosting while still warm, it is easily spreadable and has a glossy finish when dried like you see in the photo of my gluten-free Chocolate Love Cakes but can slide off of whatever you are frosting. If you let the frosting cool completely before using, then it firms up and can be placed into a pastry bag for piping for decorating cupcakes like I did in these photos.

The chocolate fudge frosting can also be refrigerated to use later; just microwave 10 seconds at a time, and stir, until you get to the right consistency for piping or spreading. If you like a lot of frosting on each cupcake (or if you eat too much of it with a spoon!), then you might need to make another batch of the frosting to have enough. If you have any frosting left over, I put it in a freezer bag and put in the freezer to pull out the next time I need some extra frosting (or need a pure chocolate fudge fix!) For piping the icing on these to make a fun swirl,  I used a tip from this Ateco Decorating Set on Amazon.

You can also switch up your cupcake liners and add sprinkles to make these work for whatever holiday or party you’re bringing them to. Here I used red/white/blue liners and sprinkles to make gluten-free patriotic cupcakes for a Fourth of July potluck:

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting

For gluten-free Halloween treats, I simply found some Halloween cupcake toppers and used them, along with some Halloween cupcake liners. I usually find these Halloween cupcake toppers at Hobby Lobby – but other stores like Michael’s and cake/party decor places should have them too. I took these easy Halloween cupcakes to a Harvest Party our church was having. The gluten-free kids in attendance were so excited to have gluten-free Halloween cupcakes to win in the cake walk game.

Gluten-free Halloween Cupcakes

My personal favorite way to enjoy the best gluten-free chocolate cupcakes is to pull them out of the refrigerator and put in the microwave for 12 seconds. With a glass of cold milk as a chaser, I am in heaven as I enjoy chocolate overload! I hope you can make this soon and enjoy chocolate overload with me!

Looking for some other yummy chocolate recipes? Try my flourless chocolate cookie recipe for a real chocolate fix. Next try this skinny flourless dark chocolate cake recipe – it looks so decadent! 

Recipe for Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudge Frosting regular and dark chocolate

These super chocolaty gluten-free cupcakes are even better made the day before eating, making them a great choice for birthdays.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes



  • 2 cups good quality gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum *see note
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks, 16 Tbsp.)
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder *see note
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Fudge Frosting:

  • ½ cup salted butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder *see note
  • 3 ⅔ cup powdered sugar
  • 6-7 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract



  1. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In your mixing bowl, combine gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and 1 cup water. Bring just to boiling, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add to dry ingredients, beat until combined.
  4. Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla and beat for one minute on low-medium speed.
  5. Pour batter into cupcake liners. I use a large scoop that measures about 1/3 cup batter into each opening.
  6. Bake at 350° for 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs (no wet batter).
  7. Let cool in pan for 4 minutes, then remove cupcakes. Wait to frost until completely cool.

Fudge Frosting:

  1. Using a medium glass bowl, melt the stick of butter in microwave. Whisk in cocoa powder, then heat for 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and milk alternately, beating with a hand mixer until creamy. Add vanilla last, beating in until mixed well.
  2. If you use this frosting while still warm, it is easily spreadable and has the glossy finish when dried like you see in the photo but can slide off of whatever you are frosting. If you let it cool completely, then it firms up and can be placed into a pastry bag for piping for decorating cakes or cupcakes. The icing can be refrigerated to use later; just microwave 10 seconds at a time, and stir, until you get to the right consistency for piping or spreading.


*If your flour blend already contains xanthan gum or guar gum, omit the xanthan gum called for in this recipe.

As always, be sure to double-check your ingredients for gluten.
For the cocoa powder, I like to use about 1/2 of dutch-processed or Saco blend cocoa and 1/2 Hershey's special dark cocoa. That is how I achieve a nice dark brown to my cupcakes and icing.

*You can also bake this as a cake in a 9x13" pan for ~35 minutes or in two 8" cake pans for 22 minutes. Make sure to spray the pans well with non-stick cooking spray.

Here they are decorated for a patriotic party:

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes recipe with fudge frosting

Pin these to your gluten-free desserts board here!

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Frosting Recipe

I hope you and your family enjoy these and think they’re the best gluten-free cupcakes like my family does!

Click to share this with your friends or family!


Sunday 13th of March 2022

An amendment to my previous comment...once the cupcakes finally baked (probably around 30 minutes or so) they were amazing! Neither my husband nor daughter could believe they were gluten free. I used the same recipe, substituting all-purpose flour, to make a bunch of non-gluten free and those were also delicious. A couple of nights later, I was baking them again when I realized I only had a cup of white sugar left in the house. I added a cup of brown sugar instead and they were just as fantastic. This recipe, with adjusted baking time and yield, is a keeper!


Monday 7th of March 2022

I'm so confused. I'm a scratch baker and rarely have fails. I followed the directions to the letter but my cupcakes have been in the oven for 25 minutes now and are still completely raw in the middle. I used Cup4Cup flour.

Liz Whitehead

Sunday 6th of February 2022

Hello! I came across your recipe a few years ago when I was one of 6 friends asked to make cupcakes for a good friend’s wedding! A lot of her friends and family, (including herself), have dietary restrictions/choices and finding a good solid cupcake was my goal. I made a batch of these to try out on my coworkers and they raved about them and many comments were, “you can’t tell these are gluten free!” I used the flour recommended and worked beautifully. I also substituted butter and the buttermilk for dairy free, (almond milk and a tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar and let sit till ready to use is my got to). I used a peanut butter frosting as a flavor for my friends to try and they approved it for the big day! The unfortunate thing was it was a very hot day, but otherwise, these got tons of raves from many at the wedding! I was looking for this recipe for a super bowl party for GF/DF folks and thought I’d leave a comment and thank you for the recipe! Thank you!!


Sunday 6th of February 2022

I’ve made Texas sheet cake for years and wanted to do gf for a friend. My cake batter came out very rubbery. The flavor seemed fine so I baked them. They did rise and smelled good. After being baked though the texture of the cake was really off. Can you give me suggestion on what I may have done wrong? I used the cup 4 cup flour, organic butter.

Emily Gutmann

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

Hi there, Your recipes are my favorite. I asked this in January and I am sorry if I missed the information somewhere but I am interested in making traditional chocolate or vanilla birthday cakes (rounds). Can you convert this recipe or do you have another suggestion? Thank you.

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