Gluten-Free Grandma's Chocolate Cupcakes


  • ½ cup cocoa - unsweetened - alkalized or not (slightly better rise with alkalized)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp salt

Dry Ingredients

  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ¾ cup cup buckwheat flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup teff flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar or rapadura (rapadura makes for a fudgier cake)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp guar gum (Optional - your cakes will still rise without it but it does give nice lift)

Egg OR Substitute

  • 2 tsp ground salba or chia (for ground flax, increase by ½)
  • ¼ cup water
  • -OR-
  • 2 eggs

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk (substitute dairy-free milk OR water with 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar)
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower - you can leave this out for a more dense cake)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Vanilla Icing (Yield: Produces a lot of icing so halve the recipe if you are not in need of extra icing)

  • 8 oz butter (2 sticks)
  • 6-8 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp salt (dissolve in buttermilk, if possible)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans, grease and flour cake pans. Makes about two 9" cakes or 24 cupcakes
  2. Combine cocoa and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely
  3. Place dry ingredients in bowl of mixer fitted with a paddle. Stir all ingredients together
  4. Combine all wet ingredients. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, EXCLUDING cocoa (add eggs or egg substitute here)
  5. Mix for 7 minutes, scraping down after mixing
  6. Slowly add cooled cocoa to batter with the mixer set to the lowest speed. Scrape down, mix for 1 more minute on medium speed
  7. Pour batter into prepared pans
  8. Bake until done - approximately 20 minutes for the cupcake, 20-30 minutes for the 9" cake.  Cool completely.  (The cake does not rise to a high dome, but is rich and moist)
  9. Top with Vanilla Icing

Vanilla Icing

  1. Combine butter and 4 cups of the confectioners sugar and mix until it resembles corn meal. If it combines completely, that's okay
  2. Add the buttermilk with the salt and the vanilla. Mix until completely incorporated. Add 2 more cups of confectioners sugar. Mix again. If the mixture is still wet, add another cup or two of sugar
  3. When it is spreadable but holds its shape, it is done

Optional Garnish

  • shaved chocolate