Gluten Free Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on September 23, 2010

His face became a closed, unreadable mask, his eyes turned cold and hard with just the barest of squints, his mouth was drawn in a firm, straight line and his jaw was set with stubborn determination. No, it was not Clint Eastwood in an old spaghetti western; it was my husband when I asked him to taste my vegan, gluten-free cupcakes. But being a wife has certain powers, a fact not lost on my husband so with much trepidation he begrudgingly took a small bite. Suddenly everything about him changed, his face softened, his eyes shone with joy, “this is one of the best cupcakes I have ever eaten!” he proclaimed. Ha!

I have received many requests for recipes lately for not only gluten-free cupcakes but vegan as well. So I looked to Chloe, winner of Cupcake Wars with her vegan cupcakes for a starting point. I noticed she used oil and vinegar in her cupcakes which got me thinking, why not try Vegenaise instead? Vegenaise is an egg-free, vegan mayo substitute which we have started using at our house since said stubborn husband has high cholesterol (I must point out that for all his hesitation in trying the vegan cupcakes, he absolutely loves Vegenaise). This turned out to be stroke of brilliance! The cupcakes were moist with a tender crumb and absolutely delicious.

You may notice the lack of xanthan gum in the following recipe, it’s not a mistake. Well actually it was, I intended to add some but forgot. Turns out they didn’t need it. The cupcakes rose perfectly and did not fall apart or get crumbly. I am not sure if the Vegenaise had anything to do with this or not, but I was so happy with the result of these vegan, gluten-free German Chocolate cupcakes, I wouldn’t change a thing.

If you prefer not to mix flours, you can use 1½ cups all purpose gluten-free flour blend in place of the fours and starches in the recipe.

Gluten Free German Chocolate Cupcakes Vegan

Gluten Free Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

Ingredients

Cupcakes

½ cup superfine white rice flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup coconut milk (shake can well before measuring)
½ cup Vegenaise
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract

Frosting

1 ½ cups coconut flakes
1 cup pecans, chopped
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, measured then sifted
¼ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ cup refined coconut oil at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
4 – 6 tablespoons coconut milk

Directions

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup standard muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white rice flour, millet flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, coconut milk, Vegenaise and extracts. Add the coconut milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir or whisk to combine.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about ¾ full.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the tops are slightly springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave oven on. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Prepare frosting while cupcakes cool.

Frosting

Place the coconut flakes pecans on separate baking sheets. Toast in oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes for the coconut and about 10 minutes for the pecans. Watch closely so they don’t burn. Let cool while mixing the rest of the frosting.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar, salt, coconut oil and the extracts. Starting with the mixer on low speed, blend until combined. Gradually increase the speed to medium and add the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting is the consistency of buttercream frosting. Turn mixer to medium high speed and continue to mix for 3 minutes.

Take a handful of the toasted coconut flakes to use as garnish and add the rest along with the pecan to the frosting and mix well with a spatula. You may need to add a bit more coconut milk to keep the frosting at a spreadable constancy. Frost cooled cupcakes, sprinkle with some toasted coconut and serve.

Servings

Makes 12 gluten free cupcakes.

Need a quick meal?

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“The “Simply” in ‘Simply … Gluten-Free Quick Meals’ doesn’t just make for a catchy title. The recipes in this cookbook truly are quick and easy to prepare. – A. C.

“I set the timer on two separate nights and made two complete meals from Carol’s latest cookbook in 30-40 minutes. They not only pleased my family, but gave me new recipes and techniques to get dinner on the table faster every night.” – W. K.

“I love the way this book is laid out – full meals I can make in no time. Love the sense of fun and humor in this book but mostly I love all the gluten free recipes -.” – J. F.

Ready for dessert?

Simply...Gluten-Free DessertsSimply…Gluten-Free Desserts is now available, with over 135 recipes not featured in my blog.

Available at bookstores including Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powells, Books-a-Million and Amazon. You can get it also HERE.

“I can now have recipes I know I can count on for every Dessert and Breakfast occasion! I’m thrilled!” – A. M.

“I am amazed! This recipe is BETTER than the ‘regular-with-gluten’ recipe! Thanks so much, Carol” – V. P.

“I love your gluten free recipes - I can now have my desserts.” – F.R.

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Categories:    Dessert

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara September 23, 2010 at 8:08 am

Wow those look fantastic…my coconut-loving husband would love those. Thanks for going out on a limb with vegenaise – I love that stuff! I'm definitely going to have to try these!

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Donna September 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Oh My! These look fantastic – who knew gluten-free and vegan could look so good?

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Sandy September 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Wow – I am seriously impressed! Love coconut and chocolate!

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GF Gidget September 24, 2010 at 4:47 am

I was literally just talking to someone about making a GF/DF version of German Chocolate Cake! CRAZY!!!

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The InTolerant Chef September 24, 2010 at 5:44 am

They look so nice! If you didn't tell someone I'm sure they wouldn't even guess these were gluten free and vegan. Sometimes people think that the 'missing'ingredients must be the only ones that contain the flavour!

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Joy September 24, 2010 at 9:28 am

Thanks so much for this recipe. We too switched from mayo to Vegenaise becasue of high cholesterol but I never thought to make cupcakes with it! Brilliant.

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Joy September 24, 2010 at 9:28 am

Thanks so much for this recipe. We too switched from mayo to Vegenaise becasue of high cholesterol but I never thought to make cupcakes with it! Brilliant.

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Joy September 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

oops! sorry for the double comment – don't know how to fix it :)

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Kim-Cook it Allergy Free September 24, 2010 at 9:42 am

Carol, the pictures are beautiful. Wish I could channel some of your skills, my friend! ;)
And those cupcakes sound perfect! I love this recipe! I might use this one instead of the one I was going to use for a birthday party this weekend! Yum!
The true testament is that your husband gave such a thumbs up (thanks to your special wifely powers, hehe).

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glutenfreeforgood September 25, 2010 at 11:59 am

You are definitely the cupcake queen! Vegenaise?! Brilliance, indeed. And sneaky. =)

As always, the most gorgeous photos!
Melissa

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Diane-The WHOLE Gang September 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I use to make a German Chocolate Cake for hubby all the time. I've not since going GFDF. He's going to be so excited. However mine will no way look that good so I'm putting him on a plane to your house tomorrow.

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Diane-The WHOLE Gang September 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I use to make a German Chocolate Cake for hubby all the time. I've not since going GFDF. He's going to be so excited. However mine will no way look that good so I'm putting him on a plane to your house tomorrow.

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Emm September 27, 2010 at 1:13 am

Now these, I am excited about! Totally making these. Many thanks for the great recipes :-)

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gfe--gluten free easily September 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I love discovering how many recipes you can make without xanthan gum. And, that's how I've discovered so many recipes work without it, too, Carol … just forgetting it. These cupcakes are winners! I'm remembering German Chocolate Cake now. I love how your husband reacted to them–both before and after. It's often like that at our house, too! You think they wouldn't be that skeptical after all this time, huh? Oh, and I can see how Wendy said this post started out like a romance novel. ;-)

Shirley

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Linda September 28, 2010 at 6:42 am

I love German chocolate cake, but haven't made it in a long time. These cupcakes look delicious and I'm thrilled that they are dairy free.

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Jennifer September 29, 2010 at 4:28 am

These look so perfect!!! I love german chocolate. The fact that you didn't use xantham gum makes me happy, saving this!

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Joy October 27, 2010 at 4:46 am

I made these last week end and just wanted to let you know what a huge hit they were! My husband was a little suspicious about vegan cupcakes too but he could not get enough! Thanks again.

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Michelle Henderson January 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I don’t have any of the flours that it calls for, just Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose. Could I use that instead or do I need to get the flours it calls for?

Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try these!

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Carol, Simply Gluten Free January 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hi Michelle,

You don’t have to use those flours I just like to give people options. Any type of all purpose gluten free flour that you like will work great. Just substitute 1 1/2 cups of flour for the flours listed. I am not sure how much starch is in Bob’s Red Mill so it may be necessary to add 1 tsp. of xanthan gum. The ratio of starch to flour keeps the cupcakes together without the xanthan gum but as I said I am not sure about how much starch is in Bob’s. My gut is telling me you will need to add xanthan gum though..

xo,
carol

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meme February 3, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I used GF Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose flour and it turned out well!

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Carol Kicinski February 5, 2013 at 6:48 am

Great! Thanks for reporting back!

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jess March 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Hi, could you recommend an alternative for the Veganaise? Would coconut butter or avocado work?

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Carol, Simply Gluten Free March 29, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I would try coconut oil (actually any kind of oil should work) and add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the cupcake batter.

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Gretchen May 13, 2011 at 11:12 am

Mmmnnn – husband keeps mentioning that I haven’t baked chocolate chip cookies in a while but I bet a few of these cupcakes would take care of that craving :-)

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Camille July 6, 2011 at 11:41 am

Hi Carol,
I LOVE your cookbook. I made the Red Velvet cupcakes this past weekend. They were delicious! I haven’t had many great GF baking experience with some of the other books I’ve purchased. So I pre-baked for my upcoming birthday and the Red Velvet cupcakes were my test as they are my boyfriends favorite cake and he’s not GF.
My birthday is Sunday, but we’re going to dinner on Friday evening and I would like to bake this but as a mini cake. How would I adjust the recipe? Also, I’m not vegan, do I need to use Vegenaise ? I would prefer to use eggs and milk or buttermilk depending on your reply. I also plan to use the Sweet Rice blend. I would like to avoid going to the grocery store to purchase any additional ingredients, can I leave out the Instant espresso?

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Carol Kicinski July 7, 2011 at 12:09 am

Thanks Camille! First of all Happy Birthday! If you want to bake this as a mini cake instead of cupcakes, just bake longer. And if not needing it to be vegan then use mayonaise instead of vegenaise – it will make a really moist cake. You can use milk or butter milk instead of the coconut milk in the recipe, add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda if you use buttermilk. Yes the sweet rice flour blend is perfect! You can leave out the espresso powder, no problem! For the frosting use butter instead of the coconut oil and milk instead of the coconut milk – you wil basically be making a buttercream frosting. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

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Lynne H September 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Hi, Wow – what a wonderful recipe!! I will be making these for my company tomorrow. I absolutely love, love love vegenaise – what a wonderful idea. I have usedTofutti Betther than Sour Cream when I bake but I am going to use the vegenaise. I have to eat GF/CF and egg free. When I need to use eggs I use a combination of ground flax seed meal w/warm water and apple cider vinegar. Thanks again!!!

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Carol Kicinski September 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

Hi Lynne, I know the ground flax seeds work well as egg replacement but I always use Vegenaise when I bake cakes or cupcakes, it works great and everything is soooo moist! Enjoy!

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Carol Cripps July 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

These look so good! German Chocolate cake is my favourite, but it’s pretty much impossible to find German’s Sweet chocolate in my area, so I love that you’ve used cocoa instead. Could I use regular milk, butter and mayo instead of the vegan options, though? It would save me money, and cholesterol isn’t much of an issue around here.

I should tell you that your recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes is a hit in my co op builking. Those who know I eat gf say that they can’t tell the difference, and those who don’t know that I eat gf don’t know that there is a difference …. I bake them as mini cupcakes and get LOTS of cupcakes. That’s a good thing, because most people at our functions go back for seconds, and thirds…I also use the marshmallow frosting, and tint it for various holidays, because it doesn’t require refrigeration like a cream cheese frosting does. Thanks so much for all your work!

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Carol Kicinski July 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Thank you so much! Yes you could use mayo, butter and milk. Love that idea of tinting the marshmallow frosting – what a great idea!

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Siri Chand August 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Would this make one layer of 9 inch cake?

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Carol Kicinski August 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Yes, you will just have to bake it a little longer, abt 10 mins.

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Vanessa November 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

My mom recently found out that she is gluten intolerant and I’m vegan so I was struggling to come up with something to bake for our dinner party tonight. These came out beautifully. The texture is perfect and the taste is fantastic. We both thought that they were a bit too sweet so next time I will cut the sugar to 2/3 cup. Other than that, no changes necessary. Thanks for the recipe!

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Carol Kicinski November 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

Thank you for letting me know Vanessa! So happy you enjoyed and I love it when people adapt my recipes to their own preferences!

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Kay February 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm

These look amazing, I think I’m going to try baking them this weekend, my one friend has Celiac’s and another is going vegan for lent so this is PERFECT.

Can you use almond milk instead of coconut milk? (that would be one less thing I’d have to buy at whole foods)

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Carol Kicinski February 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Yes! ALmond milk will work perrfectly well. Enjoy and you are a very nice friend!

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Dianne March 24, 2013 at 3:50 am

Not only did my soon-to-be son-in-law recently find out he needs to avoid gluten, but is even more allergic to rice, soy and wheat. I’d love to know how to get a similar or close!) result using coconut, quinoa, and/or teff flours. He can tolerate some oat flour, too. Would adding more Vegenaise counteract the dryness of those flours? My hubby and I are vegan, so love that you’re adding more recipes for us, too!

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Carol Kicinski March 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Hi Dianne, I am always hesitant to say to do something when I have yet to try myself but here is what I would do – Sub the white rice flour with teff and the sweet rice flour with potato starch assuming he can do potato. You might need to add just a tad more Vegeanasie, but I think if you keep the starch content high enough it will be fine. I wouldn’t try using this recipe with coconut flour as it has different properties, it absobs so much liquid. I have the best luck with lots of eggs when using coconut flour and so it would not be vegan. I hope this helps and if you can, report back and let me know!

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Susan May 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm

This is the best gf chocolate cupcake recipe. I was leery because there were no eggs, but it’s excellent! A must try!

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Carol Kicinski May 27, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thanks so much Susan! My hubby was so leary too but he is a convert as well!

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Christa August 14, 2014 at 10:11 am

Hi Carol,
This looks like a great recipe. I’m not vegan, but I tend to gravitate towards vegan and/or paleo recipes due to gluten & lactose intolerances.

I am just wondering if you can clarify something? It’s my understanding that regular white sugar is not considered vegan because it’s refined using bone char? Do you know if this is true? I have hesitated to refer to anything I’ve baked for other people as ‘vegan’ because of this.

Thanks in advance.

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Carol Kicinski September 2, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Christa,
That’s a very good question and unfortunately one that I don’t know the answer to. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
Best,
Carol

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