Gluten Free Almond Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on October 6, 2011

gluten free recipes almond chocolate cherry cupcakes Some of my gluten free recipes are pretty naughty; filled with sugar, butter, cream, fat and calories. Some of my recipes are what we might call nice; not just gluten-free but grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and low in fat and calories. Some might say that my nice recipes are delish enough to seem naughty and some might say that my naughty recipes are very, very nice.

These cupcakes are definitely nice with just a hint of naughty; they are a remake of a very naughty old family favorite – chocolate cherry cupcakes. I took a gluten-free cupcake recipe that was filled with gluten-free flour, starch, sugar and butter and made it grain-free, dairy free and very low in refined sugar. They’re a little naughty because they are packed with chocolate chips and maraschino cherries and topped with a sinfully rich, dairy free, whipped chocolate ganache. But in defense of the naughty let me just say that chocolate is filled with all sorts of health benefits and you can even get maraschino cherries that are free of red dye and corn syrup.

gluten free recipes almond chocolate cherry cupcakes

So what do you think? Naughty or Nice?

gluten free recipes almond chocolate cherry cupcakes

Gluten Free Almond Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes Recipe


1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract – use divided
1 ¾ cups dairy free chocolate chips – use divided
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
3 large eggs, separated
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¾ cup agave nectar
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
½ cup maraschino cherries – drained, dried and roughly chopped
12 maraschino cherries with stems for garnish
Slivered almonds for garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Make the frosting by bringing the coconut milk just to a boil in a saucepan. Turn off the heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 1 ¼ cup of the chocolate chips. Let sit for 5 minutes then stir well until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour into a medium mixing bowl and refrigerate until cold, at least half an hour.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder and salt. Put the egg yolks in one mixing bowl and the egg whites in another. Beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the remaining tablespoon of vanilla to the yolks along with the oil, agave and almond extract. Beat on high speed until the mixture becomes thicker and lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Take a scoop of the beaten egg whites and stir into the yolk mixture. Fold the remaining whites into the yolks. Add the flour mixture and fold in until fully combined. Add the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips and the chopped cherries and mix. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes or until the cupcakes are browned, feel springy to the touch and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

When the frosting is cold, whip it on high speed with a hand held mixer until fluffy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a couple slices of almonds.


A gluten free recipe that makes 12 nice and naughty cupcakes.

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Ready for dessert?

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Categories:    Cupcakes
  • Donna

    Hmm, they look naughty but sound nice :)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Donna :)

  • Anita

    I think they are like you – they look naughtier than they are :)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Haha, I think you are right!

  • Maggie

    I agree with Donna! Yum!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Maggie!

  • Laura Russell

    Well those look like keepers!!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Laura!

  • Nancy @SensitivePantry

    Wow, Carol! These are beautiful. Naughty and nice!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Nancy – naughty and nice is the best!

  • Ricki

    Does it have to be one or the other? Can’t they be a little bit of both–?? ;) That inside shot–OMG!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Yep, they can be a little bit of both – just like us :)

  • Miel

    Naughty or nice…those are some beautiful cupcakes!
    Looking at the inside filled me with cupcake-need.

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thank you Miel!

  • Rosa

    Lovely cupcakes! They look so scrumptious.

    Thanks for passing on my blog and for leaving a comment.



    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely words!

  • Emma Galloway

    They just look and sound plain amazing, naughty or nice I don’t care! Yum :-)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Haha, thanks Emma!

  • Desi@ThePalatePeacemaker

    I WANT. And I’ve been nice… I think I deserve them :)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Ah yes, if you ahve been nice you definately deserve one, even if they are a little naughty :)

  • InTolerant Chef

    Hmm, how about just yummy :-)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks – yummy works!

  • Alisa Fleming

    Wow, those are such perfection Carol! I’m always amazed at how lovely grain-free cupcakes can turn out. Nice :)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Alisa!

  • Beth @ Tasty Yummies

    These look incredible! I cannot wait to try them out. I was so excited to read that last line of the post that mentioned corn-syrup and red dye free maraschino cherries, YAY!!

  • Kim (Cook It Allergy Free)

    Although these look so terribly naughty, I have to say that they are just WAAAAY more than a simple “nice”! I want one of those right now! And loving loving those photos. ;)

    • Carol Kicinski

      Ah, thanks Kim! :) xo

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  • Lexie

    Nice! And good info on the Cherries, no red dye, no corn syrup … definitely nice, too!

  • CassidyS

    I am going to bookmark this and make it For Sure!!! I’ll definitely be putting this recipe on my new “Recipes That Shine” tab. Thanks :)

  • Holly

    I don’t know why…but my frosting will not get fluffy :(

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Holly. I can think of two possibilities – one you didn’t let it get cold enough before whipping or it could be the kind of choooclate you are using. Some chocolate chips have wax and other fillers in them, you need to use chips that are just chocolate. If thats the case then just add about another 1/4 cup of chips to make the mixture thicker to begin with. Oh and make sure you whip it on high speed. Let me know if that helps.

      • holly

        Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I think it is definately that I used the wrong chocolate chips! I will try it again tonight after work :)

        • Carol Kicinski

          No problem and keep me posted!

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  • Jenny

    What kind of chocolate chips do you use?

    • Carol Kicinski

      I used Ghiradelli bittersweet but if you like your chocolate sweeter you can use Enjoy Life dairy free semi sweet chips.

  • Pingback: Gluten Free Almond Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes | Cupcake Recipes

  • Julia

    These look good, however I am not a cherry fan. Would I be able to use a different fruit, say strawberry?

    • Carol Kicinski

      I think that should work fine Julia.

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