Fudgie Chocolate Cupcakes with Sunbutter Frosting

One of my coworkers celebrated her birthday last week, and I offered to bring in some cupcakes.  She is seriously addicted to Reese's Cups and peanut butter with chocolate is her favorite flavor.  Now, peanut butter doesn't make it through my front door, let alone contaminate my kitchen, but sunflower seeds make an amazing substitute spread.  One hurdle down.

To complicate matters further, I have another coworker with celiac disease, who is perpetually excluded from the cakes, cookies and pizzas that parade through our break room.  I decided to make a gluten free version of the cupcake, in addition to the original batch.  (I had a serious discussion with my celiac coworker, first, since my kitchen isn't exactly a gluten free facility.)

Unfortunately, chocolate cupcakes and I have a history.  I try to squeeze as much chocolaty goodness as I can into that batter, pour it into cupcake liners, shove them in the oven and watch them go flat.  That's if I'm lucky.  The good news is that there are many things that taste really good nestled into the top of a concave cupcake.

Since then I've found some really excellent vegan cupcake recipes that rise to unparalleled heights, creating the perfect cupcake dome.  The textures are nice and flavors good, but they lack the chocolate intensity that should be encapsulated by a cupcake wrapper.  Clearly, I have strong opinions about chocolate cake!

The lesson I did learn from these recipes, was that they were all simple oil cakes rather than the thick creamed margarine and sugar batters I had been churning out.  Finally it occurred to me to try substituting chocolate soy milk for some of the liquids in an oil cake.  Success!  I lost some of the beautiful rise, but managed to achieve the dense chocolate crumb I had been seeking.

To make the cupcakes gluten free:
SUBSTITUTE 1 Cup + 2 Tbs brown rice flour for the all-purpose flour 
ADD 1 tsp xantham gum to the dry ingredients
OMIT vanilla extract (or use gluten free if you have available)
Please double check all ingredients for gluten, since that's not one of the usual 8 allergens that I search for on ingredient labels.  (And please let me know in the comments if I missed a possible source of gluten!)

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 C chocolate soy milk
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.  (To make sure I didn't mix them up, I baked the regular cupcakes in silver liners and the gluten free ones in gold liners.)  Sift dry ingredients together  into medium bowl and set aside.  Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and continue to whisk until batter is smooth.  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full of batter.  (Do not overfill.  You may have some left over.)

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean.  Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes

Original cupcake on left, gluten free version on right.
Sunbutter Frosting (adapted from Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting):
1/4 C dairy free margarine, softened
1/2 C sunflower seed spread
1 C powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbs vanilla soy milk

Cream margarine and Sunbutter together until fluffy.  Gradually mix in powdered sugar.  Add vanilla soy milk and mix until smooth.  Frosts one dozen cupcakes.

During my gluten free research, I discovered that May is Celiac Awareness Month.  May 22-23 is also the Gluten Free Challenge, which urges everyone to eat gluten free for the weekend.  I'm contemplating it, but haven't decided yet if I'll take the plunge!

I also ran across Gluten Free Wednesdays hosted by the Gluten Free Homemaker, so I'm sharing my chocolaty cupcakes with Linda's inspiring round up of gluten free recipes.


Anonymous said...

ooh those cupcakes look super chocolatey.

A. said...

Thank you for posting this recipe!

I just had 2 questions. Can I substitute Guar Gum for the Xantham Gum? Also, if I omit the vinegar will it make a huge difference?

Unfortunately my allergies prevent me from using those 2 ingredients.

Thank you!!

Libby said...

A, you may replace the xantham gum with 1 1/2 tsp guar gum.

The vinegar is to boost the baking soda. You probably could leave it out, since both cocoa and soy milk are pretty acidic, but you might not get as much rise.

Let me know how they turn out!

Linda said...

Both the cupcakes look terrific. I didn't see any other gluten containing ingredients in the list. Even vanilla extract is almost always gluten free. Thanks so much for submitting this to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

Anonymous said...

You're such a great co-worker/friend! They look so yummy - and the sunbutter was a stroke of genius!

VegeCooking Club said...

These look amazing! I wish I could at least give my little one the Sunbutter but she's even allergic to that. Boo!

Ricki said...

They both look fantastic--and the GF version is almost identical to the "regular" one! I love the idea of sunbutter frosting. Looks very light and fluffy, too :)

Lisita said...

That looks like a recipe I must try!

Libby said...

Dawn, have you tried Soy Wonder? It's another good substitute for the evil substance.

Hannah said...

Those look ah-mazing, and even more so because they're vegan! I haven't bought sunbutter in a long time, but I do love it... Sounds like it's time for me to buy another jar!

ZM said...

oo, yum! I've been using Cherrybrook Kitchen's chocolate cake mix (gluten-free, quick & easy) for my chocolate cupcakes, but now that the end of the school year baking madness is over, I'd love to try this...

I can see it now: 'lookit - Mom's not baking from a box today!'

thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

I was looking for a good cupcake recipe for my son's birthday party. This year he acquired a wheat allergy to add to the egg and peanut allergy and lactose intolerance. I just made your Fudgie Chocolate cupcakes cupcakes as a trial run. They are Fabulous!!!!!!!!!! you cannot tell they are GF at all. Thank you so much for the recipe! I am also part of the Allergy support group of Tampa bay.

Thank you for all your yummy recipes!


Stacey said...

I'll have to try the whole recipe next time. I used just the frosting today. I haven't even put it on my brownies yet, and it's good--it's really good.