Easy gluten-free chocolate peppermint cupcakes that make a delicious vegan treat perfect for the holidays! They’re rich dark chocolate cupcakes topped with creamy peppermint frosting and crushed candy canes. This festive recipe will put a smile on the faces of everyone you serve them to!
While I can hardly believe that it has been that long, it was six years ago that this little website went live.
The unintentional tradition to celebrate this anniversary has been to share a chocolate mint recipe with you (since it’s my favourite flavour combo!), and this year, it’s these moist, rich, egg-free, dairy-free, super chocolaty gluten-free chocolate peppermint cupcakes.
If you like chocolate mint as much as I do, you need to check out the recipes I’ve shared in the past to celebrate this day:
These cupcakes are filled with minty flavour and they’re the perfect way to celebrate any occasion, especially during the holidays.
Below is everything you need to know about preparing this recipe from scratch so you can make them for your own celebration…or just because! Read through carefully and if you make them, I hope you enjoy them.
Ingredients You’ll Need
To make these gluten free peppermint cupcakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour Blend – Bob’s Red Mill brand, the one in the BLUE bag (NOT the red bag).
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Dutch-process cocoa is needed for this recipe and make sure you sift it to get all the lumps out.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda – You need to ensure these two ingredients are both fresh because they’re both essential in making sure your cupcakes rise properly and that they have the proper texture.
- Cane or Granulated Sugar – Organic sugar is vegan.
- Hot Water – To help “bloom” the cocoa powder, more info on that below.
- Oil – To ensure your cupcakes turn out moist.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – To react with the baking soda to make air bubbles to give more lift while baking (don’t worry, you won’t taste it!). White vinegar can be used as a substitute.
- Peppermint / Mint Extract – The essential ingredients in any chocolate mint recipe!
- Vanilla Extract – To add even more amazing flavour.
- Salt – To balance the sweetness.
Are you new to vegan gluten-free baking? If so, be sure to read all of my vegan gluten free baking tips!
How to Make Them
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions at the end of this post.)
Start out by mixing all of the dry ingredients together. Next, mix the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients.
After you mix the two sets of ingredients, you’ll notice a lot of bubbles coming to the surface, this is the reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda (see the image on the bottom left). This reaction is very important to your cupcakes rising properly.
The batter will be runny, that’s okay, that’s how it’s supposed to be. Since it’s on the runnier side, to get the batter into the muffin cups in a mess-free way, I like to either:
- Pour the batter into a large measuring cup and pour it into the muffin cups.
- Make the batter in a pour spout mixing bowl, like this one (Amazon link). (Pour spout mixing bowls are great for making pancake batter and anything else that needs to be poured somewhere else in small amounts.)
I also like to decorate them with crushed candy canes. There are several vegan candy cane brands out there like Wholesome Sweeteners and Yum Earth. (I used Wholesome Sweeteners brand candy canes in the pictures.)
You can also use sprinkles to top the buttercream, it’s up to you!
TIP: If you’re new to cupcake decorating, I highly recommend this inexpensive cupcake decorating kit (Amazon Link) that comes with four of the most popular decorating tips as well as eight disposable decorating bags. I also recommend adding a 12″ reusable piping bag to your collection.
For the cupcakes you see in the pictures, I used a Wilton 4B tip (it’s included in the kit I link to above).
Expert Tips for Success Every Time
- Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh, and don’t leave out the vinegar! These are ingredients that help the cupcakes to rise and become fluffy.
- Measure your ingredients properly. I recommend using a scale (this is one I have (Amazon Link)) and my weight measurements, but if you don’t have a scale, lightly spoon the flour and cocoa powder into your measuring cup until it’s overflowing and then drag the flat edge of a butter knife across the top to level it off. NEVER dunk the measuring cup into the flour to fill your measuring cup because this will guarantee an incorrect measurement of up to 1.5x more flour and a recipe fail. Read this article about the proper way to measure flour.
- Don’t overfill the cupcake liners with batter.
- For the very best results, follow the recipe exactly as it’s written and don’t reduce the amount of sugar, oil or any of the other ingredients.
What’s the Texture Like?
These cupcakes are moist and fluffy (see the pics below!), but in order to get this texture, you must follow the recipe exactly as it’s written. If you make any substitutions or changes, your cupcakes may not turn out as expected.
I’ve only use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour Blend (the one in the blue bag) for this recipe so I can’t speak for any others. Results will vary with other blends since ingredients and ratios will differ.
The Bob’s 1 to 1 Baking Flour I use contains xanthan gum, so if you do try another gf blend and it doesn’t contain xanthan gum, you’ll need to add 3/4 teaspoon of it to your recipe.
If xanthan gum is something you cannot have, then I recommend making this double chocolate muffin recipe instead. Omit the chocolate chips and add same amount of mint extract.
Any type of oil can be used in this recipe, such as avocado, vegetable, or safflower. Unrefined or refined coconut oil can be used as well, but if unrefined is used, there may slight hint of coconut flavour. Vegan butter is not recommended as it will weigh the cupcakes down and the texture will not be as moist since butter is roughly 20% water and oil is 100% oil.
Organic cane sugar or granulated sugar works best for this recipe and works with the rest of the ingredients to give the final cupcakes their moistness and texture. Don’t reduce the amount of sugar called for, substitute with a different type of sugar or, use a liquid sweetener.
Just like the sugar in the recipe, the oil, and the specific quantity called for, works with the other ingredients to make the cupcakes moist and help with the texture. As for an oil-free substitute, I have not tried any, so I’m unsure of how they would turn out.
This recipe was developed using Dutch process cocoa. Natural cocoa powder / cacao powder and Dutch process cocoa work differently in baked recipes, and since I have not experimented to know how it will react in this particular recipe and how to adjust the other ingredients accordingly, I recommend sticking with Dutch process for the best results.
Using hot water helps to “bloom” the cocoa powder. Blooming is a fancy way of saying “enhance” the chocolate flavour to make it even more deep, rich, and chocolaty tasting. It also helps to break down any cocoa powder clumps (but still sift it!).
I have not tried doing this (yet!), but the recipe can likely be doubled and made into a cake, BUT, since I haven’t personally tested it yet, I can’t say for sure what the results will be like. When I do, I will update you on how it works out.
Yes, but the baking time will need to be reduced to 9-11 minutes.
Store leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days. After that, place the container in the refrigerator for another 3-4 days. You can also freeze unfrosted cupcakes by storing them in an airtight container for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature when you’re ready to serve them.
This may have happened for a few reasons: 1) You opened the oven door while your cupcakes were baking. 2) You over mixed your batter. 3) Your oven was set too high. 4) You let the batter sit too long before putting it in the oven. 5) Your baking powder or baking soda was not fresh or has expired. 6. You overfilled the cupcake liners.
This is definitely a recipe to add to your list of gluten-free Christmas cupcakes / vegan Christmas cupcakes to make, but feel free to make them year round, not just during the holidays!
If You Make This Recipe…
Please leave me a comment and rating below or you can share a pic with me on Instagram, I’m @delightfuladventures!
And If You Like This Recipe…
…you may also like these other vegan chocolate recipes:
- Hot Chocolate
- Chocolate Doughnuts
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Tart
- Chocolate Mousse
- Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
You can help others to find this vegan and gluten free chocolate peppermint cupcakes recipe by pinning it to one of your food boards on Pinterest. Click here to pin it now!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups (222g) gluten free flour **see important note about flour below**
- ½ cup (42g) Dutch-process cocoa powder sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200g) cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
- 1 cup (240ml) hot water
- ⅓ cup (80ml) oil
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
For the Frosting:
- 1 recipe peppermint buttercream frosting
- Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).
- Add muffin liners to your muffin pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a small bowl, mix the sugar, hot water, oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract, together until blended.
- Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined. Mix until there aren't any lumps but don't over mix and get rid of all the bubbles forming from the reaction between the vinegar and baking soda.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the largest cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow cupcakes cool in pan for a few minutes, remove them, and place them onto a cooling rack.
- Allow cupcakes to fully cool and then use this peppermint buttercream frosting to frost them.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above and below before making this recipe.
- It’s important to know that different gluten-free flour blends use different ingredients and ratios, so results may vary if you substitute. I have never used any other brand of gf flour to make this recipe (other than Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (Amazon link) in the blue package, NOT the red package), so please know that your results may not be the same as mine if you substitute with another gluten-free flour blend. The weight listed above is for this specific brand of flour.
- If you cannot use the flour I use, be sure to use a rice based gluten-free flour blend and if the brand you’re using doesn’t contain xanthan gum in the ingredient list, add 3/4 teaspoon to the dry ingredients.
- Dutch process cocoa powder is needed for this recipe. Natural cocoa powder (cacao powder) cannot be used without altering the other ingredients. If used, your cupcakes may not turn out the same as mine do.
- This recipe will NOT work with coconut flour or any other single gluten-free flour, it must be made with a blend.
- Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are fresh before using, these are very important ingredients that contribute to the cupcakes rising properly.
- Any type of oil can be used in this recipe, such as avocado, vegetable, or safflower. Unrefined or refined coconut oil can be used as well, but if unrefined is used, there may be a slight hint of coconut flavour.
- Organic cane sugar or granulated sugar works best for this recipe and works with the rest of the ingredients to give the final cupcakes their moistness and texture. Don’t reduce the amount of sugar called for or substitute with a different type of sugar or use a liquid sweetener.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days. After that, place the container in the refrigerator for another 3-4 days. You can also freeze unfrosted cupcakes by storing them in an airtight container for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature when you’re ready to serve them.
- Nutrition info is based on 1 cupcake without frosting. Nutrition info is only to be used as a rough guide. Click here to learn how nutrition info is calculated on this website.