Gluten-Free Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

By Cailin Briney for the Flathead Beacon

An allergy to gluten is the most common allergy I have had to deal with when preparing meals for people.

It is not an easy allergy to have as gluten is in nearly everything! My first experience with gluten-free recipes came after my mother-in-law and niece found out they were allergic.

Baking is particularly challenging because of all the different options for gluten-free flour (some are definitely superior to others).

I have figured out what works best for me through a lot of experimenting.

Many gluten free recipes call for xanthan gum which helps absorb some of the liquid since gluten-free flours don’t cook the same as regular flour.

I have had good luck with Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour, and my mother-in-law cooks and bakes with coconut flour.

This summer I decided to make cupcakes for a family party, and I wanted to have a gluten-free option. I decided on this mocha cupcake with coffee buttercream.

The batter will have a consistency more like brownies than cake batter (don’t be worried).

You can adjust the coffee flavor in your buttercream by adding more or fewer granules to the water or by using coffee extract.

This is a great go-to recipe to satisfy the gluten-free person in your life.



  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour


    Gluten-Free Mocha Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream | Courtesy photo

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup mild flavor oil (such as sunflower seed, grapeseed, or canola)
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp. instant coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp. warm water
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line cupcake trays with liners.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine coconut milk beverage, warm water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Pour over the flour mixture, and beat for one minute.

Evenly divide cake batter between prepared cupcake tray, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for five minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and beat for one minute.

In a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in tablespoon of warm water.

Add coffee, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to mixing bowl, and beat for an additional two minutes. Add another tablespoon or two of milk, if needed, to make buttercream light and fluffy.

Place frosting into piping bag with a large star tip, and set aside.

Mix chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 30 seconds.

Stir, and heat again in 15 second intervals, stirring between, until chocolate is just melted. Whisk until smooth.

Pour ganache into bowl and dip tops of cupcakes into ganache.

Let the excess fall back into the bowl.

Once cupcakes are set up, pipe coffee buttercream into rosettes on top of ganache.

TIP: If the gluten-free flour mix you’re using doesn’t contain xanthan gum, I recommend adding 1 tsp. to dry ingredients for the best results.