First, I am not a gluten-free expert. I know that people can get skewered on the internet for claiming to be something they are not, so I want to make it 100% clear: All I know about gluten-free living is what I have learned from online research and reading food labels. No one in my family has a gluten tolerance issue (allergy or sensitivity) so I have not seen the harmful effects of gluten in person. If you or your family have a gluten tolerance issue, I suggest you do as much research as you can before trying any new recipe to ensure you are kind to your body!
Second, while these cupcakes are made from gluten-free ingredients, this is not a health food recipe! Let's be clear up front that there is just as much refined sugar and fat in this recipe as there is in any regular cake recipe. If you are looking for a healthier version, maybe try googling "gluten-free paleo chocolate cake recipe" or something like that.
Still with me?
I had a request last week for gluten-free chocolate cupcakes, but my previous attempt tasted like a tropical chocolate disaster. I'm sure there is a place for almond flour and coconut oil, but that place is not in my cupcakes. So I figured I would give another shot to modifying my very favorite chocolate cake recipe (which is based on Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe), like I did when I hit the jackpot with my Truly Moist Vanilla Cake recipe.
It was the simplest adaptation ever, really. There is a super well-stocked gluten-free aisle at Bulk Barn, which is a bulk foods store here in Canada. (If you haven't looked before, check out your local bulk foods store and I would bet they are carrying gluten-free ingredients.) Anyway, I had noticed all-purpose gluten-free flour in passing a few weeks ago and I picked some up last week.
This stuff is magic. It's made from beans and things. Garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour and fava bean flour, specifically. Crazy stuff that sounds like it would wilt your fluffy chocolate cupcake recipe in an instant.
But NO. A tiny addition of xanthan gum* (1/2 tsp per 1 cup of flour used) as a binder and these cupcakes were pure chocolate heaven.
*Here is where the part about doing your own research for your own body comes into play. I have not tried this recipe without xanthan gum. But I have seen blogs that surmise that xanthan gum can cause trouble for folks with digestive issues, so I would suggest you use care in following any new recipe.
But if you're still with me, here is what my blind taste test looked like on Friday night with Andrew. Spoiler alert: He couldn't tell them apart. When pushed for an answer, he actually preferred the gluten-free version! This from a man who has eaten more than his fair share of chocolate cupcakes over the years.
On your left, in royal blue, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcake! And on your right, in raging red, Regular Chocolate Cupcake!
Want the recipe?
Wicked Good Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes
by Jennifer Julie Cakes, adapted from Hershey
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose GLUTEN FREE flour
1 tsp xanthan gum (check label to ensure gluten free)
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (check label to ensure gluten free)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk (2% or whole)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round baking pans, or line tins with cupcake papers for 24 cupcakes.
2. Whisk together sugar, gluten free flour, xanthan gum, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in bowl of stand mixer. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on low to medium speed 15 seconds or until combined with no powdery streaks. Stir in boiling water by hand with a spatula (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 22 minutes in convection oven or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute; carefully remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely and frost as desired.
Yield: Two 9-inch round cakes or 24 cupcakes.