a balanced plate with room for dessert

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes


I love challenges. I needed a dessert for a dietetic intern potluck. The catch – I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it and one intern eats vegan and another gluten-free. Bring on the challenge, baby! I scoured the internet far and wide (ok, I only used Google and Pinterest) and ended up combing a bunch of different recipes to get this final product.

I got the base cake recipe from Eggless Cooking. It’s made with beets and chickpeas. I was really skeptical at first, but I decided to give it a try. Turns out you can’t even taste the chickpeas or beets! I used canned chickpeas and beets to cut down on prep-time and it turned out pretty well.

These cupcakes were soooo decadent. It’s not really cake-like. More fudge-like perhaps? They’re dense, rich, and definitely chocolatey!

(Sorry for the bad photo - I took this minutes before running out  
the door to get my butt to the potluck!)

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
yields 12 cupcakes 

For the cupcakes:
2 cups chickpeas, canned or freshly cooked
3/4 cup beets, cooked
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips*

  1. Remove the thin outer skin from the chickpeas. Enlist help if you can – this will take a while! Use a food processor or blender to puree until smooth with a tablespoon or so of water.
  2. Puree beets into a smooth paste, using the cooking water.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
  4. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each until completely melted.
  5. Combine chickpeas, beets, and sugar in the food processor or blender until completely smooth – no lumps allowed! Puree in coconut oil, baking powder, coffee granules, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  6. Blend in the melted chocolate chips into the chickpea and beet mixture and let the food process or blender run for a couple minutes to allow chocolate to distribute evenly throughout the batter.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely in the pan.
  9. Remove cupcakes from cupcake pan when cool and frost with chocolate frosting (recipe below)!
For the frosting:
1 can regular coconut milk, opened and refrigerated overnight – do not shake!!
1 cup Smart Balance, room temperature
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 – 6 cups powdered sugar
  1. Scrape the thick layer off the top of the coconut milk into a large bowl. Add in Smart Balance and beat until well combined and smooth.
  2. Mix in cocoa powder and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar into frosting, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached**.
  4. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered.

*I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips and they were pretty darn tasty!
** I ended up using some of  coconut milk left in the can to thin out the frosting and give it another boost of flavor. I ended up using about 5 cups of powdered sugar in addition to about 1/4 cup of the coconut “water” that was left in the can.

Author: Jenni

Dietitian by day and Midwest food blogger by night. Lover of whiskey, running, and all things food.

3 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. That was so sweet of you to think of the vegan intern! I’m a vegan intern and am forever going hungry when the office orders food. I will be attempting to make these soon!

  2. Pingback: CSA Week Four «

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