So, this is the most solid gluten-free holiday cupcake recipe of your dreams. It’s seasonal and screams holidays, and just everything in between. You’ll want to eat these for breakfast, they’re so good. This is, without a doubt, my favorite gluten-free cupcake.
Why These Are The Best Gluten-Free Cupcakes? They’re moist, they’re solid (so they won’t fall apart on you), and you can make these in big batches!
I stumbled upon making these one day. Lots of left over Libby’s pumpkin cans sat in the cupboard. I thought, let’s use one up.
One thing I know for certain is that baking is difficult at times for me. Science and ratios usually come into play here. Now, I managed to hold a D+ in high school chemistry, and took geometry my senior year. Are there any of you out there? My closest girlfriends are Chemistry geniuses. It’s crazy.
Suffice to say, baking isn’t my strong point. My daughter is screwed when it comes to mother math mentoring. It’s exhausting for me.
I love cupcakes, like everyone in this world. I wanted a cupcake that had enough moisture and enough sturdiness. When gluten-free cupcakes are too fragile, they become impossible for kids to help decorate. Ripping off the tops causes anger, cries, consoles, then wasted baked goods. Not ideal for the holidays.
Any basic cake batter consists of four main components:
- flour (in this case, gluten-free flour)
With any cupcake, the egg determines the color. If you use the entire egg, your batter will look more yellow. If you use the egg whites, your batter will look more white.
Here, I added a bit of pumpkin puree to the cupcake batter. This, in turn, gave the cupcakes a rich, orangish beautiful color.
When it comes to gluten-free batter, I am a firm believer of oil. Olive oil creates a moisture, unlike what butter can bring, for gluten-free baked goods. It creates a greasy density. In gluten-free baking, oil is needed.
AND coconut oil. Coconut oil is fantastic for gluten-free baking. In fact, it’s a staple ingredient in my gluten-free pumpkin bread recipe.
So, oil and gluten-free baking go hand in hand. Always remember that 😉
For these cupcakes I wanted something standard, yet not so sweet. Olive oil was perfect for this. It helped give the cupcakes a classic aroma, and aided in moisture perfection. Pumpkin puree added to all the flavor, but incorporated a bit of blandness. So, adding a splash of honey helps balance this all out.
Balance is just important when it comes to gluten-free baking.
For the icing, I ran out of sugar cane. However, tons of brown sugar was sitting in the cupboard.
For the whipped icing, it’s pretty simple. Using a mixer, incorporate your butter and brown sugar. You are gonna beat the heck out of these ingredients. Just let them mix in the bowl until the texture becomes a bit light and fluffy. Once it looks fluffy, add vanilla to the mix. Then, slowly, add heavy cream or milk by the tablespoon. Each minute or so, add another tablespoon. Not all at once.
You’re looking for a consistency that is your preference. I used three tablespoons of milk to get the icing to a good texture. It will taste grainy a bit because of the brown sugar. In order to dissolve this, simply continue to beat the icing for awhile.
What’s great about this gluten-free cupcake recipe is there aren’t too many ingredients to work with here. Which is great for any dessert! Definitely fantastic for a gluten-free dessert.
Sometimes, you have to remember that ‘gluten-free’ means excluding gluten. Yes, you’ll need to substitute the flour with something else (Cup4Cup is an incredibly awesome all-purpose flour).
But adding too many other things in any gluten-free baked good just isn’t worth it. It’s never going to be a gluten FULL dessert. So, work with what you’ve got!
See. I ate the very last one up there ☝️. I left that for me. And that’s not nice.
These cupcakes you will love!!! Seriously. When it comes to gluten-free baking, it’s ALL ABOUT LARD! I know, that sounds gross. But seriously, the more natural fat the merrier. Butter, olive oil, coconut oil….mix it up. It’s necessary.
You can actually incorporate different flavors besides pumpkin, for different times of the year, too. Way too cool!! Instead of pumpkin puree, try strawberry puree, vanilla, you name it.
Enjoy this amazing gluten-free cupcake recipe! It will literally make your holidays complete!! And let me know if you make them and what you thought by commenting below!!
Gluten-free Holiday Cupcakes
- FOR CUPCAKE BATTER:
- 1/2 cup Sugar cane
- 1/4 cup Unsalted butter Or half of a stick
- 1/4 cup Olive oil Or coconut oil
- Two egg whites
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour I use Cup4Cup
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- Kosher salt – hefty pinch
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1/3 cup Pumpkin puree
- 2 teaspoons Pure honey
- FOR WHIPPED ICING:
- 1 cup Brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp Milk or heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixer using a paddle, beat butter and sugar until it begins to fluff. Add olive oil and continue to beat, about a couple more minutes. Add egg whites and vanilla to mixture, then continue to beat another minute.
- Combine flour, kosher salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl. Add 1/3 of these dry ingredients to the mixture and beat well. Then add 1/2 of the milk while beating, and let mix thoroughly. Repeat this process with the dry ingredients and milk again.
- Lastly, add the remaining dry ingredients to the mixture and beat. When mixture is blended thoroughly, add pumpkin and honey. Beat one last time until batter is thoroughly mixed. *Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula for even mixing.
- Spray or butter a muffin pan and scoop batter into each muffin tin. *Fill about halfway. Too big of cupcakes can create less flavor.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until sides and tops begin to golden. *Use a sharp knife and poke a cupcake for doneness. *If knife remains clear, your cupcakes are done. When finished, remove pan from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and set aside to cool. *Note: Oven temps and times may vary.
- FOR ICING: In a clean mixer, add brown sugar and butter. Using a wire whip attachment, beat ingredients on low to incorporate. Then beat on high until mixture becomes lighter and fluffy. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk, then continue to beat.
- A minute later, add another tablespoon of milk and beat. When mixture looks light and fluffy, add the last tablespoon of milk. Continue to beat until icing looks smooth and fluffy. If icing tastes grainy, continue to beat until smooth and creamy. *Note: brown sugar icing may have a bit of grain to it, which I like.
- Place mixing bowl in freezer or fridge to cool for a bit. Thickly ice cooled cupcakes, then sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Hide cupcakes from all family members and animals, then devour alone. Just kidding.
Looking for some more AWESOME gluten-free baked goods for the holidays? Try my gluten-free sugar cookies, and my out of this world, gluten-free dark chocolate holiday bark with pomegranate!