Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)

These paleo chocolate cupcakes are moist but not eggy and have a rich, dark chocolaty taste! Topped off with chocolate fudge frosting. Grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Scroll down for a how-to recipe video.

So here’s the promised cupcake recipe that I used as a carrier for the paleo vegan chocolate frosting that I posted last week.

Before anyone gets their knickers* in a twist, I know sprinkles aren’t paleo. They’re, like, the very opposite of paleo. But just look how they brightened these cupcakes up! They look much happier with the sprinkles.

These paleo chocolate cupcakes are moist but not eggy and have a rich, dark chocolaty taste! (grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free)

Here’s how you can make your own paleo coconut sprinkles. The recipe uses plant-based natural coloring and coconut and while they’re not nearly as bright as nasty store-bought sprinkles, you don’t have to worry about what you’re eating!

Raspberries, strawberries and mini chocolate chips would also make for pretty and delicious paleo alternatives to sprinkles.

* I don’t think I’m British – I just loathe the p-word.

This paleo chocolate cupcakes recipe is pretty much the same recipe I used in my spiderweb cupcakes. I adapted it a little to make the cupcakes bigger and to make the measurements a bit easier for people who use measuring cups instead of grams.

These paleo chocolate cupcakes are moist but not eggy and have a rich, dark chocolaty taste! (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

I also added a little more sweetener! The original paleo cupcake recipe was sweetened with just honey but when I tried the recipe as written, and ate a cupcake without the frosting, I wanted more sugar. So I added two tablespoons of coconut sugar.

These gluten-free dairy-free cupcakes have a really interesting texture and I don’t mean that in a bad way! It’s hard to describe, but they’re kind of mousse-like. They’re not like regular, fluffy airy cupcakes, but they’re moist and… mousse-like. I’m sure that won’t convince you to make them so here’s a review from the original recipe:

“A girl who has been eating GF for 3 years said they were the best GF cupcakes she has ever had! They were all asking after the recipe!” I think they’re pretty darned delicious but I don’t know about best gluten-free cupcakes ever. I think I’ll reserve that title for cupcakes that have the same exact texture as regular cupcakes. Ones where you have no idea that they’re gluten-free (like my best gluten-free brownies recipe!)

These paleo chocolate cupcakes are moist but not eggy and have a rich, dark chocolaty taste! (gluten-free, grain-free and dairy-free)

These paleo chocolate cupcakes don’t have that typical weird, eggy and spongy thing that a lot of grain-free cupcake recipes I’ve tried have had, though so that’s a huge plus. All in all, I’d say that these cupcakes are a victory. :) Check out the reviews in the comments in you need convincing!

For more of my most popular paleo recipes, try my chocolate chip paleo cookies or these paleo blueberry muffins! I can pretty much guarantee you that neither will disappoint. :)

I definitely need to up my paleo cupcakes game (when it comes to variety!). These chocolate cupcakes are pretty much all I have. What kind should I make next?!

Click below for a how-to recipe video for this gluten-free carrot cake!

Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

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Rated 5.0 by 19 readers
Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons (104 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons (80 grams) almond flour or almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (use paleo baking powder, if necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (126 grams) coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup (213 grams) honey
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (160 grams) unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • for frosting: 1 or 1 1/2 batch paleo chocolate fudge frosting1
  • paleo decoration ideas: raspberries, strawberries, mini chocolate chips, homemade coconut sprinkles

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line a muffin pan (or two) with 14 liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, almond flour, baking powder, espresso powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, honey, applesauce, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir just until combined.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the muffin liners, about 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 24-28 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out mostly clean. A few moist crumbs or a little stickiness is okay, just not raw batter. These are super moist so if it comes out totally clean, they're probably overdone.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. These do not taste very good straight out of the oven. I recommend letting them sit for 2 hours and then frosting. When you refrigerate them, they become denser, the way brownies get when you refrigerate them. Can be kept at room temperature, unfrosted, for up to 3 days or can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. 1 batch of frosting will yield just enough for slightly more than 1 tablespoon of frosting per cupcake, which isn't very much for frosting lovers. You may want to do 1 1/2 batches or even a double batch if you want to frost the cupcakes more generously. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons (1 1/2 batches) of frosting on mine.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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176 comments on “Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)” — Add one!

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  • Tiffany
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    September 5, 2018 @ 7:58 pm

    Loved these cupcakes i used plain cocoa powder vs dutch because i couldn’t find it and i believe this gave it a slight bitter after taste but it was very slight and I’m certain it was the kind of cocoa. But, with such a small amount of sugar this was the best gf brownue cupcake ive ever had and the froasting is amazing! I keep them in the fridge and i love the hard icing top its delicious!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Tiffany
      September 7, 2018 @ 8:57 pm

      Yay! I’m happy to hear that you liked the cupcakes so much. I’m a big fan of that frosting, too. ;) Thanks a bunch for your comment!

      Reply
  • Jean says
    August 2, 2018 @ 3:32 am

    Where do you get espresso powder?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jean
      August 2, 2018 @ 9:05 pm

      I got mine at the grocery store (I live in Germany so the store isn’t relevant) but you can get this nice brand on Amazon. It’s also ok to omit it from the recipe!

      Reply
  • Connie Liu
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    July 11, 2018 @ 3:28 pm

    Hi, my cupcakes came out kind of flat, the top didn’t rise as high as yours in the photos and half of my cupcakes got stuck in the silicone mold, please help, thanks

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Connie Liu
      July 12, 2018 @ 3:05 pm

      Hi there! The tops are kind of flat and don’t rise very high. Look at the first few seconds of the video or the cupcakes in the background of the second picture. With frosting, the tops look higher. If yours were even flatter than what you see in the video, then I would recommend checking that your baking powder hasn’t expired. I never use silicone so I can’t really help there. I would recommend using cupcake liners!

      Reply
  • Lori Hungate says
    June 30, 2018 @ 1:08 am

    I just made these yesterday. I didn’t have applesauce but found I could substitute mashed banana. They were AMAZING! Texture and taste of a good cupcake. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for this recipe. So easy and unbelievably delicious. You’re right on one thing, they don’t taste that good right out of the oven. Once they cooled they were delicious. They came out beautiful. I used the type of icing used on German Chocolate cake and it was too good to be true. Again,thank you. I can’t eat wheat and many substitute flours just don’t taste that great, but almond flour is delicious.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lori Hungate
      June 30, 2018 @ 9:08 pm

      Oooh! Thanks for the banana recommendation. Some others have asked for an applesauce sub in these and now I know what to recommend! Did you taste the banana at all? I’m so happy that it worked out well and that you enjoyed the cupcakes! Thanks a bunch for your nice comment. :)

      Reply
      • Lori Hungate replies to Erin
        July 6, 2018 @ 11:39 pm

        You can just barely taste the banana, but chocolate and banana are so good together anyway. What was so wonderful, was eating a delicious cupcake and knowing I’d have no digestive upset. I would cheat and have a regular wheat cupcake and always paid the price. These have given me back the joy of eating cupcakes which I love because it’s kind of a “control” on eating sweets. I know when I eat a cupcake, that’s it. Plus I do love that they’re sweetness isn’t from a cup of sugar LOL One night I just couldn’t help myself because they are so good, and I ate THREE after dinner,LOL, but NO stomach upset. It was wonderful. I have tried several recipes and they just didn’t taste that great or the cupcake didn’t come out looking very nice. These were perfect. I also loved that they were a dense cupcake, I’m not a fan of “fluffy” cake products, I like something dense and chewy. Again, thank you so much. When you can’t eat grains, finding a GOOD alternate recipe is like finding gold!

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Lori Hungate
          July 8, 2018 @ 9:27 pm

          Aww, yay! So happy that you didn’t have any digestive issues with these. :) If you like chocolate + banana, you could try my paleo chocolate banana muffins. I haven’t made them in a while but I remember them to be denser and fudgier than these cupcakes. I hope you’ll give them a try. :) Thank a ton for your comments!

  • Vanessa says
    March 31, 2018 @ 9:26 pm

    Can I use agave in replacement of honey?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Vanessa
      April 1, 2018 @ 8:18 pm

      I haven’t tried it but I imagine it’d work fine!

      Reply
  • Lacey says
    March 29, 2018 @ 1:25 am

    Can I use coconut flour instead of almond

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lacey
      March 29, 2018 @ 1:30 pm

      Coconut flour isn’t interchangeable with any other flours as it absorbs so much more liquid. :( Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • screenguy@hotmail.com
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    January 25, 2018 @ 6:14 pm

    These were absolutely delicious. Used coconut nectar instead of honey (same amount) and it worked really well. Also left out the espresso powder because I’m not a fan of anything with a coffee flavor. Very tasty cupcakes with a good texture!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to screenguy@hotmail.com
      January 28, 2018 @ 9:44 pm

      Great to know that coconut nectar works well! Thanks for the tip. :) So happy you liked them! Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • Sarah
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    December 24, 2017 @ 4:50 pm

    Your whole wheat chocolate cupcake is my go to recipe when we want a chocolate cake but I am loving these cupcakes! Do you have a recipe for a vanilla version? Could I omit the cocoa? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sarah
      December 24, 2017 @ 9:02 pm

      So happy you like both versions! I unfortunately don’t have a vanilla version and it doesn’t work to just omit the cocoa. :( Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • L P says
    December 19, 2017 @ 12:49 am

    Can I use something else in place of espresso powder? I’m having a hard time finding that anywhere.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to L P
      December 20, 2017 @ 8:46 pm

      You can just omit it. :)

      Reply
    • Diane replies to L P
      May 11, 2018 @ 1:27 pm

      Aamazon has espresso powder

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Diane
        May 14, 2018 @ 8:44 pm

        Thanks for the tip!

        Reply
  • Haley W. says
    December 6, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

    In all my years of using recipes I found online, this is the first time I’ve felt compelled to write a review. These cupcakes are Ahhhmazing! I tried two other recipes I found on different sites before this one and neither one of them holds a candle to these. The frosting is delicious as well. The only changes I made were I used cacao powder instead of cocoa and I used butter instead of coconut oil in the frosting. Great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Haley W.
      December 8, 2017 @ 5:47 pm

      Well thank you for taking the time to leave your first review! I’m honored. :) I’m so happy that you liked the cupcakes and frosting and it’s good to know that cacao powder works well. Thanks again for your comment (and sorry for my slow reply!).

      Reply
  • Lyndsay says
    November 21, 2017 @ 3:14 am

    Wow! Chocolatey goodness I don’t feel bad about eating! These are so good!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lyndsay
      November 24, 2017 @ 7:40 pm

      I’m so happy that you liked them and don’t feel bad eating them. :) Thanks for your comment and sorry for my slow reply!

      Reply
    • Maryann Prendergast replies to Lyndsay
      December 1, 2017 @ 5:15 am

      Is there something we can substitute for the applesauce? My daughter can’t have apple. Strange but true lol. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Erin replies to Maryann Prendergast
        December 2, 2017 @ 9:32 pm

        Maybe some mashed bananas? But I really don’t know as I haven’t tried it. Sorry about that!

        Reply
        • Liz replies to Erin
          May 5, 2018 @ 12:00 am

          You could try pumpkin puree. I use it in place of most of the oil in carrot cake – stays super moist. With chocolate you shouldn’t notice a pumpkin taste. Less sugar too.

        • Erin replies to Liz
          May 6, 2018 @ 9:12 pm

          Thanks for the tip! Sounds very promising. :)

      • S Beals replies to Maryann Prendergast
        April 1, 2018 @ 4:58 pm

        Perhaps jarred baby food pears or a fruit she can have.

        Reply
  • H says
    November 17, 2017 @ 11:50 am

    I think the cocoa measurements are off in this recipe. When I weighed 3/4 c + 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa, it was only around 50g, not 108g. Big difference! Should this be 1 3/4 c instead, or are the grams wrong???

    Reply
    • Erin replies to H
      November 17, 2017 @ 2:25 pm

      Hi there! The measurements are correct. If you google “1 cup cocoa powder in grams,” you’ll find sites saying somewhere between 100-115 grams. I actually use cups and grams when baking to ensure everything is correct. :) Did you maybe use sifted cocoa? Or something other than Dutch-process?

      Reply
      • Shonnon
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        replies to Erin
        February 14, 2018 @ 7:52 pm

        Yes, 108 grams is too heavy for 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. I can see something heavier like almond flour (1 cup= 120g) weighing that much but not cocoa.
        With paleo baking, I like to weigh everything but if I would have used the weight listed it would have been too much.
        I measured out the 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp and then weighed it and it came out to 59 grams. I went with 60 and the cupcakes came out perfect with the added surprise that it actually made 18 cupcakes instead of 14.
        Paired with the chocolate frosting, my kiddos devoured them for our Valentine’s party today.

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Shonnon
          February 15, 2018 @ 2:09 pm

          I’m very happy that they came out well for you and that they were enjoyed at the party! :) I’m not sure what to say about the cocoa grams. I also use grams when baking (and when developing a new recipe, I use cups and grams to ensure I’m not messing anything up) and I always get around 115 grams. When you google grams in 1 cup cocoa powder, you get results saying between 100-115 grams. One site did say 90! But nothing nearly as low as 67 grams, which is what 1 cup would be with your measurement. But if 60 grams worked for you in this recipe then I suppose it doesn’t matter. :) Thanks for your comment!

  • ADS
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    October 26, 2017 @ 5:01 pm

    I made these for my birthday and they were incredible! I actually didn’t get the mousse like texture from them, they actually turned out spot on cupcake texture for me! I froze the leftovers and my daughter and I enjoyed pulling out a couple on the weekends to thaw and eat with cashew milk ice cream! So delish. I’m wanting to bake again this weekend and while I want to try something new – I have been craving these so badly since we finished the last of them off.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to ADS
      October 27, 2017 @ 9:29 pm

      That’s awesome that you got the regular cupcake texture! Maybe I’m just weird with my description of them. ;) That’s great to know that they freeze well. You could always make these AND something else. :D I can recommend these paleo apple muffins, which also have an awesome texture. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
    • Tiffany replies to ADS
      September 5, 2018 @ 10:37 pm

      Oh my gosh chopping these up and using them in a dairy free ice cream would be heavenly thank you for the idea!

      Reply
  • Mona says
    September 30, 2017 @ 12:41 am

    I don’t have Dutch-process cocoa powder. Can I use cacao powder instead?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Mona
      September 30, 2017 @ 7:09 am

      I haven’t tried it so I’m not positive. Sometimes it can have an effect on a recipe but sometimes not. Sorry I can’t give you a better answer!

      Reply
  • Molly
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    August 28, 2017 @ 2:12 am

    So, I was reeeaaallly skeptical about these and as they baked, they did not smell like traditional cupcakes. But after they cooled and were frosted, they were excellent. Truly delicious! I did add 1 Tbs. of powdered sugar to the frosting for a little sweetness. So pleasantly surprised – I’ll be making them more often! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Molly
      September 9, 2017 @ 7:04 am

      I’m so sorry I somehow missed your comment! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the cupcakes and that you’ll be making them again. :) Thanks a ton for your feedback!

      Reply
  • Sarah says
    August 21, 2017 @ 4:47 pm

    What could I substitute for the Almond Flour? We have a nut and grain allergy in my daughter’s class, but I want the little boy to be able to have a cupcake when I bring some in for her birthday next week.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Sarah
      August 22, 2017 @ 10:27 am

      Unfortunately, nuts flours aren’t interchangeable with non-nut flours. I’ve heard of people using sunflower seed flour as a sub but I’ve never tried it and have no idea if it’d work here. Sorry about that!

      Reply
    • CJ replies to Sarah
      October 3, 2017 @ 4:20 am

      Hi Sarah,
      I’ve had great success subbing tigernut flour for almond flour in many of recipes with a 1:1 ratio. I plan to try this with cacao and tigernut flour.

      Reply
      • Erin replies to CJ
        October 3, 2017 @ 7:27 pm

        Thanks for the tip! I’d love to hear how it comes out with your sub.

        Reply
  • Luna says
    August 17, 2017 @ 8:44 am

    I love how the frosting looks so fresh and moist.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Luna
      August 17, 2017 @ 8:07 pm

      Haha. Thank you! I like that, too. ;)

      Reply
  • Kellie says
    August 11, 2017 @ 3:57 am

    Hi -could this be made into a cake?

    Reply
  • Trish Hafely says
    July 23, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

    I have been finding many Paleo or Glute-free recipes but no nutritional values are attached. I really need to know total calories, sugar and salt, etc. Do you have that information for your recipes?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Trish Hafely
      July 24, 2017 @ 9:32 pm

      I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)

      Reply
  • Isa says
    June 13, 2017 @ 4:53 am

    The expresso powder, is it necessary?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Isa
      June 13, 2017 @ 6:41 pm

      It just brings out the chocolate taste.

      Reply
  • Hildie says
    May 17, 2017 @ 9:32 am

    Hi, I was wondering if the coconut flavor of the oil comes through in the final product.
    I’m trying to piece together a [refined] sugar-free German chocolate cake for someone at work and I think this recipe is a winner for the cake portion :D

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Hildie
      May 18, 2017 @ 9:15 am

      Hi there! You can’t taste it at all if you use refined coconut oil. I haven’t tried this recipe with unrefined coconut oil so I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing there might be a slight coconut taste then. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

      Reply
      • Hildie
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        replies to Erin
        May 23, 2017 @ 7:12 pm

        I just made this and wow! Super fudgy, therefore do NOT bake in a bundt pan…it won’t come out xD
        Needless to say, I immediately made a second batch – this time as 2 9″ rounds. The only thing I altered was using about 25g of agave to complete the honey (I ran out).
        From what I can taste in the failed bundt, this cake is insanely moist and fudge-like! It really is amazing. It tastes like fine dark chocolate cake. This is soooo a keeper!

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Hildie
          May 26, 2017 @ 10:38 pm

          Aww. I’m sorry the bundt didn’t come out well! I have had the worst time converting grain-free recipes to bundt pans. They almost never work for me! I’m happy the 9″ rounds worked out well. :) Did you double the recipe for that? Or were the layers very thin? I’m so very happy that you enjoyed the cake! Thanks a bunch for your tips.

  • Paula
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    May 6, 2017 @ 2:54 pm

    I´ll try these tomorrow! They look so yummy, thank you! Can I replace honey with raw sugar? Do you have any idea of the equivalence? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Paula
      May 6, 2017 @ 9:04 pm

      That’d unfortunately throw off the liquid / dry proportions so I wouldn’t recommend it. Maple syrup or another liquid sweetener should work! I hope you’ll enjoy them. :)

      Reply

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