Tips for Making Gluten Free Cupcakes

With the holiday season just around the corner, so are opportunities for all sorts of holiday baking! Bake sales, get-togethers, and parties make perfect occasions for gluten-free cupcakes to make a show-stopping debut. No longer the dry, chalky cupcakes of gluten-free baking past, Zena’s has compiled our list of tips for bringing delicious cupcakes to your gathering of choice. Not to mention-- see our recipe below for foolproof chocolatey cupcakes, every time!

  • Start with a Strong Foundation

When it comes to making gluten-free cupcakes that avoid “cardboard syndrome”, picking the right gluten-free flour is the best way to ensure your cupcakes will come out light, fluffy and moist. Typically, single flour replacements (like corn flour or coconut flour) can have a crumbly texture and leave the cupcakes less-than-delicious, so instead opt for a blended flour. Zena’s “ZAP” flour is composed of mindfully sourced sorghum, tapioca and organic quinoa flours, all non-GMO, create a superbly balanced blend for all baking needs.

  • Plenty of H2O
  • While we spoke to this in our gluten-free pizza making guide, gluten-free batters require slightly more TLC when it comes to moisture than a regular bread flour. Therefore, make sure the dough is adequately moistened with water & oil. Not to mention, sugar used can play a big role in how your dough retains its liquid contents. At Zena’s we like to use unrefined or organic sugars, but we’ve seen great results when using brown sugar in recipes.

  • Whip it good
  • When it comes to gluten-free cupcakes, aeration is key. Thankfully, because there’s no gluten, you don’t have to worry about over-beating. Typically beating your batter for three to five minutes is a great way to add air to your batter, letting the proteins and starches in our flour mix form around the air bubbles. So don’t be afraid to whip it, into shape! If you’re not seeing the airy results desired, sometimes substituting water for sparkling water or soda is a good way to add extra kick.

    Zena’s Uber-chocolatey gluten-free cupcakes

    While this is not the recipe we use in the bakery for chocolate cupcakes, it’s a foolproof, moist chocolate cake...great for cupcakes or full cakes. At Zena’s, our chocolate cake is egg free, but if eggs are okay for you, this makes a delicious spongy and uber-chocolatey cake.


    In medium mixing bowl, sift together and blend the following ingredients:

    •         3c all-purpose gluten-free flour (try Zena’s ZAP!)
    •         1c good quality cocoa
    •         2 granulated sugar (we like unrefined/organic sugars!)
    •         1 teaspoon salt
    •         1.5 teaspoons xanthan gum
    •         1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking soda

    In a separate jug or bowl, whisk together the following:

    •         150ml oil (avocado, grapeseed, canola or sunflower are good)
    •         2 tablespoons white vinegar
    •         2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    •         2 whole eggs
    •         2c water

    Once wet ingredients are well mixed, pour into dry ingredients and whisk until batter is smooth and free of lumps. Scoop into lined cupcake pan; this batch will yield 18 cupcakes. Unused batter refrigerates nicely for a few days, and can even be frozen for your next chocolate fix!

    Bake at 325 for 22-24 minutes. Allow to cool fully before frosting.

    If someone in your life can’t eat eggs, and you want to treat them to a fabulous chocolate cake, try Zena’s Freedom chocolate cake mix. It’s also dairy-free, and requires only water, oil & vinegar added.

    We’re eager to see how your cupcakes turned out! If you’re interested in trying this recipe at home, make sure to share your results with us. We’d love to see your creations on our Facebook or Instagram!

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