Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, Gluten Free

Why, yes. It’s a cupcake. A chocolate chip cherry buttercream cupcake. With a cherry on top. 

I’ve been a fan of cupcakes since I was a bean-sprout in a house filled with older jolly-green-giant boy siblings. As the smallest kid I got the tiniest portions of everything except cupcakes where all servings were divided equally.

Slices from one large cake are subject to random mishaps with a knife. Cupcakes are more even-steven. I’m all for fairness when it comes to dividing up cake. And cupcakes are the ultimate in fair-share-ness.  Similar to pint-sized milk cartons, but cake. Cake in a cup.

Oh, all right.

It’s also about how easy it is to clean up after making cupcakes. I use cupcake liners and often the pan requires only a quick wipe. A cake would require a little more washing – the pans, the cooling rack, at the very least.  If I could mix the cupcake right in the liner, I probably would be even more righteous about cupcakes, but I’ll quit while I’m somewhat ahead.

I really like the combination of chocolate with a hint of cherry. This is a simple chocolate cupcake with some mini chips tossed in for extra chocolate measure. It is topped with easy-to-make buttercream that is made all the better because you are using cherry liquid or liqueur. Not only does it make the buttercream look pretty in pink, but it tastes great.

You can share the cupcakes. But only if you really want to. And if you are washing those cupcake pans every time you use them, you might be working harder than need be. Just saying.

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, Gluten Free
Cherry and chocolate are a great combination. The cupcakes taste even better the 2nd day so making them ahead is a great idea. Make the buttercream the same day you are serving the cupcakes for best flavor. The cherry liquid from the jar or cherry liqueur makes the buttercream turn a beautiful pale pink and gives it a nice hint of cherry flavor. This is a stunning cupcake and easy to prepare - a great dessert that makes everyone happy.
  • 4 oz. GF flour (2 oz. superfine brown rice flour, 1 oz. tapioca starch/flour, 1 oz. superfine white rice flour) (about 1 scant cup)
  • 6 oz. sugar (a generous ¾ cup)
  • 2 oz. unsweetened ScharffenBerger cocoa (or any good quality) (1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 oz. very hot water (1/2 cup)
  • 4.5 oz. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (9 tablespoons)
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3.5 oz. mini chocolate chips (heaping ½ cup)
Cherry Buttercream
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
  • 16 oz. powdered sugar, sifted (plus about 2 oz. more if needed) (about 4 generous cups)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-4 tablespoons maraschino cherry liqueur or juice (from the cherry jar)
  • 12-14 extra-large maraschino cherries with stems, drained and dried on a paper towel.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and place liners in a muffin pan (12-14). Set aside.
  2. Weigh flours together, add sugar, cocoa and baking powder, salt and baking soda. Whisk. Add the hot water and stir. In a small glass container combine melted butter with the eggs and flavoring. Add to the flour/sugar/cocoa/hot water mixture and beat until the batter is smooth. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Scoop into the prepared cupcake tin liners - about ⅔ full. Bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool for a minute in the pan. Remove the cupcakes from the tin to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
  1. Whip butter in a stand mixer using a whip attachment until slightly fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar (yep, twice sifted) and mix on low until it's mostly mixed in. Add in the vanilla flavoring and start to whip on medium high to high. As it needs it, add the cherry juice/liqueur one tablespoon at a time and keep whipping for about 4 minutes total. You want the buttercream to be rather thick but smooth enough to pipe. Add more liquid if necessary and whip some more. You also want it to be a pale pink color. So add more liquid if needed and use that extra powdered sugar to thicken the mixture if necessary. Pipe or spoon onto cooled cupcakes and top with cherry.


  1. Oooh I love those little plates with the little flowers!

  2. You are my chocolate loving twin sister. We were seperated at birth of this I’m sure! :))))

  3. I like the black cherry on top. It looks kind of sexy. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oooohh! Chocolate and cherries are a wonderful combination! Would you mind if I borrowed this recipe and made it egg free?


    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Absolutely as long as you don’t mind linking back to here somewhere in your post. Glad you like it and looking forward to seeing it egg free! And thanks for asking first – I really appreciate it.

  5. Seriously…. best food blog photos I’ve seen today!

  6. Hello, please, can you tell me how many units are made with the amounts indicated?

    Thanks, Paula

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Paula – You’re talking about how many cupcakes? 12-14. You’ll find that in the instructions when preparing the pan – I usually get 14. Hope that helps.

  7. Hice estos maravillosos cupcakes. Fueron un exito y le encantaron a mi amiga celiaca. Gracias

    Saludos. Paula

  8. I am in the process of going Gluten Free after receiving a Hashimoto’s diagnosis. I need a new “go-to” chocolate cupcake recipe. The texture of these look awesome in the photos…can’t wait to try the recipe!


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