Red Velvet Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)

Red Velvet Cupcakes + Cream Cheese Frosting. Need I say more? Mmmmmm.

I wanted to try something from my new cookbook Gluten-Free Baking with the Culinary Institute of America by Richard J Coppedge Jr. and as I was flipping through gorgeous glossy photos in the middle of the book, I stopped at a luscious picture of Velvet Cake. Chocolate cream cheese frosting was topping and in between three layers of chocolate velvet cake; that did it, I didn’t even need to see the recipe, I knew I wanted to make it. As you can see from my photo above, I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit, well actually quite a bit. But, let me tell you, they came out amazing! My husband really cannot tell they are gluten free! First I completely changed the flour mix because I did not have all the flours it called for. I am gaining courage each time I work with different gluten-free fours and decided to substitute a flour mix that the glutenfreegirl has used in some of her recipes.  (It is based on a 60% starch and 40% whole grains mix that I love for cakes and muffins!) Then I decided to add the “Red” to the Velvet in honors of Valentine’s Day. A little extra buttermilk here, a little evaporated cane juice there . . . and it only took two tries to perfect the changes and adjust to altitude and I ended up with a delicious cupcake!! Two tries to perfect something with lots of changes is pretty darn rare around my house, so I am pretty excited that I can post the recipe within 24 hours of starting it!

Want to bake something for Valentine’s Day? You won’t be disappointed with this irresistible gluten-free red velvet cupcake!

Tip: you may want to double this recipe; it only makes 10 cupcakes and that just may not be enough to go around on Valentine’s Day!

Brooke’s Gluten-Free Bites Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from the Velvet Cake recipe from the cookbook Gluten-Free Baking with the Culinary Institute of America


4 Tbsp Butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar (I prefer evaporated cane juice)
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
50 g (~1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp) superfine brown rice flour (subtract a Tbsp at sea level)
40 g (~1/4 cup) superfine sweet rice flour
28 g (~1/4 cup) tapioca starch
15 g (~1/8 cup) superfine sorghum flour
15 g (~1/8 cup) potato starch
15 g (~1/8 cup) corn starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp guar gum
1 Tbsp and 2 tsp cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk (a little less at sea level)
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp vinegar
red food coloring (optional)


2/17/11 author’s note: I have updated the amounts below. I found my original amounts resulted in too much frosting for 10-12 cupcakes. Even though I had no problem finding other uses for the extra frosting, this recipe is more precise.


4oz cream cheese (softened) Philadelphia Cream Cheese is gluten free!
1/2 stick (2oz) butter (room temp)
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1  tsp vanilla extract (make sure it is GF!)

Prepping: Take egg, butter, cream cheese and flours out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Preheat Oven to 375° (350° at sea level). Prepare muffin tins.

Mixing the Cupcakes: Sift all flours and gums into a medium bowl. Add cocoa powder (if there are lumps in the cocoa, you may want to sift it too). Use a whisk to mix flours and cocoa. With a hand-held or stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy and then add sugar and beat again. Add egg and beat until well blended. Add vanilla and food coloring (to desired color -remember the flour mix will dilute it) and blend well. Add flour/cocoa mix to the mixer, alternating with the buttermilk. After each addition beat on low-speed until combined. Take mixing bowl off the stand and gently fold in the vinegar and baking soda.

Baking: Fill muffin tins a little more than 2/3 full to make approx 10 cupcakes. Bake for approximately 15 mins or until top of cupcake springs back to the touch.

Frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar into the mix and blend completely. Add the vanilla and blend until you have achieved your desired consistency. It is easier to spread if you chill it first!

Need to substitute something? For the flour, just try to stick with a ratio of 40% whole grain and 60% starch and you should be ok. If you only have one of the gums, just use a total of 3/4 tsp of either guar gum or xanthan gum. If you don’t need your cupcakes too sweet, it worked with 1/4 cup less sugar. Anything else? Contact me at and I will try to help!


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8 Responses to Red Velvet Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)

  1. Ashley Summer says:

    These look incredible!!!

  2. Julie says:

    Why do you like the evaporated cane juice? Flavor? Does it costs a lot more? Where do you get it? The cupcakes look great. Julie

    • gfbrooke says:

      Good question! I kept hearing about “unrefined sugar” and decided to buy some Evaporated Cane Juice from Florida Crystals. I was surprised that it tasted slightly different and I like it better than regular white sugar. I realized I was tasting a slight molasses flavor. Refined white sugar has the molasses removed but unrefined sugar has it left in (naturally). Some people claim unrefined sugar is more nutritious because there are trace amounts of nutrients in the molasses. I am not totally convinced this sugar is “better” for me, but I sure love the taste. And once I researched Florida Crystals, I was impressed with their company practices. Also, if I am going to buy cane sugar, I feel better about it coming from Florida and not being shipped all the way from Hawaii like in C&H sugar.
      It is a little more expensive than refined white sugar (which doesn’t quite make sense to me), I think I spent $3 something for 2 lbs when I found it at Walmart. That is a lot cheaper than other brands of unrefined sugars I have found. Oh and I just saw Florida Crystals is now sold at my local King Sooper!

  3. Excellent mouthfeel attributes to Potato Starch usage in sweets, gums and liquorices, potato products, dairy and ice cream products, desserts, soups and sauces.

  4. Pingback: Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe | Brooke's Gluten Free Bites

  5. Great recipe! I used palm sugar in place of regular sugar. It cut the sweetness back while maintaining your dry to wet ratio. My taste testers loved it. I also double the amount of eggs (I was making a half batch and thought it needed a whole egg to make 8 cupcakes). I used fresh beet juice in place of red coloring as well.

    • gfbrooke says:

      Thanks so much Chef Rachel! I am so excited you tried my recipe and that your test testers loved them!! I am interested about using palm sugar. Was it coconut palm sugar? Is it in a granulated form? I really like that you used fresh beet juice instead of store bought coloring. I think I may have to use beet juice in my next batch! happy baking!

  6. Pingback: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies | Brooke's Gluten Free Bites

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