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Gluten-Free Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

A few of us on the mom.me team follow a gluten-free diet or live a gluten-free lifestyle, so when we saw Carol Fenster's 100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes book, the recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes had us instantly planning dessert. Cupcakes are our favorite, but a good gluten-free alternative can be hard to find.

These use ground nuts as the base and are extremely quick to assemble in a food processor. They also bake faster than standard-size cakes. Instead of the simple dusting of powdered sugar, you can top them as you like, with your favorite icing and decorations. These make precious cupcakes, but you can also use the batter for a 9-inch round cake (see the variation). Feel free to use the same amount of ground walnuts or pecans instead of the almonds, if you prefer. For best results, make sure the eggs are at room temperature.

RECIPE: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

Yields 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Baking Time: 20 to 25 Minutes


  • 2 cups almond flour/meal or 2 cups whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (use either natural or Dutch-processed)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup nonstick muffin pan (gray, not black) with liners.
  2. Place the almond meal in a food processor. (If using whole almonds, grind the nuts to a fine, meal-like texture.) Add the brown sugar, cocoa, eggs, oil, vanilla, and salt and process for 30 to 40 seconds. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula and process for another 30 seconds or until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, using about 1/4 cup batter for each cupcake.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

LAYER CAKE VARIATION: Bake in a 9-inch nonstick springform pan (gray, not black)lined with parchment paper until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Gently run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto a serving plate, discard the paper, and let the cake cool completely.

ABOUT ALMOND MEAL/FLOUR: Almond flour is sometimes called almond meal, but although the two work similarly in recipes, they do not look the same. Almond flour is ground from blanched almonds, which removes the skins and produces light-colored flour. Almond meal is ground from whole almonds, so the skins make the flour a darker color and consequently, the baked goods a bit darker as well. Bob’s Red Mill grinds a version with the skins on and labels it as Natural Almond Flour. Almond flour and almond meal taste the same so you can use them interchangeably in this recipe. If you can’t find either of them, grind whole almonds in your food processor to as fine a texture as possible without turning them into almond butter.

Storage: Store leftovers at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Recipes from 100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes. Photography by Jason Wyche. Copyright 2014.

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