Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

I am a die-hard chocoholic. No shame in my game. No desire to hide it, either. I just reinvent my favorite chocolatey desserts to make them healthier, and more chocolatey. Both of which are possible, let me explain. I strip them of white sugar, white flour and butter or other forms of dairy. But- I make them moister, add plenty of cacao and end up with a no-guilt treat that makes me feel good about eating it.

Also, I don’t often do a blogger spotlight, but when you get the nicest email from Bronagh, in Scotland, asking me for the opportunity to write a baked goods recipe for her blog, I simply couldn’t refuse. “Ruskomsnusk” is a quaint, lovely space where she showcases delicious Scandinavian dishes & emphasizes the importance of seasonal cooking. I loved everything about her page and her emails. I also appreciate her patience in waiting for this window, as she asked me for this favor nearly four months ago.

grain free chocolate cupcakes


When you start eating gluten-free, one of the hardest things to do is to master some sort of decent gluten-free baking technique. There’s this underlying assumption that sans the elasticity and fluff gluten provides to baked goods, gluten-free desserts must certainly taste like dry cardboard. I even thought so myself; especially after running into a few “bad ones”! This is completely false, when using proper measurements and smart ingredients to add moisture and not make your melange of gluten free flours so “thirsty” – they taste just as good if not better than traditional baked goods.


chocolate cupcake recipe

The first time I baked these cupcakes,  I loved (almost) everything about them-except for texture. They were a bit dry.  So, what’s a girl to do to add some moisture to these cupcakes? Applesauce! Organic, unsweetened applesauce. Adding applesauce is the best trick for an effortless, moist & light end-result. So they’re made with: almond flour, coconut oil, apple sauce, free-run eggs, gluten free baking powder & your choice of sweetener: I provide measures for either pure maple syrup or coconut sugar. Both unrefined sweeteners, and both much better options than white, processed sugar.

So go ahead, bake up! And remember, cherries are totally optional. You can have these as stand alone chocolate cupcakes, and they’re the best grain-free variety I’ve tried!

paleo cherry chocolate cupcakes

Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
  • Time: 30 mins
  • Print


  • 3/4 cup almond flour (or almond meal)
  • 3/4 cup raw cacao OR good quality cocoa powder. I love Dutch alkalized varieties.
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil, melted (Deodorized coconut varieties don’t taste like coconut!)
  • 1/2 cup organic, unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of pure vanilla extract ( I love the strength of Madagascar vanilla)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 3 free run eggs, for best results- always at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups of pitted, organic fresh cherries (optional)

Notes: If you don’t want to use coconut oil, you could sub in with 1/2 cup of melted, grass-fed butter.

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, I love and recommend the large Ghirardelli chips. For dairy-free options, you should try “Enjoy Life Foods”.
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil (you can try refined,deodorized options to avoid a coconut taste)
  • 3 tbsp of nut milk of your choice. Works well with both almond & cashew milk! p.s. Cashew milk makes for an even creamier frosting!
  • For added sweetness, try 1-2 tbsp of coconut sugar.


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line 2 cupcake molds with liners (total of 12 cupcakes)
  2. Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl together: almond flour, cacao powder, coconut sugar, sea salt, and gluten free baking powder.
  3. Mix all the wet ingredients ingredients in a separate bowl: coconut oil, apple sauce, eggs, and vanilla. I like to integrate one egg at a time and whisk as I go.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient bowl and stir well to integrate.
  5. Fold in the cherries. I mentioned this was optional as some people may want chocolate cupcakes, on their own, purist style!
  6. Pour the batter onto the molds and bake anywhere from 22-28 minutes. All ovens vary. Insert a toothpick into the center of one of the cupcakes to check for doneness.
  7. It’s OK for the toothpick to come up with a few crumbs. This makes for the best cupcakes. When toothpicks come out clean, you’ve over-baked your goodies. I used to be guilty of over-baking ALL the time. So this a great tip!
  8. I like to make the frosting while these are baking… so I warm up water over a small-medium pot and then place a sauce pan over it to melt the chocolate chips with the heat/steam without burning them. Throw all frosting ingredients into the pan to melt and mix well as you go. Allow the mix to cool for 15-20 minutes and then refrigerate for about 2 hours for it to thicken. If it becomes too thick, you can warm it up for 1 minute in a sauce pan before spreading. OR, you can mix in a little almond milk & give it a whisk to make it moist and spreadable again.
  9. Enjoy them!!! And let me know how you like these.

For best results, always allow the cupcakes to fully cool before removing the paper liners. I could hardly wait! For the frosting, I used a piping bag with a star-shaped tip. If you’re looking for low-carb options, you could easily replace the coconut sugar with a much smaller amount of stevia. I love and believe in coconut sugar, and it lends chocolate a rich, caramel-like taste.

By: Aleyda | The Dish On Healthy

gluten free chocolate cupcakes

3 thoughts on “Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes

  1. This isn’t paleo because there is a lot of refined sugar in the chocolate chips. If you made this recipe with unsweetened baking chocolate, it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t be sweet. You can’t eat refined sugar on the paleo diet.

    1. Hi, Amy! Well, it all depends on which type of chocolate chips you decide to use. I use Enjoy Life which are really low in sugar and entirely dairy free. If you find really dark chocolate takes away from the sweetness, I would up the amount of pure maple syrup by 2 tablespoons; which is what the recipe uses and is Paleo approved. 🙂