These gluten free red velvet cupcakes are incredibly soft and moist and topped with a big swirl of white chocolate cream cheese icing on top. Each one has a vibrant red color with hints of the classic chocolate flavor. Perfect for any occasion and easily made dairy free too!
The red velvet flavor has somewhat of a cult following. Those that like red velvet, LOVE red velvet.
These gluten-free red velvet cupcakes are no different. All of my red velvet fans, get ready to swoon over these beauties! They're moist and soft with the classic red color and white chocolate tangy cream cheese frosting.
This recipe is a spin off my red velvet cake and my gluten free chocolate cupcakes.
- Naturally gluten free and easily made dairy free
- Soft and fluffy texture
- Thick and creamy icing
- Subtle chocolate flavor
- Rich red color
- Kid approved
Ingredients and notes
Here are the ingredients needed to make gluten free red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese icing.
- Coconut milk - Adds moisture to the cupcakes. Use full-fat coconut milk, the kind in the can.
- Almond flour - the gluten free flour used in these cupcakes. It provides a soft and moist texture that rises well. This can be substituted with oat flour. Swap out both the almond flour and tapioca flour with 2 cups of gluten free oat flour.
- Tapioca flour - Helps to cut the density from the almond flour in the cupcakes. If needed, swap with arrowroot starch.
- Coconut sugar - Sweetens the cupcakes. If needed, substitute with cane sugar or light brown sugar. Substitute with cane sugar or light brown sugar if needed.
- Apple cider vinegar - Used to provide some acidity to the batter. Mixed with the coconut milk, it resembles buttermilk. I promise, you won't taste it. You can also use lemon juice if needed.
- Powdered sugar - Use a high-quality powdered sugar and sift if it has clumps.
- Dairy free cream cheese - Let the container set out on the counter until it's room temperature. Regular plain cream cheese will work as well.
- Almond milk - Use plain and unsweetened. Any milk or dairy-free milk will work or even just water.
- White chocolate - Melted and mixed into the cream cheese icing. If dairy free, use a dairy free white chocolate like these.
Step by step directions
You can make this gluten free red velvet cupcake recipe in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment or with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Step 1 : Mix the wet ingredients and coconut sugar
First make the "vegan buttermilk" by mixing the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes.
Then beat the eggs with the coconut oil, vanilla, and the coconut milk mixture well.
Add the coconut sugar and mix again until the sugar is dissolved into the batter.
Step 2 : Add the dry ingredients
Gently mix in the almond flour, tapioca flour, cacao powder, and baking powder to the batter. Only mix on medium speed until no flour clumps remain.
Be sure not to over mix this step. The batter will turn a light brown.
Step 3 : Add the red food coloring
Mix the red dye into the batter. The gel food coloring is better but does take some time to distribute into the batter. The color should be an extra vibrant red as it will fade in color slightly when baked.
Step 4 : Scoop into cupcake liners
Use a large cookie scoop (about 2 oz) to spoon the batter into muffin cups. Fill up each liner almost all the way full. Because this is gluten free cupcake batter, it doesn't rise as much as a traditional cupcake so don't be afraid to fill up each liner.
Bake in the oven until the cupcakes have domed on top and you can insert a toothpick in the center of the cupcakes and it comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack until frosting.
Step 5 : Make the frosting
The first thing to do when making the frosting is to melt the white chocolate. Do this first so it has time to cool down. If it's too warm, it will melt the icing when you add it to the bowl.
Use a pot or a skillet to melt the white chocolate. Place it over a pot of simmering water. The indirect heat will effortlessly melt the white chocolate. If you don't use a pot of simmering water, melt it on low heat and stir continuously to precent burning. You may need to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to help thin it out.
Once it's melted, set the pot aside to allow the white chocolate to cool down slightly.
In a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar (reserve ½ cup) to the bowl while continuing to mix along with the almond milk and vanilla.
Then add the melted white chocolate and the remaining powdered sugar and mix well. The frosting should thicken up and become smooth. If it's too thick, add another tablespoon of almond milk. If it's too thin, add another ¼ cup powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
How to pipe the cupcakes
Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the frosting. An easy was to do this is to put the piping bag in a tall glass or jar and told the edges of the bag over the jar and then spoon the frosting inside.
Swirl the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
How to decorate the cupcakes
There are lots of ways you can decorate your red velvet cupcakes. I chopped up extra white chocolate and sprinkled it over each cupcake.
You could also shave white chocolate over top for a more elegant look.
Some other decorating options:
- Red or pink sprinkles
- White "pearl" sprinkles
- Top with a fresh strawberry half
- Place a piece of chocolate into the side of the frosting
- Sprinkle freeze dried strawberries over top
How to store
Store these cupcakes frosted or unfrosted in an airtight container or cupcake container. Make sure they aren't on top of one another.
They will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge or 4 days out on the counter.
- Don't over mix the cupcake batter. This can be easy to do since the batter is also dyed red. Only mix in the flours until just combined and then add in the food coloring and continue to mix.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely. I know it's hard to wait but icing a warm cupcake is a recipe for a big mess. Make sure they have cooled down completely before icing. To be sure, pop the cupcakes in the fridge while you make the icing.
- Use room temperature cream cheese. The cream cheese needs to be softened before making the icing. If it's too cold it won't incorporate well with the other icing ingredients and you won't get a silky smooth consistency.
- Get the frosting consistency right. The frosting should be thick enough to stick to a spoon without dripping off. This cream cheese frosting is different than traditional as it doesn't have butter to help stabilize it. That's what the cream cheese and the white chocolate are for. If you have added all the ingredients to the frosting and it's still too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add some more almond milk.
Frequently asked questions
This recipe will work with oat flour in place of both the almond flour and tapioca flour. Swap with 2 cups gluten free oat flour and make the recipe as directed.
The gel style food coloring is best. This kind is my favorite for baking.
No, even though coconut milk is included in these cupcakes, they won't taste like coconut. The Thai Kitchen brand is my go-to for full fat coconut milk.
Measure the coconut milk in a measuring cup or scoop. Use a spoon to spoon the cream into the measuring cup about half way full. Use the water underneath the cream to fill up the measuring cup the rest of the way.
For more sweet treats, you'll love my:
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Gluten free Red Velvet Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
- ¾ cup coconut milk - full fat
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup coconut oil - melted
- ½ tablespoon vanilla
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar
- 1 ½ cup almond flour
- ⅔ cup tapioca flour
- 3 tablespoon cacao powder
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring - gel works best
For the frosting
- ½ cup white chocolate chips - melted (plus more on top if desired)
- 6 oz cream cheese - room temperature (I used dairy free)
- 3 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoon almond milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar. To measure the coconut milk, you want to get half of the cream on top of the can and then fill up the measuring cup with the water underneath the cream. Mix well to distribute the apple cider vinegar into the coconut milk. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, and coconut milk mixture. Mix well until the eggs are thoroughly broken up and combined.
- Add the coconut sugar and continue to mix until it’s dissolved into the batter.
- Gently mix in the almond flour, tapioca flour, cacao powder, and baking powder. Be careful not to over mix the batter. Only mix until no flour clumps remain.
- Add the red food coloring to the batter and mix. It should turn a bright red color quickly.
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Use a large 2 oz cookie scoop to scoop the cupcake batter into the liners. Because this is a gluten free cupcake, you can fill up the liners almost to the top as they don’t rise as much as traditional cupcakes. Bake in the oven for 15 - 18 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes are a darker shade of red and you can insert a toothpick into the center of one and it comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before icing.
- For the frosting, melt the white chocolate in a pot or skillet. I like to place the skillet over pot of simmering water which allows the chocolate to melt effortlessly without burning. Set the melted white chocolate aside to cool down slightly.
- Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and continue to mix. Add another cup of powdered sugar as well as the almond milk and vanilla and mix until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Add another cup of powdered sugar and repeat.
- Add the melted white chocolate to the bowl and mix well into the frosting. Add the remaining ½ cup of powdered sugar and mix well. The frosting should be thick and silky smooth. If it’s too thin, add another ¼ cup of powdered sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. If it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of almond milk until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Fill a large piping bag fitted with a star tip with the frosting. Pipe the frosting in a large swirl on top of each cooled cupcake.
- Chop up some extra white chocolate chips and sprinkle over top of each cupcake to garnish, optional.
Can you make this into a cake? If so how many layers?
Why does the recipe call for so much sugar to the frosting? Does it help with the texture? If not, then can the sugar be reduced to like a cup?
Ansley Beutler says
It's for the texture! I used a dairy free cream cheese which is a little thinner so there needs to be more powdered sugar to stabilize it. If you're okay with a softer frosting, you can use 3 cups. You can also probably get away with about 2 1/2 cups if you use real cream cheese. Or, I recommend halving the frosting recipe and pipping a smaller amount on each cupcake.