Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes

Many people are sensitive, some extremely so, to gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Shauna of Gluten-free Girl has a whole blog devoted to gluten-free cooking (with recipes and gorgeous photography, by the way). As someone who had to give up wheat for 10 years, I can tell you that it isn’t easy, living without pizza, bread, and pasta. We still don’t eat much wheat around here. Many of the pasta recipes we make with rice or spelt pasta. The hard thing is finding good gluten-free baked goods. So many of them really taste awful, the consistency of sawdust. Fortunately, the wheat/gluten alternative flours appear to be improving.

gluten-free-baking-flour.jpg

I found a bag of this Wheat and Gluten Free Baking Flour from Red Mill in the health food section of our local grocery store and decided to try it out on a batch of pumpkin cupcakes. I had low expectations for this experiment, and thought it would help to dress up the recipe a bit with nuts and raisins, molasses and honey, anything actually, to help the cupcakes be more edible. The result surprised all of us. The cupcakes were delicious! Really good. Sort of like carrot cake, a good carrot cake.

Note that Red Mill’s Gluten-Free Flour contains the following ingredients: garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sweet white sorghum flour, fava flour.

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Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 16 cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature (I only had 3/4 of a stick so I used that and added 2 Tbsp of olive oil. It worked fine.)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 2 cups Red Mill's gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup raisins

Frosting ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup confectioner's powdered sugar, sifted

*Note to make your own buttermilk, combine 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let stand 10 minutes before using.

Method

Cupcakes

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. In a mixer, beat the butter, molasses, brown sugar, and honey together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. (Start on low speed and increase to high speed to get the mixture light and fluffy.)

2 Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and pumpkin purée. Beat until well mixed.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients—the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

4 Use a wooden spoon to mix in the pecans and raisins.

5 Arrange paper cupcake holders in a muffin tin. Portion out the batter into the cupcake paper cups, filling them close to the top of the cups. Bake about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven to a rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

6 In an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add maple syrup and confectioners' sugar and mix to combine. Once cupcakes have cooled, apply the frosting.

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19 Comments

  1. stef

    oh, my hubby would love this! he’s got wheat sensitivities but can’t resist when i bake something for the kids. how did you overcome the wheat problems?

  2. Sam

    I was reading the recipe for Gluten Free Cupcakes and would like to make them, however there is no amount for “pumpkin puree” It is not listed in the ingredients, only in the instructions. Please let me know how much is needed.

  3. elise

    Hi Stef – I had a medical issue that was affecting my intestinal tract. Once that was resolved, my wheat, alcohol, and other food sensitivities greatly diminished.

    Hi Sam – oops! Good catch. The ingredient was in my brain, but didn’t make it to the computer. Fixed now.

  4. shauna

    Elise!

    Thanks so much for mentioning my blog by name. I’m really honored. And I’m always thrilled when I see that people are making gluten-free baked goods. Especially when they look this yummy.

    I’m going to put this in my weekly round-up of the best gluten-free recipes of the week!

    Thanks again.

  5. Lady Amalthea

    These do look good, gluten-free or not. It must have been really tough to have so many food restrictions for such a foodie like you!

  6. Elise

    Hi Tanvi –
    These cupcakes lasted maybe one hour after this picture was taken. Now all we have is this fond memory in the photo. Mmmmm.

    Hi Shauna – you are very welcome! Your dedication to your blog is a gift for all with celiac and gluten allergies.

    Hi Lady – you have no idea. After a while one just stops thinking about food all together, what’s the point? It was a perfect low carb diet though – I stayed skinny for 10 years. Am appreciating that now. ;-)

  7. lucie Livolsi

    Thank you for share your recipe… My daughter 2nd birthsday is soon and I want to make cup cakes for her little friend and herself….
    I found it!!!!! Thank you
    My question is…Can I substitute the pumpkin puree by something else????
    I was thinking to make it with apples sauce or something else???

    Please let me know
    Thank you,
    Lucie

  8. Sissy

    This gluten free recipe is just what I am looking for to take to my nieces for Thanksgiving… do you think if I bake it a little longer I can make it in a loaf pan instead of cupcakes? I also think it would make the perfect cake to use in a pumpkin whipped cream trifle, what do you think? Sissy

    Note from Elise: Sure, why not try it in a loaf pan?

  9. julie lopez

    This recipe is really good for these one-of-a-kind cupcakes. They were really good.

  10. Jane Thompson

    Hi, Thanks for your great recipes. I just wanted to make sure you knew that spelt contains gluten, so while it may be tolerated by some people with wheat sensitivities, it is not good for those with gluten sensitivities/allergies or celiac disease.
    Thanks!
    Jane

  11. Sarah-Jane

    Is this recipe ok for someone with celiac?

    Yes. ~Elise

  12. Xiaolu Hou

    Hi Elise! First of all, I’ve been a long-time fan of your blog, which, among others, motivated me to start my own. So I’m planning to make these cupcakes for a friend’s birthday this week and just bought the flour mix. I notice that the package recommends adding 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour to cake recipes. Have you tried this recipe with xanthan gum. I bought it just in case. Thanks a lot!

    Hi Xiaolu! Congratulations on starting your own blog, good luck with it! Regarding xanthan gum, I did not try it with this recipe, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  13. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets

    Thanks, Elise! I just wanted to let you know that I made these with 1 tsp xanthan gum and some other minor changes and they turned out great.

  14. athina

    Elise, I am such a fan of your website, and have enjoyed so many of your wonderful recipes! I made these cupcakes yesterday, and although the flavor was wonderful, (both of the cupcakes themselves, and the frosting) the texture of the cupcakes was very dry.-(except for the first one that I chomped down while it was still warm!!)
    I tried one just a few hours later, stored in a sealed container, and the texture of the cupcake had changed considerably.I measure all of the ingredients precisely, and followed the steps to a tee.Is it possible that the special gluten-free flour could have caused this? Have you ever made this recipe using AP flour? thanks in advance…

    Hi Athina, Hmm, don’t know what is causing that. I have not made it with AP flour. When I have made them with GF flour they have been perfectly moist. ~Elise

  15. Teresa

    Thanks for all of your tasty recipes- I have liked every single one I’ve tried! Regarding the flour in this recipe, would it be analagous to using cake flour, like in the red velvet cupcakes? I’m fortunate enough not to need the gluten free variety and was just wondering if the regular cake flour I have would suffice. Thanks!

    I’m pretty sure cake flour would work, but I haven’t tried it with this particular recipe. ~Elise

  16. Crystal

    How would removing the nuts and raisens affect this recipe?

    No idea. If you try it without the nuts or raisins, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  17. April

    FYI- I tried this recipe using a loaf pan instead of making cupcakes. The outside got burnt while the inside was still sticky after 60 min. Maybe next time I’ll try lowering the oven temperature and see if that helps. On a positive note, while it’s presentation did not look good, it does taste wonderful!

  18. Margaret

    Elise,

    Thank you for posting this! I went gluten free a year ago and enjoy experimenting with gluten free baking. These came out fabulous :)

    Note: The raw cake batter will taste like beans, but don’t worry! You cannot detect the beans in the finished product. I also didn’t have molasses or maple syrup on hand, so I left them out and they were still wonderful.

  19. erin

    i really enjoyed these, but a friend of mine said they where a little dry. is there anything i can do to make them less dry? or ways to avoid this?

    Add more sugar, don’t cook as long, are two ways that come to mind. ~Elise

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