Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes


Spicy, moist, sweet pumpkin cupcakes with a cream cheese maple syrup butter frosting. Uses Red Mill gluten-free flour mix made from potato starch, garbanzo flour, tapioca flour, sorghum, and fava.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Many people are sensitive, some extremely so, to gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. 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 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.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

I found a bag of 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 bean flour.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe

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


  • 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.


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.

2 Beat sugar and wet ingredients, add eggs, then pumpkin: In a mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, molasses, 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.)

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

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients — the gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

4 Combine dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and buttermilk to make the cupcake batter: Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

5 Add pecans and raisins: Use a wooden spoon to mix in the pecans and raisins.

6 Portion out batter into muffin cups: 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.

7 Bake: Bake at 350°F for about 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven to a rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

8 Make the frosting: 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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19 Comments / Reviews

No ImageGluten-free Pumpkin Cupcakes

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Amanda

    I would love to make these for my sister, but she is also lactose intolerant. Is there anything that can replace the buttermilk?

  2. 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

  3. Margaret


    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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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

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