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Recipes

My Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe (dairy free option)

My gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe is for everyone craving a Terry’s chocolate orange right now… then remembering that they have a ‘may contain’ warning! This recipe is also easily dairy free and low FODMAP too.

Honestly, these will satisfy every chocolate orange craving you could possibly ever have! And I’ve also got a little secret to share with you too. So here’s my gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe…

My Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe (dairy free option)

Sooo, what’s the secret? Well, have you noticed in the photos that my gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes have a little orange segment on each of them?

Yep, I made my own chocolate orange segments 😂 So first of all, I just wanted to share how I made them with you guys!

(you can also make those dairy free too if you fancy)

So here’s the big secret… it’s actually a very simple chocolate mould I found here on Amazon.

My Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe (dairy free option)

Ok, not the most exciting secret in the world!! Also, the chocolate orange segment obviously isn’t mandatory either.

But it’s a lovely little finishing touch that goes a long way!

Basically, you just have to melt down some chocolate and add in a little orange extract. Voila! You’ve got that wonderful chocolate orange flavour.

Then, just fill your mould with the chocolate and leave to set in the fridge. It’s really easy and well worth it for that magical finishing touch.

My Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe (dairy free option)

But what about the rest of my gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe?!

Well, you’ve got lovely, light and fluffy chocolate orange buttercream on top of a moist, rich chocolate orange cupcake.

But that’s not all! Inside each cupcake, they’re filled with sticky, sweet chocolate orange fudge sauce. I mean, that just sounds like pure heaven to me 😆

And I know I probably say this about everything, but they’re insanely easy to make. I’m not that good at baking you know, if it was too hard then we wouldn’t be here because this recipe would never exist 😂

My Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe (dairy free option)

And here’s exactly what you’ll need to make my gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe! But don’t let the long list put you off, they’re mostly the same ingredients repeated for each component of the recipe.

Ingredients for my gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe

For the cupcakes

  • 200 g butter, softened, (dairy free alternative if necessary)
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 165 g gluten free self raising flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder, (ensure it’s dairy free if necessary)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum

For the cupcake filling

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 100ml milk (dairy free alternative if necessary)
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 100g chocolate (I use dark but i don’t see why milk wouldn’t work)
  • 40g butter

For the buttercream

  • 300 g icing sugar, (for dairy free buttercream, I often find adding a little more icing sugar is a good idea)
  • 150 g butter, softened, (dairy free alternative if necessary – hard Stork works well)
  • 100 g dark chocolate, melted, (ensure dairy free if necessary)
  • 1 tsp orange extract

For the homemade chocolate orange segments (optional)

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • orange zest (for topping the cupcakes)

Keep scrolling down until you see the recipe card for the method! 👇🏻

Ok, so here’s a few frequently asked questions before we get started…

Here’s some tips/FAQs for creating the perfect gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes…

Can I make this recipe gluten free?

It is gluten free!

Can I make your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe dairy free?

Of course you can – and this recipe is actually really simple to make dairy free.

All you’ve got to substitute is hard margarine for the butter and dairy free chocolate instead of regular chocolate. Also, just double-check that your cocoa powder is dairy free – it usually is!

Don’t forget to use dairy free milk in the chocolate orange fudge filling – I’d use almond milk but any would work fine.

So yeah, you’ll need to use Stork hard margarine instead of butter for the cupcake batter cake and in the buttercream icing.

You might need to add a little extra icing sugar for the buttercream just to bring it together, as hard margarine can be a little looser than when using butter.

Otherwise, you’re all good to go!

Is your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe nut free?

Yep, this is a nut-free recipe as far as ingredients go, BUT make sure you check the ingredients label on ALL the products you use to bake this cake just to be safe.

Even if the products don’t contain nuts, they may have a ‘may contain nuts’ warning due to being produced in a factory that handles nuts.

You can never be too careful so always read the labels on everything first!

Can I make your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes in a food processor or standing mixer?

Of course you can – and it’ll save you on elbow grease! I don’t use a standing mixer or food processor to make the cake mixture personally – I use an electric whisk. Just because I’m used to it.

(here’s a link to the electric whisk I use)

You can of course, bake this without any assistance from any appliance – just a good ol’ fashioned wooden spoon will do. Just make sure you give it a lot of welly, otherwise your mixture won’t be consistent and might not bake properly.

When it comes to buttercream, I prefer to use my standing mixer though. As you have to mix it for a longer period of time (around 10 minutes) it’s much easier to just let the mixer do the hard work.

Can I make your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes without any kind of electric mixer at all?

Of course you can! Especially when it comes to the buttercream, it might take you a while!

When creaming together butter and sugar for the cupcakes mixture by hand, make sure your butter is at room temperature or it’ll be even tougher to bring it all together.

In terms of icing, it can be a bit of a mission, but just make sure you don’t leave any dry mixture at the bottom of the bowl and you should be fine.

Do I need any special equipment to bake your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes?

Certainly not! As I mentioned, a food processor, standing mixer or electric whisk will cut down on prep time, but they’re not mandatory.

If you really want to nail the presentation of this cake, you’ll need some piping bags and a star-shaped nozzle – I use the 1M nozzle in this set

If you fancy making the little orange segments on each cupcake, you’ll need this orange segment mould too.

And whilst it’s not technically ‘special equipment’, you will need a good muffin/cupcake tray, so here’s what I used to make this recipe.

Oh and don’t forget your cupcake cases too.

Can I bake this using the all-in-one method?

In case you didn’t already know, the all-in-one method involves bunging all your sponge ingredients into a bowl at once and mixing them together. That’s instead of adding them gradually.

This is one of those recipes where the all-in-one method would probably work quite well – here comes the ‘but’… 😂

BUT I personally always think that taking a few extra minutes to cream your butter and sugar is so worth it. Adding the eggs separately helps to ensure that the cake mixture doesn’t split, plus, creaming the butter and sugar ensures a nice, light and airy sponge without fail.

With the all-in-one method, I always think that the time you save by bunging everything at once, is almost cancelled out by then having to spend more time mixing to make sure it’s all well-combined. I’ll leave it up to you!

Can I make this recipe without xanthan gum?

You’ll see xanthan gum in a lot of my recipes as it’s an essential ingredient in gluten free baking.

Without gluten to bind the cake together, you can be left with a very loose and crumbly cake texture which is far from ideal. But what if you didn’t have any, or simply wanted to remove xanthan gum from the recipe entirely?

Well, I definitely wouldn’t recommend removing xanthan gum from the recipe if you can really avoid doing so! I understand if you struggle to tolerate it for some reason, but otherwise, it’s a vital ingredient not to be missed.

Some people have asked if they can use psyllium husk powder instead of xanthan gum, but I’ve found that it definitely results in a denser sponge so I wouldn’t overly recommend it.

So TLDR; definitely use xanthan gum if you can!!

Do I need weighing scales to bake your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes?

In short… yes, yes and yes! And I wouldn’t advise attempting any my recipes without them. One of the worst things you can do in any baking recipe is alter the quantities by mistake or on purpose.

(unless you know what you’re doing of course)

Why? Well, you’re sort of just gambling with the recipe and praying that it turns out ok, don’t you think? And I’ve generally already done the hard work there for you, so you don’t have to do the guesswork with measurements!

A lot of work went into fine tuning ratios and quantities so I wouldn’t mess around with them unless you really know your stuff.

I’d recommending using digital cooking scales like these so you know you’re getting an accurate measurement.

Can I top these cupcakes with Terry’s chocolate orange segments instead of making my own?

I always make this very clear just in case – Terry’s chocolate orange is not gluten free!

Though it has no gluten-containing ingredients, it has a ‘may contain wheat’ warning which isn’t safe for Coeliacs.

I’m intolerant to gluten and I personally wouldn’t risk it – especially not when you can make your own little chocolate orange segments so easily.

Can I bake your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes with less sugar?

I can definitely understand the need to reduce sugar in our foods, but this is one of the recipes where I wouldn’t advise it.

Of course, the sugar isn’t just for sweetness – it’s integral to the structure of the cake once baked and is sooo important.

If you wanted to tone things down a bit sugar-wise, you could use a boat-load less icing by just spreading a little on top of each cupcake – though obviously, they won’t look as fancy.

Not filling these cupcakes in the centre would also reduce the amount of sugar in each cupcake too.

I’ll leave the choice up to you!

How long can I keep your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes for?

I’ve kept my gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes for about 3-5 days in an air-tight container with no problems. If you need to keep them any longer than that, I’d highly recommend freezing them (see advice below for doing that)

When the sponge starts getting a little dry, it’s probably starting to get past its best.

Can I freeze your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes?

Of course! I’ve frozen them for up to 2-3 months no problem. It’s a great idea to do this if you’ve making a huge batch and can’t eat them.

When you want to eat them, they should take around 3 hours to defrost at room temperature.

Can I make your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes vegan?

Yep! If you follow the instructions above to make this recipe dairy free, then all you’ve got left to contend with is the eggs.

Here’s a few ideas you can use as egg replacements, so each of these = 1 egg.

  • 3 tablespoons of aquafaba – water from a can of chickpeas. Keep the chickpeas for a future dinner!
  • Egg replacement powder – I’d recommend using Orgran as it’s gluten free.
  • 1 tablespoon of chia/flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons of water and left for 10 minutes in the fridge.
  • 3 tablespoons of applesauce.

So use one of those egg replacement options and you’ve got a gluten free AND vegan chocolate orange cupcakes!

I haven’t tested all of these egg alternatives so let me know how you get on in the comments below 👇🏻

 

How can I tell when my cupcakes are done?

Grab a skewer and give it a poke in the centre. If it comes out clean, then it’s done! Each cupcake top should look like it has a nice, crisp, outer crust too.

If the skewer comes out moist and cake batter-like, it’s best to pop it back in for a bit longer.

The more you get used to using your own oven, the more likely your cake will come out perfectly cooked first time. Oh and also make sure your oven is fully pre-heated before putting your sponges in too.

Troubleshooting

Why did my cake batter split or curdle?

Firstly, I never worry when my batter has split or curdled! It may not look the best, but generally it doesn’t affect the bake in way that you’d notice.

But basically, a mixture can split or curdle when the eggs AND butter/margarine aren’t both room temperature. So make sure you get the butter/margarine out of the fridge a few hours early, BEFORE you start baking!

Over-mixing your batter can split the mixture too, so once you’ve got a nice, smooth cake batter without lumps, stop mixing!

My cupcakes didn’t rise or were totally flat/sunk in the middle!

There’s actually quite a few reasons, but here’s a few common ones:

  • Too much raising agent – eg. baking powder. Anything that causes your cake to rise too fast, will inevitably sink by the time the cake it done. The cake won’t be cooked enough to hold it’s own weight!
  • Split or curdled mixture. Whilst this can have a bit of a role in a sunken cake, I’ve found that it’s never too drastic.
  • Opening the oven door. Never open the oven door while a cake is baking if you can avoid it! Not only does this result in a sudden drop in temperature, but it will interrupt the circulation of air in the oven.
  • Over mixing the batter. If you whisk too much air into the batter, it’ll probably sink under the weight of the cake.
  • Under-mixing the batter. If your cake mixture isn’t well-combined, it won’t work as well!

Why are my cupcakes dry with a tough outer crust?

If the cupcakes come out looking and feeling dry, hard with a tough outer crust, it’s probably over-baked.

That either means it had too long in the oven, or the oven temperature was too hot.

Oven temperatures can vary massively, so it’s best to keep an eye on your cupcakes around 5-10 minutes before they should be done.

Can I print your gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe?

Of course! Just hit the print button located on the recipe below 👇🏻 (otherwise you might end up printing this entire post which would probably make your printer go into early retirement)

Yield: 12

Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe

Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Cupcakes Recipe

My gluten free chocolate orange cupcake recipe is easy to make and tastes amazing! You can even make them dairy free too if you fancy.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 200 g butter, softened, (dairy free alternative if necessary)
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 165 g gluten free self raising flour
  • 25 g cocoa powder, (ensure it's dairy free if necessary)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum

For the cupcake filling

  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 100ml milk
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • 100g chocolate (I use dark but i don't see why milk wouldn't work)
  • 40g butter

For the buttercream

  • 300 g icing sugar, (for dairy free buttercream, I often find adding a little more icing sugar is a good idea)
  • 150 g butter, softened, (dairy free alternative if necessary - hard Stork works well)
  • 100 g dark chocolate, melted, (ensure dairy free if necessary)
  • 1 tsp orange extract

For the homemade chocolate orange segments (optional)

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 2 tsp orange extract
  • orange zest (for topping the cupcakes)

Instructions

For the chocolate orange segments:

  1. Melt your chocolate in the microwave. Do this is in short bursts so you don't burn the chocolate.
  2. Once melted, stir in your orange extract and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Spoon your chocolate into the orange segment mould, filling each to the top. Very carefully place into the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes (although you could do this days ahead if you wanted to).
  4. Once chilled, remove the segments from the mould. I just put a little pressure on it and they popped out easily.
  5. Keep chilled until you need them.

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (160C Fan) and place cupcake cases into your cupcake tin.
  2. Cream together your softened butter and sugar using an electric hand whisk. Do so until lighter in colour and fluffier in texture.
  3. Gradually add your eggs (I whisk briefly in between each addition), mix in alongside your orange extract.
  4. Sift your gluten free flour, cocoa, baking powder and xanthan gum and then mix with your electric hand whisk until combined.
  5. Spoon your mixture into your cupcake cases and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes they should be cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly in the tin and then move the cases to a cooling rack.

For the chocolate orange sauce:

  1. Place your sugar, cocoa powder, milk, orange extract and 50g of your chocolate into a saucepan. Heat and mix on a low/medium heat until everything is melted.
  2. Remove from the heat and add your butter and the other 50g of your chocolate. Mix until everything is melted and smooth.
  3. Allow to cool down. This will allow the sauce to thicken.

For the chocolate orange buttercream

  1. Place your butter in a stand mixer (or electric hand whisk if you don't have a stand mixer), mix on its own on a high speed for about 5 minutes. The butter should change from a more yellow colour to being a lot more pale.
  2. Melt your dark chocolate (I do this is the microwave), put to one side to cool whilst making the rest of the buttercream.
  3. Add your icing sugar gradually to the butter (I do this in two stages). I mix each addition of icing sugar for around 3-5 minutes before adding the second half.
  4. Now add in your melted dark chocolate and orange extract - mix briefly to combine. It should be the right consistency at this point. If you think it's too thick you can add a tsp of milk. If too thin you can add more icing sugar. I've never needed to do either though.

To assemble your cupcakes:

  1. Once the cupcakes and chocolate sauce are cool you need to make little holes in your cupcakes to fill with the chocolate orange sauce. I use one of my piping nozzles to gently push into the centre of the cupcake and remove a bit. You could use a knife and remove a little too. Just make sure you don't go too deep as you need some of the cake beneath to hold the filling!
  2. Spoon a decent amount of your sauce into the hole you've made in each cupcake.
  3. Spoon your buttercream into a piping bag with a large star nozzle. Then pipe your buttercream on top.
  4. Finish with a little orange zest on top and of course a chocolate orange segment. Enjoy!




Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 514 Total Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 18g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 99mg Sodium: 323mg Carbohydrates: 60g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 47g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g
Nutrition info is estimated.
Thanks for reading all about my gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes recipe! If you make them, I’d love to see how they turned out so don’t forget to take a snap of your creations and tag me on Instagram!

Any questions about the recipe? Please do let me know by following me on Instagram and leaving me a comment on a recent photo!

Thanks for reading,

Becky xxx

Oh and don’t forget to pin this for later!

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