Gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes recipe – super easy to make with a Nutella-filled centre. Best of all, nobody would know they’re Coeliac-friendly and wheat-free!
Gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes recipe, anyone? *puts on best M&S voice* They’re not just any cupcakes… they’re FILLED chocolate cupcakes, with a fluffy buttercream, finished with a KitKat Santa. Yes – the KitKat Santas are gluten-free!
Back when I first had to start a gluten-free diet, I was just happy to find a cake that was edible.
(it wasn’t that easy back in 2010!)
Fast-forward to 2020 and I never would have imagined that I’d be creating a recipe like this here on the blog.
It doesn’t look or taste gluten-free AT ALL and it incorporates flavours I would have never imagined to be possible.
So at least 2020 finally has one positive to it! But here we are, staring at photos of one of my proudest cupcake creations – which will hopefully be your proudest cupcake creation too when you make this!
Why make my gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes?
- Super easy to make – just make cupcakes, whip up some icing and construct!
- The taste is out of this world – the perfect treat for all chocoholics at Christmas that’s incredibly easy to make.
- Nobody would ever know they’re gluten-free – muggles won’t know the difference!
- KitKat Santas are gluten-free (linked in FAQ section) so celebrate that fact by making these!
- Yep, it’s easy to make dairy-free too – just see the FAQ section to find out how.
So what do my gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes taste like?
Each cupcake is beautifully soft, moist and indulgently chocolatey, filled with oozing Nutella in the middle.
Then it’s topped with a whipped, light and fluffy Nutella buttercream and finished with a KitKat Santa.
Honestly, if I could find one of these out in the wild and it was gluten-free… I think I’d faint! But fortunately, you can easily make these at home – no fainting required.
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider it your shopping list! Keep scrolling until you see the recipe card for the measurements and method ??
Gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes recipe: Ingredients
- caster sugar
- medium eggs
- gluten-free self raising-flour
- cocoa powder
- gluten-free baking powder
- xanthan gum
- icing sugar
- Mini KitKat Santas (dairy-free alternative if necessary – linked in FAQ section)
So I thought I’d kick things off with a little frequently asked questions section – if you just want the recipe, then keep scrolling!
But I’ve thrown in some tips here that will be really helpful if this is your first time making this, or you want to adapt it. So here they are!
Gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes recipe: Frequently asked questions
Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Is it suitable for Coeliacs?
It is gluten free, though nobody would know just by tasting it – trust me!
Bear in mind that minimising cross-contamination is hugely important if you’re Coeliac or making this for someone who is. Here’s some tips from Coeliac UK on minimising the risk of cross contamination.
Also, make sure that all ingredients used don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients. Then sure that they also don’t have a ‘may contain’ warning for gluten, wheat, rye, barley, oats (which aren’t gf), spelt and khorasan wheat (aka Kamut).
Here’s some more info from Coeliac UK on identifying safe gluten free products.
Can I make your gluten KitKat Santa Christmas cupcake recipe dairy free?
Yes! Here’s the simple swaps you need to make:
- Use Stork hard margarine instead of butter.
- Instead of using Nutella, use this specific chocolate hazelnut spread, which is dairy-free. But watch out! The jarred version by the same brand has a ‘may contain dairy’ warning, so please be careful!
- Instead of using KitKat Festive Friends for the topping, you can easily swap them for a dairy-free alternative, like these dairy-free Santa bars.
Lastly, ensure that your cocoa power is dairy-free and that’s it!
Can I make your gluten KitKat Santa Christmas cupcake recipe 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. Make sure you whisk it up until frothy before adding.
- 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.
I haven’t tested all of these egg alternatives so let me know how you get on in the comments below.
Is this recipe low FODMAP?
Sadly, because of the high dairy content in Nutella, this recipe isn’t suitable for the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.
Is Nutella gluten-free?
Yes, in the UK, Nutella is gluten-free! But don’t take my word for it (you never know when things might change after all), here’s a link to it so you can check it for yourself.
According to Coeliac UK, if a product has no gluten-containing ingredients and no ‘may contain’ warning for gluten, wheat etc. then that makes it safe for Coeliacs and those on a gluten-free diet.
Are KitKat festive friends gluten-free?
Yes! They even state it on the front of the packet. See the photo above for what they look like or you can check them out here and read the ingredients for yourself.
You can find them down the seasonal Christmas aisle with all the other festive chocolate and treats in any supermarket. I bought them in Tesco.
Can I make your gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes in a food processor or standing mixer?
Of course you can, but you definitely don’t need to. I use both a stand mixer and an electric whisk for this recipe. Here’s a link to the electric whisk I use.
A stand mixer makes making buttercream a breeze and an electric whisk speeds up mixing the cake batter.
You can of course, use either for both tasks too, just make sure you clean your stand mixer bowl in between of course.
Can I make this recipe completely by hand?
Of course! Just a good ol’ fashioned wooden spoon or spatula will do. Just make sure you give it a lot of welly, otherwise your mixture won’t be consistent!
Making the buttercream can take a little longer by hand, but it’s definitely do-able.
Do I need any special equipment to bake your gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes?
Certainly not! You will need a good quality muffin tray, so here’s a link to the one I use.
Do I need weighing scales to bake your gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes?
In short… yes, yes and yes! And I wouldn’t advise attempting any of my recipes without them.
A lot of work went into fine tuning ratios and quantities and for me, baking is all about consistency and precision. I want you to make this recipe and for it to turn out EXACTLY like mine did.
I’d recommending using digital cooking scales like these so you know you’re getting an accurate measurement and replicating my recipe as accurately as poss.
Can I bake your gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas 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 removing it from the cake batter itself.
Of course, the sugar isn’t just for sweetness. It’s integral to the structure of the cake once baked and is sooo important.
However, if you want to reduce the overall sugar, you can always omit the Nutella filling, or reduce the amount of buttercream on each cupcake.
Can I make this recipe without xanthan gum?
In some of my recipes, yes, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving xanthan gum out of this one. 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 batter together, you can be left with a very loose and crumbly sponge texture which won’t work for this recipe.
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.
If you’re really against xanthan gum or you simply don’t have any, you can omit it if pushed. There’s a little in gluten-free self-raising flour anyway, so they should still turn out fine.
Can I make this recipe using other gluten-free flours like buckwheat flour or coconut flour?
There’s a big difference between ‘gluten-free plain/self-raising flour’ and a *singular* type gluten-free flour. When I say ‘gluten-free plain or self-raising flour’ in a recipe, I mean a BLEND of gluten-free flours, not just one, singular flour.
Most gluten-free flour you buy in the supermarket typically contains a blend of rice flour, potato flour, maize flour, tapioca flour AND buckwheat flour. That’s a lot of different flours!
In gluten-free self-raising flour, there’s usually even a little baking powder and xanthan gum in it too which always helps.
So to replace it with just one specific type of flour… that’s not going to cut it at all. Definitely go for a gluten-free flour blend.
How can I tell when my gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes are done?
Grab a skewer and give one a poke in the centre. If it comes out clean, then it’s done!
But if the skewer comes out moist and cake-like, it’s best to pop them back in for a bit longer.
How to store your finished cupcakes
How long can I keep your gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes for?
I usually find that my cupcakes last for around 3-5 days in an airtight container. It’s usually eaten by that point, but I wouldn’t recommend keeping it for longer than that.
If it’s any longer than that then I’d highly recommend reading the next question…
Can I freeze your gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes?
Of course! I’ve frozen them for up to a month and after allowing them to fully thaw, you’d never know they were frozen.
Simply leave each cupcake out at room temperature for 4-5 hours to defrost.
Gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes recipe: Method
Oh and here’s a printable version of my gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas cupcakes recipe. Please remember to give it 5 stars if you tried it and enjoyed it as it helps people know it’s worth trying too! ⭐️ Feel free to leave your written reviews in the comments below this post.
Gluten-free KitKat Santa Christmas Cupcakes Recipe (dairy-free option)
For the cupcakes
- 200 g butter softened (use Stork hard margarine if dairy-free)
- 200 g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 165 g gluten free self raising flour
- 25 g cocoa powder ensure dairy-free if necessary
- 1/4 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
For the buttercream
- 150 g butter softened (use Stork hard margarine if dairy-free)
- 225 g Nutella use dairy-free alternative if necessary - linked in FAQ section
- 340 g icing
For the filling
- Nutella use dairy-free alternative if necessary - linked in FAQ section
For the topping
- Mini KitKat Santas dairy-free alternative if necessary - linked in FAQ section
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat your oven to 180C (160C Fan) and place cupcake cases into your cupcake tin.
- Cream together your softened butter and sugar using an electric hand whisk. Do so until lighter in colour and fluffier in texture.
- Gradually add your eggs (I whisk briefly in between each addition) and mix in.
- Sift your gluten free flour, cocoa, baking powder and xanthan gum and then mix with your electric hand whisk until combined.
- Spoon your mixture into your cupcake cases and place in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes.
- 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 buttercream:
- Place your butter in a stand mixer (or use an 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.
- 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.
- Now add in your Nutella - mix briefly to combine fully. 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 don't usually need to do either.
To assemble your cupcakes:
- Once the cupcakes are cool you need to core your cupcakes to fill with Nutella. 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!
- If your Nutella is a bit stiff, beat it a little or warm it in the microwave for 10 seconds (you aren't wanting it to be hot, just a little loose).
- Spoon a decent amount of Nutella into the hole you've made in each cupcake.
- Spoon your buttercream into a piping bag with a large star nozzle. Then pipe your buttercream on top.
- Finish with a Mini KitKat Santa pushed into the buttercream. Enjoy!
Any questions about the recipe? Please do let me know by following me on Instagram and leaving me a comment on a recent photo.
If you want to send me a photo of how your bake turned out, you can request to join my Facebook group and post it there. Myself and everyone else would love to see it!
Thanks for reading,
Oh and don’t forget to pin this for later!