Ice cream sundae cupcakes recipe – the ultimate Summer baking project that anyone can make with a gooey chocolatey middle. Best of all, nobody would know they’re gluten-free!
Ice cream sundae cupcakes recipe, anyone? Of course, the answer is always yes for me! With a chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate spread, topped with a whipped vanilla buttercream (and all the finishing touches) who could possibly say no?
Ok, during the hottest days of summer, the thought of turning your oven on may be the last thing you’d want to do! But trust me – this one is worth it.
And for all those sunny days where you’re not already melting inside your house, this recipe is a total no-brainer.
Best of all – anyone can make this! It’s just a few chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and a few finishing touches. Easy!
Here’s a few reasons why you need to make these if you weren’t convinced already…
Why make my ice cream sundae cupcakes?
- Super easy to make – just make cupcakes, whip up some icing and construct!
- It’s a SUPER moist and chocolatey sponge cake, topped with a light and fluffy icing, colourful sprinkles and chocolate sauce.
- Best of all, you’d never know it was gluten-free by tasting or looking at them – they’re super soft and NOT crumbly or dry at all.
- Yep, it’s easy to make dairy-free too – just see the FAQ section to find out how.
So what do my ice cream sundae cupcakes taste like?
Each cupcake is beautifully soft, moist and indulgently chocolatey, filled with oozing chocolate spread in the middle – the filling is optional, of course!
Then they’re topped with fluffy, sweet vanilla buttercream, sticky chocolate sauce, with a little added crunch from the gluten-free sprinkles.
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 ??
Ice cream sundae cupcakes recipe: Ingredients
- Butter – Butter is king in cakes and buttercream, but make sure yours is softened before you mix up the cake batter. Leaving it out of the fridge for a couple of hours should do it.
- Caster sugar – Of course, sugar isn’t just for sweetness – it helps to achieve a lovely crisp exterior and helps the cake to form a crumb.
- Medium eggs – I used medium eggs for this recipe, though large eggs should be fine too.
- Gluten-free self-raising flour – I used Doves Farm’s FREEE flour, which you easily find down the free from aisle in supermarkets. If you can’t find a blend like this where you live, you can always make your own using my gluten-free flour recipe.
- Cocoa powder – The easy, instant way to a wonderful chocolatey flavour.
- Gluten-free baking powder – Though there’s a little of this in gluten-free self-raising flour, a little goes a long way to ensure a nice, perfect rise.
- Xanthan gum – This helps to bind the cake crumb together so it doesn’t become crumbly, replacing the gluten that would otherwise do the same job.
- Chocolate spread – Yes, Nutella is gluten-free in the UK!
- Icing sugar – You’ll need this for the buttercream as caster sugar won’t cut it whenever it comes to creating icing.
- Chocolate sauce – I found mine with all the dessert-style sauces in the supermarket in a squeezy bottle.
- Gluten-free sprinkles – Any will do, as long as they’re gluten-free!
- Cherries – Fresh cherries look the best in my opinion and add that perfect ‘sundae-like’ finishing touch.
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!
Ice cream sundae 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 ice cream sundae cupcakes recipe dairy free?
Yes! Here’s the simple swaps you need to make:
- Use Stork hard margarine instead of butter.
- Use dairy-free dark chocolate.
- Instead of using chocolate spread for the filling, 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!
- Use melted dairy-free chocolate instead of chocolate sauce to drizzle on top of your cupcakes.
Lastly, ensure that your cocoa power is dairy-free and that’s it!
Can I make your ice cream sundae cupcakes 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?
It can be! Simply omit the filling and cherries, then use melted lactose-free chocolate instead of chocolate sauce. Then, one cupcake would be suitable for the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.
Can I make your ice cream sundae 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 ice cream sundae 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 ice cream sundae 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 ice cream sundae 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.
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 ice cream sundae 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 long can I keep your ice cream sundae 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 ice cream sundae 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.
Ice cream sundae cupcakes recipe: Method
Oh and here’s a printable version of my ice cream sundae 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.
Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes Recipe (gluten-free + dairy-free option)
- Here's the muffin/cupcake tray I use.
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 filling (optional)
- chocolate spread use a dairy-free alternative if necessary
For the buttercream
- 200 g butter softened (use Stork hard margarine if dairy-free)
- 400 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- chocolate sauce use melted dairy-free chocolate if necessary
- gluten-free sprinkles
- 12 cherries
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat your oven to 160C Can / 180C and place cupcake cases into your cupcake tin. I sprinkle a little rice into each hole before the case as this helps reduce unwanted moisture.
- 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 in your 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.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool very briefly in the tin, then move the cases to a cooling rack.
For the buttercream
- In a large bowl mix your softened butter on a medium speed for about 5 minutes until the butter has gone a lot more pale in colour. You can use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer for this.
- Add your icing sugar gradually. I add it in 2 stages and beat for about 3 minutes between each addition.
- Add your vanilla extract and mix once more - it should now be done.
To assemble your cupcakes:
- Once the cupcakes are cool, if filling, you need to core each cupcake. I use the larger end of one of my piping nozzles to gently push into the centre of each cupcake, then removing the core as you pull it out.
- Fill each hole with chocolate spread until full.
- Transfer your buttercream into a piping bag with a large star nozzle. Then pipe your buttercream on top. Alternatively, you can always spoon the buttercream on.
- Drizzle each with chocolate sauce, add some colourful sprinkles and complete with a cherry on top as the star of the show. 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!