Chocolate Cupcakes: Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free

by Sara on September 11, 2009

chocolate cupcake with cream cheese icing

I’ve mentioned before that I feel better when I avoid grains and sugar, I’m just not all that good at avoiding my vices. Lucky for me, I can always make these cupcakes; they taste so good, no one will ever know they contain no sugar or grains.

For the sweeteners, I used a combination of stevia and erythritol. I know that erythritol sounds scary and fake, but it’s made by fermenting sugar, so it’s no more artificial than wine. But just like wine is different than grapes, erythritol is a little different from sugar. It’s not quite as sweet, doesn’t promote tooth decay, has ZERO effect on blood sugar levels and is calorie-free. What’s not to like about that? And instead of refined flour, I use healthy almond flour, which makes these cakes a more satisfying treat.

chocolate cupcake with cream cheese icing colored sugar

These cupcakes are moist and chocolately, with a creamy icing that everyone will love. I made these back on Independence Day, and I wanted to make each cake a little patriotic, so I did give each just the tiniest sprinkle of colored sugar. I decided to post the recipe today, because I thought a dessert inspired by patriotism was the best choice for this day.


chocolate cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
from the Madison Bistro Treats e-book
serves 12

Print Recipe

Chocolate Cupcakes
5 large eggs, at room temperature and separated
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
6 T unsalted butter
1/4 c sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 T prepared coffee
1/2 c erythritol
1/2 tsp stevia
2 c almond flour
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder*
2 1/4 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
pinch of salt

Line a cupcake pan with papers and preheat oven to 325*F.

Using a whisk attachment on a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. Set aside or transfer to another bowl.

Using the paddle attachment, cream butter, erythritol, and stevia on medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time until incorporated, then add sour cream and vanilla.

Combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a small bowl, stir to mix.

Using a spatula, add about one-third of the egg whites to the butter mixture, and stir until combined. Add half of the almond flour mixture, fold to combine. Add half the remaining egg whites and fold to combine. Add the remaining nut mixture, fold. Add the last of the egg whites, fold to combine.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill cupcake wrappers to the top with the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes spring back slightly when touched. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cream Cheese Icing
4 oz cream cheese
4 oz whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Erythritol, to taste

Beat cream cheese on medium speed with paddle attachment until smooth and creamy. Switch to whisk attachment and slowly pour in whipping cream while beating. Add the vanilla. When combined, add erythritol, one tablespoon at a time, until desired level of sweetness is achieved (I used about 1.5 T). Raise speed to high for two minutes to whip the mixture.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator.

*For greater depth of flavor, I like to use a combination of cocoa powders, but you can certainly just use whatever you like best.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Misty September 11, 2009 at 10:10 pm

These cupcakes look great. Do you think the final product would differ any if I used organic sugar in lieu of the stevia/erythritol? I am looking for a good tasting cake for my son who has recently been found gluten intolerant.

peabody September 12, 2009 at 1:18 am

Those look darn awesome to be sf and gf!

Jen @ MaplenCornbread September 12, 2009 at 7:48 am

gluten and sugar free?! WOW these sound incredible!!

Sara September 12, 2009 at 11:26 am

Jen & Peabody – thanks!

Misty – I think they’ll turn out fine. You’ll probably want to use anywhere from 1 cup to 1 1/3 cups of sugar in the cake batter, depending on how sweet you want them. For the frosting, I would just sweeten to taste, based on what you like. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

Amy September 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Wow! You used stevia and erythritol in baking? I heard rumor it wasn’t possible ;) Now I must explore more!!

Sara September 12, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Amy, in my experience, erythritol and stevia don’t work great in everything. I think erythritol pairs nicely with chocolate, and it works great anytime it’s being dissolved (like in a cooked pudding or pastry cream).

However, I’m not a fan of using erythritol in cookies (though chocolate cookies might be okay – I need to experiment more with those), because I still detect the cooling sensation of the erythritol. With cookies, I still use a little Splenda, usually paired with erythritol and stevia. My experience has been that when using sugar substitutes, “stacking” them seems to produce the best results. I try to minimize the use of anything artificial, but I do cave (like with cookies) to achieve the results I want.

muralimanohar June 13, 2010 at 4:37 am

Thanks for the info on the erythritol. :) I’ve been using it for my diabetic ds, and I knew it was something that was not to be feared, but I got stuck when I was trying to tell my SIL why, lol. She refuses to consider it, just from the name. My family has been using xylitol for awhile, but for some reason the erythritol is the one becoming more mainstream (it’s one of the ingredients, along with stevia, in Truvia; and also one of the sweeteners, also with stevia, in the new Sobe Lifewater zero calories drinks, and another one I can’t remember…Vitamin Water, maybe?), so it has made it’s way into the family diet. We don’t touch artificial sweeteners, so this is awesome, for us. :p

Tracy March 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I just wanted to let you know, you are a saint (well almost) for providing this recipe online. I have Candida and haven’t had a chocolate cake (my favorite thing) in over two years. I can’t wait to go make them!

Laura French January 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Can’t wait to try this. I use erythritol and stevia as well. I do find that there are different strength to the stevia and some taste bitter. I love the NuNaturals brand. What kind of stevia did you use for this recipe? I find the amount needed also varies if you are using a liquid, plain powder or stevia extract. The ingredients can be expensive and I hate to waste them so I am asking what kind of stevia and brand you used so I can have a successful first time baking these. Thanks SO much!!

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