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Chocolate Sunbutter Cupcakes

Gluten free, vegan chocolate cupcakes with Sunbutter filling, topped with a vegan Sunbutter buttercream.


This recipe has been a long time in the making. There’s an awesome bakery in Roswell, GA called Gluten Free Cutie. They have the most divine chocolate Sunbutter cupcakes called Build Me Up Buttercup. It’s taken me a couple of months, but I think I’ve come up with my own recipe that’s just as fabulous!


Not only are they gluten free, but they’re also vegan (except for the chocolate covered sunflower seed decoration on top). But you’d never know it. They’re just plain good! These Chocolate Sunbutter Cupcakes are moist, tender and nutty. The Sunbutter (aka sunflower seed spread) is similar to peanut butter with a hint of sunflower seed flavor. Plus, they’re great if you or your child are allergic to peanuts. The buttercream is made with organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, Sunbutter, powdered sugar and vanilla. It’s smooth, creamy and just the right amount of sweetness!


Creating gluten free recipes is a bit tricky because it’s a whole different ball game than regular baking. But lucky for you, I’ve tested and retested this recipe so you know it’s going to turn out right.

Start this recipe by making a gluten free flour blend (recipe follows and pictured above). You’ll have enough for 2 batches of this cupcake recipe.


Then measure out 1 1/4 cups of the gluten free flour blend and whisk together with the remaining dry ingredients (except for the sugar).


Next you combine all of your wet ingredients with the sugar.


Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Scoop batter into muffin cups.


Bake at 375°F. for 18-20 or until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Let cool.


Use a #826 pastry tip to cut a small piece of cupcake out. Fill with Sunbutter, then replace the piece you removed.


Whip up the frosting which is a mixture of organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, Sunbutter, powdered sugar, water and vanilla. Scoop frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a #826 or #1M pastry tip. Pipe frosting on to cooled cupcakes.

Note: If you don’t like a lot of frosting, you could half the recipe. The cupcakes are actually even good with out frosting. Just know that’s an option if you want to cut down on calories or you like desserts that aren’t as sweet.


Garnish with colorful chocolate covered sunflower seeds, if desired. Note: these are NOT vegan, so if you want them to be strictly vegan cupcakes, then you should skip this step.


These cupcakes are so delicious. I hope you will try them. Even if you CAN have gluten, they are definitely worth making! I am not gluten intolerant but my mother is. That is why I like to try gluten free recipes, so I’ll have something yummy to make when she visits.


Ever since I tried this cupcake at Gluten Free Cutie, I just had to figure out how to make it at home. It’s just the best!

Chocolate Sunbutter Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes


  • 1 1/4 cups (175g) gluten free flour blend* (see below)
  • 1/2 cup (45g) cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (200g) organic evaporated cane juice sugar (I used Wholesome Sweetness)
  • 1 cup (250mL) coconut milk (I used canned)
  • 1/3 cup (75mL) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sunflower seed spread (I used Sunbutter No-Stir Creamy)
  • 1 cup (192g) non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sunflower seed spread (I used Sunbutter No-Stir Creamy)
  • 4 cups (450g) powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional garnish
  • Chocolate covered sunflower seeds (not vegan)
  • 2 cups (244g) brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) arrowroot
  • 1/3 cup (38g) tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • (Note: I used Bob's Red Mill for all of the flour blend ingredients.)
  • Whisk together all of the flour blend ingredients and store in an airtight container.


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with greaseproof cupcake liners. (I used Shop Sweets and Treats.) Set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients except sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the wet ingredients, plus sugar. Whisk in dry ingredients and keep stirring until completely combined and smooth.
  4. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups using an ice cream scoop or spoon. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  5. To fill, use the bottom of a #826 pastry tip to press down in the middle of each cooled cupcake. Press down about 1/2-inch, then lift out. Carefully remove the small piece of cupcake from the pastry tip and set aside. Scoop about 1/2 teaspoon of Sunbutter into the cupcake. Replace the piece you removed. Repeat for all 12 cupcakes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. Measure water and vanilla in a small measuring cup. Set aside. Place shortening in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium high for 1 minute. Add Sunbutter and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar and water/vanilla mixture. Once all is combined, turn mixer up to medium high and beat for 2 minutes. If it's too thick, you can add a little more water, but not too much. Maybe 1-2 tablespoons.
  7. Scoop icing into a large pastry bag fitted with a #826 or #1M pastry tip (they are similar). Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
  8. Garnish with chocolate covered sunflower seeds, if desired. Store covered in refrigerator for up 5 days.


8 Responses to Chocolate Sunbutter Cupcakes

  1. Cakespy says:

    OMG these are the happiest food I’ve seen all week – all month! <3

  2. Happiest comment I’ve seen all week! Thank you! <3

  3. Michele says:

    This recipe looks amazing! I was wondering if GF is not needed could the flour mixture be substituted with an all purpose, would there be any other changes? I’m looking for vegan yummies but I don’t need the GF along with it.. Thanks in advance. Happy baking.

  4. Wow! These look amazing!!!

  5. Lise Ode says:

    Michele, you could try substituting all purpose flour, but I can’t guarantee the results. I tested this recipe with the gluten free flour blend which comes out great. It’s a delicious gluten free cupcake though. Let me know if you try it!

  6. Wow! These cupcakes look so delicious! Pinned it!

  7. Pingback: Top Food Bloggers #1 Recipes of 2015 - Yellow Bliss Road

  8. Fun size wife says:

    It is obvious you did your homework on these cupcakes. I appreciate someone that figures out the details, resulting such a great product. Thank you so much!