These homemade gluten-free mocha cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting are decadent, rich, and moist. Your heart will skip a beat as soon as you taste these coffee cupcakes because they are that good! They will surely please a crowd, and you will never have a crumb leftover!

Rows of frosted mocha cupcakes on a wooden table.

This mocha cupcake recipe combines sweetness, chocolate, and coffee flavors perfectly in each bite. You will also find a subtle hint of cinnamon that adds to the depth of flavor in these cupcakes.

The show’s star is the mocha buttercream frosting because it’s creamy and delicious! For all of my best gluten free cupcakes on the blog, check out my Gluten Free Cupcakes resource page!! This recipe was inspired by a visit and baking adventure with my friend April and her delicious Mocha Cake.

These cupcakes were absolutely amazing! Definitely a favourite in my house.”

marsha, blog comment

Allergen Information:

These cupcakes are gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free, and a dairy-free option uses plant-based butter in place of butter.

Let me say the gluten free mocha cake version turned out incredible!

Ingredient Notes:

For the full list of ingredients and amounts, please go to the recipe card below.

  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – I tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure and Bob’s Red Mill 1:1. You need 2-3 TBSP additional liquid if you use Bob’s 1:1. Other flour blends should work, but you may need to add more liquid depending on how starchy your blend is.
  • Cocoa Powder – Sift your cocoa powder to eliminate the lumps. I like Anthony’s brand of cocoa powder and you can buy regular or Dutch process for this recipe.
  • Cane Sugar
  • Xanthan Gum – If your blend doesn’t contain a binder, add 1 teaspoon of xanthan or guar gum.
  • Baking Powder – Use aluminum-free.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter. Swap dairy-free butter if you are making these cupcakes dairy-free!
  • Eggs – Use size large eggs. Note: I have not tested this recipe with an egg replacer.
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Instant Coffee – I used Via, but other instant coffee brands will work well. Use decaf if you avoid caffeine.

Know which types of recipes different gluten-free flour blends are best in with this guide to gluten-free flour blends.

Two gluten free mocha cupcakes next to a mug of coffee.

Tips For Perfect Cupcakes:

If you LOVE light and fluffy cupcakes, here are a few tips to help you make sure that your cupcakes come out perfectly every time.

  • #1 Most important, don’t overmix the batter. People often think they need to keep mixing it, which adds air to the mix. From my baking experience, this isn’t the case for gluten free baking. This creates a denser, heavy-tasting cupcake.
  • Room temperature ingredients – I used to think this was silly, but now I let everything sit out, even the eggs. If the ingredients are too cold, it can affect how they bake. Allow butter and other cold ingredients to sit at room temperature before mixing.
  • I like to use a large cookie scoop to put the batter in the cupcake tin. Then you will have perfect uniform cupcakes.
  • Don’t overbake or bake at too high of a temperature. Double-check your oven temperature and check the cupcakes often to ensure you don’t overbake. Otherwise, they will turn out dry and not as flavorful.

Learn more tips in this Gluten Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide.

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

The dry ingredients in a bowl ready to whisk.

Step 1: Add your dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk to blend. 

Step 2: In a smaller bowl, add your wet ingredients and mix well.

*I want to talk to you about the powdered coffee I used for this mocha cupcake recipe. You can use any instant coffee, but I prefer using Starbucks Via. I love the extra deep coffee flavor it adds to the coffee cupcakes. (Make sure to look at the ingredient list to ensure the brand you use is gluten free!)

The wet and dry ingredients in a bowl ready to mix.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix them until they are barely mixed.

The cupcake batter in a muffin tin.

Step 4: Add parchment paper liners to your cupcake tin. I prefer using these because the cupcakes don’t stick to the cupcake liners. Fill each section about 3/4 full with the mocha cake batter. Bake at 350º F for 20-22 minutes until the cupcakes have finished baking.

🔑 Sandi says: To make cupcakes the same size, use a large cookie scoop to scoop the batter in.

Step 5: To make the mocha frosting, add powdered sugar, instant coffee, softened butter, water, and vanilla to a standing mixer. Use a whisk attachment to whip the frosting ingredients until the frosting is nice and fluffy.

Step 6: Put frosting into a piping bag and pipe onto each baked cupcake. You can use any style of frosting tip you like. I used a medium star tip.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What brands of instant coffee are gluten free?

I like to use Starbucks Via coffee. You can also use Anthony’s (available via Amazon), Maxwell House, and Walmart’s Great Value Brand.

How do you know when the cupcakes are done baking?

To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cupcakes need to bake longer.

How long will these mocha cupcakes keep fresh?

These cupcakes will keep fresh for up to 3 days in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.

How to freeze cupcakes?

I recommend freezing the cupcakes without the frosting. Thaw them on the counter for an hour.

A single gluten free mocha cupcake on a stand.

More Yummy Gluten Free Cupcakes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

Gluten Free Mocha Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting

Sandi Gaertner
A moist and delicious gluten free mocha cupcake recipe with homemade mocha buttercream frosting.
4.91 from 10 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 23 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 326 kcal


  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ½ cup cocoa powder not drinking chocolate
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder aluminum-free
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee one that is finely ground like Starbucks via dissolved in ⅓ cup boiling water, cooled
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk * see note


  • 1-2 tablespoons instant coffee one that is finely ground like Starbucks via
  • made with 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons boiling water Amount used depends on caffeine level you want
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1-2 tablespoons water


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).
  • Add parchment paper cupcake paper liners to a muffin tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a standing mixer or bowl.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla and mix together well.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
  • Add to a small bowl the cooled coffee and the almond milk
  • Add the flour mixture to the batter alternately with the coffee/buttermilk mixture, beating after each addition. (Use two additions of the flour mixture and two of the liquid mixture.)
  • Pour the mixture into the cupcake liners.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool the cupcakes on a cooling rack.
  • Add the frosting ingredients to a standing mixer and beat until fluffy.
  • Decorate the cupcakes any way you like!


  1. For this recipe, I used instant crystals, Via, that I bought from Starbucks.
  2. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
  3. If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  4. To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter.
  5. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cupcakes need to bake longer.
  6. I used almond milk but other dairy-free kinds of milk will work but I do not recommend canned coconut milk.
  7. These cupcakes will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 5gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 138mgPotassium: 225mgFiber: 4gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 533IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 103mgIron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

4.91 from 10 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    Hi. I made these cupcakes and they were super moist the day of. I put them in the fridge and frosted them the next day and then tried one and it was not so moist. A bit drier and hard. I made sure I didn’t over mix either. Is this normal for it to be harder after refrigeration even after letting it come to room temperature? I’ve been requested to make a gluten free birthday cake later this wk so I would like to perfect this. Help.

    1. Hi Faye, can you provide more info? What gluten free flour blend, liquid (milk or type of non-dairy milk) etc? Did you make any substitutions? Mine didn’t become hard like what you are describing so hoping more info can help us figure it out.

  2. I’m desperately trying to find an excellent dairy free /gluten free recipe to bring t o a birthday this weekend. I’ve been gluten dairy free for about 3/4’s of a year now made a huge difference in my life but it’s to revamp a lot of my recipes some work some don’t. So I was wandering if I could replace the unsalted butter with either vegan margarine or vegan butter. I can’t find any unsalted ones in our stores. I cannot wait to try this recipe and pray it all works out great!

    1. Hi Denise, I haven’t tried vegan butter sticks, but I have to assume they would work well in the cupcakes. I am not fully sure for frosting, you may consider checking Pinterest for vegan frosting recipes.

  3. These look incredible and I would very much like to make these for a retirement party but I am a little confused with the frosting ingredients. The bullet that says, “made with 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons boiling water) Amount used depends on caffeine level you want” – is that an ingredient that is used as well as the instant coffee? Forgive me, I tend to overthink everything!

    1. Hi Steph, some people are sensitive to caffeine so I was trying to say you can use more or less espresso depending on if you are sensitive or not. I hope this helps.

  4. These cupcakes are to die for & what a wonderful gluten free option you have provided. And that gorgeous silky mocha buttercream is icing on the top. Thanks for the share.

  5. These cupcakes look beautiful – I love the icing. Anything that involves coffee and chocolate is good with me!

  6. I love your frosting to cupcake ratio, and anything and everything with a bit of coffee in it. Definitely bookmarking.

  7. I’ve tasted these beautiful cupcakes and they are amazing! They have such a gorgeous, deep mocha flavour. They are the perfect indulgent treat!