Cupcakes/ Desserts

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate and orange is a beautiful flavor combination. The richness of chocolate is complimented by the bright, citrus flavor of an orange. These chocolate cupcakes with orange buttercream frosting are easy to whip up, and will be a hit at your next gathering.

If you’re as big of a cupcake lover as I am, my red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are also very tempting. 🙂

Why I love this recipe: 

  • This chocolate cake batter is a staple in my kitchen
  • The method requires no electric equipment
  • The orange buttercream contains all-natural orange flavoring

How to bake the best chocolate cake

For me, the secret ingredient that sets apart a store-bought chocolate cake from a homemade chocolate cake is coffee! It adds more moisture to the cake and pairs so well with the buttermilk and cocoa For this method, all you need is a whisk and a spatula! The recipe calls for olive oil, and we don’t want to over-mix that into the batter; just enough so that it incorporates evenly into the rest of the ingredients.

For most cake batters, you want a silky, fluffy batter. To achieve this, I recommend you sift the dry ingredients before incorporating them into the wet ingredients. This will get rid of any extra clumps and keep the batter smooth. You do not want to over-mix. The reserved air in your batter will help the cake rise nice and light. Add the batter to the cupcake tins as soon as everything is incorporated. You don’t want the batter to get too warm before it starts to bake.

My orange buttercream would compliment a lot of future treats. I wanted to incorporate a bright citrus flavor as we welcome the spring weather. Once the butter is whipped, add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Let it set slightly in the refrigerator before piping. I always place my piping bag in a long water glass to stabilize it when I add the frosting to the bag. Make sure you leave enough room at the top of the bag to keep it securely closed and avoid a mess on your hands.

If preparing these cupcakes a day or two in advance, I suggest keeping them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. They will be best enjoyed within the first three days of baking. You can also freeze the cupcakes in their wrappers for up to three months. When you’re ready to serve, simply thaw them out to room temperature before piping on the frosting. Hope you enjoy this treat!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 cupcakes Prep Time:30 Cooking Time:22


  • For the cupcakes:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup black coffee
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 to 2 drops orange food coloring



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-muffin tin with cupcake liners.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.


In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined.


Whisk in the olive oil, coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until well combined.


Sift half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, then whisk until well combined. Sift the remaining half of your flour mixture to the wet ingredients, then whisk until just combined – do not over-mix the second portion of the flour.


Spoon the batter into the liners until they are about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the center of a cupcake clean. Let them cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat the baking process for the remainder of your batter.


Meanwhile, prepare your buttercream. In a medium bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add one cup of confectioners sugar and beat until combined. Add another cup and beat until combined. Add the vanilla extract, orange zest, orange juice, and the third cup of confectioners sugar and beat until combined. Add the fourth cup of confectioners sugar and beat on high speed for two to three minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy.


When the cupcakes have cooled, transfer the frosting to a piping bag, Pipe the cupcakes in a circular motion, starting on the outside and working your way into the center.


Let the frosting set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight. These can be enjoyed for up to four days.

chocolate cupcakes with orange buttercream

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