Gluten- Free Red Velvet Cupcakes (& 5 Things I’ve Learned From My Mom)

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It’s the day after Mother’s Day, and I’ve decided to honor my Mom today. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the last year, and has had to figure out a whole new way of eating. Imagine decades of eating without thinking about much about what you’re eating.  Switching to a gluten-free lifestyle later in life is no easy task.  As a food blogger, it’s made me become much more aware of what ingredients contain gluten.  And as a result, I’ve been able to add a forever-growing Gluten-Free/Adaptable section here on the RecipeGirl site.  Some recipes are naturally gluten-free, and some include tips on how to easily adapt the recipe to make it gluten-free.  I hope people find this section helpful.

Here are some things I’ve learned from my Mom:

1.  Mom has taught me that eating gluten-free can be delicious. You really can adapt many recipes to be free of gluten, and… thanks to cookbooks like Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten Free Cupcakes, you can still make my very favorite kind of cupcake- Gluten Free- Red Velvet Cupcakes!  Yay!

2.  Mom has taught me that it’s never too late to do something. Mom got her college degree AFTER she retired.  How cool is that?  And I had a 12 year stint as an elementary teacher before taking on the food world.  I never thought I could do what I’m doing now.

3.  Mom has taught me that sometimes worry is really just good, old-fashioned concern and caring. Enough said on that one.

4.  Mom has taught me that holiday traditions are special and memorable. I’m talking things like carving pumpkins, dyeing Easter eggs, and decorating Christmas cookies.  I’m grateful to have grown up with those traditions, and I know that my son enjoys the fact that I’m exposing him to those traditions as well.

5.  Mom has taught me that family is important. Don’t hold grudges, let the resentment go, DO NOT GOSSIP, and have regular family reunions to keep everyone in touch.  I guess I’m guilty of gossip… she reminds me about this one often 😉

Love you Mom- more than words can say- and if I don’t tell you enough… I appreciate everything you have done and continue to do for me.  (And oh, just so you know… you’ve taught me a lot more than 5 things!)

On to business… and a GIVEAWAY!
Elana Amsterdam writes the blog Elana’s Pantry, and she has just published a new book:  Gluten-Free Cupcakes:  50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour. There are a good variety of delicious cupcake recipes in Elana’s book. Besides baking GF, she also leans toward baking with healthy ingredients, so you’ll see ingredients called for like almond flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, flax meal, natural food coloring, agave nectar, Stevia, grapeseed oil and more. I need more cookbooks like this on my cookbook shelf!

I got my hands on a copy of her cookbook, and I was delighted to find that I actually had all of the ingredients for her GF Red Velvet Cupcakes already in my pantry!  These are delicious- hard to believe, really, that they’re gluten-free.  My son is always a good tester since he has the ability to sense if anything is “weird.”  No weirdness at all… he said they tasted “normal and good.”  I had never baked with coconut flour before, and wondered how much that coconut flavor would come through.  The verdict:  I could definitely taste the coconut.  But I did enjoy the cupcakes- especially combined with the frosting.

This giveaway is now over!  Congrats to commenters #8 (Melinda) and #13 (Rebecca).  You are the randomly selected winners of this cookbook.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Gluten-free Red Velvet Lovers can now enjoy a cupcake of their own...

Yield: 9 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 18 min


1/2 cup coconut flour
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 Tablespoons grapeseed (or canola) oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 Tablespoon red food coloring

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup agave nectar


Prepare cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, oil, agave nectar and food coloring; whisk vigorously until well mixed. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; use electric mixer to combine. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool, then remove from pan and frost.

Prepare frosting:
2. In a deep bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. In a separate, larger bowl, whip the cream cheese and agave nectar until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes.


*If you're not comfortable with using artificial red dye, look for natural vegetable coloring at health food stores.
*For the frosting, I used a combination of agave nectar and honey. I loved the flavor that the honey added to the frosting!

Source: (adapted slightly from Gluten Free Cupcakes)

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  • Marissa wrote:

    There is a large gluten intolerant section in our local population, and they have had very few choices in our area. So when I decided to open a bakery, I decided to fill that niche and provide them with some sweet options. Needless to say, they were delighted, and I’m very glad to be able to bring smiles to their faces!

  • Alice wrote:

    My husband & I cook meals for our church’s Wednesday night suppers. Several of our members have celiac’s disease so we are always looking for gluten-free recipes to make for them.

  • Tracy wrote:

    These cupcakes sound delicious! Love that they’re GF too!

  • Patty wrote:

    I was diagnosed with celiac disease almost five years ago after suffering with undiagnosed gluten intolerance for years. It’s taken some time, but I’m completely gluten free now and have even begun baking again. When I was first diagnosed, there weren’t many gluten free products readily available and I lacked the confidence to try to bake. But I enjoy it now. My pumpkin cheesecake with gluten free ginger snap and pecan crust is a holiday favorite and my family has grown to love the gluten free cupcakes for birthdays and special occasions. I’ve even tackled french bread which a fun and satisfying exercise. Needless to say, I’d love to ‘win’ the cookbook.
    I’m the only one in my family who is gluten intolerant but the rest of the family eats gluten free when they’re here. They can’t believe how much I can still eat without having symptoms present. My son’s birthday is coming up and he loves red velvet cake. I’ll enjoy making these red velvet cupcakes for us to celebrate his day.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  • Laura Scott wrote:

    Having friends that need to be gluten-free. This us a great solution for treats/desserts to share with them. Thank you!

  • Alissa wrote:

    These are my faaaaaaaaaaavorite! And gluten-free?! Definitely trying these! Thanks for the recipe!! 🙂

  • Jacque Ibarra wrote:

    I am interested in becoming Gluten-Free. I have a hard time processing gluten myself. I have a family history of gluten intolerance, and I would love to be able to have a gluten-free cookbook! Also, I love cupcakes! 🙂

  • Ruth wrote:

    I’m not gluten intolerant, but I do think it would be a healthier way to eat. Cupcakes are just right for small steps in learning about gluten free baking..

  • Rivkah wrote:

    My sister has Celiac which she was diagnosed with 6 years ago and we now think that her 15 year old son may have it as well…. just waiting for the test results to come back. My sister biggest issue is finding foods that she can eat but that she also likes and desserts do not come by so easily where she lives. She LOVES cupcakes, but a good cupcake is not so easy to find. I try to bake things for her so that she doesn’t feel so left out all the time and family dinners. This cookbook will be great for me try out new recipes for her…..but I am definitely going to try the red velvet for her this weekend!!!!!!

  • Tracey Morris wrote:

    My Sister in law has a gluten allergy so for the family dinners I strive to make something sweet that she can eat 🙂 This book would be a great gift for her. Of course I would write down some recipes before I gave it to her 🙂 I think the next dinner I will be making these cupcakes 🙂 They sound yummy 🙂

  • martina Fegan wrote:

    My family’s journey with Celiacs began within a year of the diagnosis that both of my grandsons (ages 18 months and 3 years old) had Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. Within a year, after not growing, the doctors discovered that they had Celiacs Disease, which 15% of Type 1 Diabetics develop. A double whammy for our family. That was 6 years ago and our entire family (from grandparents to cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) have had to learn how to provide quality gluten free options for the boys. This cookbook looks amazing! Thanks for the opportunity to win it.

  • Amanda Thompson wrote:

    No one in my family is GF but I am trying to cut out a lot of processed foods from our diet and am interested in learning more about it.

  • Anka wrote:

    No one in my family has to go gluten-free, thankfully, but I know that one day, it might happen. One of the unborn children, perhaps, given our family history of food allergies and idiopathic rashes (and related rushes to A+E because of difficulty breathing). A few friends are GF (some of them periodically), and I’d like to be able to offer them something else than meringue when they come to visit. Problem is, with a number of allergies in the family, a lot of alternatives are out – almond or coconut flour, bean or lentil mash…
    Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  • Meredyth H wrote:

    My best friend (and roommate!) is gluten free, so I try to cook GF for her all the time, and I really enjoy it! I love experimenting with the alternative flours and grains, and this book would be awesome for me to continue to cook for her!

  • Janet wrote:

    I am so excited to see more recipes like this on your blog! As I baker, I am asked all the time if I have recipes like this. Sadly, the answer is no. I want to learn and be able to provide a gluten free option for my customers, without sacrificing flavor and moistness. I would love the chance to have this cookbook… and tell mom she inspires me, too 😉

  • Sarah Fisher wrote:

    I love, love, love reading your blog! And I’m sure that your mom loved the shout-out.

    Personally, I am not gluten intolerant. However, I have worked for a GI for about since I was 10 years old (my dad was the doc, and I was pretty good at alphabetizing) and I’m now almost 23. In our small town office, we see quite a few Celiac patients and other patients who are gluten intolerant. It can be so life-changing! There was actually a girl in my graduating class in high school who had Celiac, and it was pretty hard on her. Her mom is so enthusiastic about spreading awareness, which is so awesome! The Cake Mix Doctor has also published a Gluten-Free cookbook – you should check it out! I heard her speak, and her recipes went through extensive taste-testing. Even though I’m not gluten intolerant, I’ve tried to have gluten-free meals. I am in medical school to become a doctor, and I am interested in GI, so I want to provide my patients with more resources for dietary changes they have to make with gluten intolerance.

    Thanks for posting the recipe! It’s definitely going to be added onto my “bake this summer” list! 🙂

  • Terris@Freeeatsfood wrote:

    What a lovely tribute to your mom and the cupcakes look delicious.
    I was diagnosed with celiac disease 4 years ago and my 5 year old son has a wheat allergy (along with many other allergies). I used to be a pastry chef, so this turned my world upside down a bit. Now I love the challenge and can’t believe the wonderful results I’m getting when baking gluten and dairy free. I am a huge fan of Elana’s and don’t have a copy of her book yet.

  • RecipeGirl’s Mom wrote:

    You are truly a sweetheart. Thank you so very much. LOVE

  • Dana wrote:

    My daughter has Celiac’s and boy is it tough. We try hard and I have bought just about every type of “flour” I could to try and make her some kinds cakes. Right now she usually gets rice pudding because it is the only gluten free dessert that she likes!

  • Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker wrote:

    Love these cupcakes and the tribute to your mom!