Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

These gluten free Mexican chocolate cupcakes are a delicious blend of chocolate and cinnamon with a subtle kick of cayenne that’ll make you say olé!!  

gluten free mexican chocolate cupcakes

These cupcakes are hands down my husband’s favorite cupcakes ever!  And I’ve made a lot of cupcakes over the years, so that’s saying something.  He loves the flavors of chocolate and cinnamon together, and the cayenne adds a little kick that’s so subtle, you’d never really know it’s there, but you might miss it if it wasn’t.

I got the idea for these a long time ago, before I was gluten free, while making cake pops.  I used to make cake pops and sell them at my parents’ restaurant way before they were ever mainstream.  They would sell like hotcakes. 

As you might have guessed, I made Mexican chocolate cake pops at the time, and I eventually transitioned those to cupcakes.  Not that I don’t LOVE cake pops (check out my cinnamon roll cake pops).  I just wanted to actually taste and feel the silky smooth texture of the frosting separately for a change.

piping frosting on mexican chocolate cupcakes

What Makes These Chocolate Cupcakes So Moist?

I’ll admit, I am a butter lover!  I’m a card-carrying member of the butter-is-better and the butter-makes-everything-better clubs. These are similar to the bacon-makes-everything-better club, of which I am also a member, haha!  Most of my cake recipes call for butter or a blend of butter and oil.  However, these cupcakes are made solely with canola or another flavorless oil simply because I want them to be as moist as can be, and stay moist for days.

There are enough other flavors going on that the flavor of butter won’t be missed. Not to mention there’s PLENTY of butter in the frosting.  That’s a no brainer.  I would NEVER make buttercream with anything but butter.  It’s called buttercream, after all, not shortening cream!

mexican chocolate cupcake cut open

Make the frosting

This buttercream base begins just like my buttercream from my first blogiversary cake, which is a funfetti cake! With just three ingredients, it’s one of the best American buttercreams I’ve ever made and tasted!!

Then we add a cocoa AND melted semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate and it becomes a light chocolate buttercream. For these cupcakes, though, we gotta have that Mexican spice so throw in some cinnamon and cayenne and we’re there!

American buttercreams usually tend to be a little grainy and way too sweet.  But there is a solution for this–beat it for a long time, like 5 minutes.  It makes such a difference in the texture because the powdered sugar blends so well into the butter. The buttercream becomes this light and silky frosting that you’ll love! Just set your mixture on medium to medium-high (about 4-6 on a Kitchen Aid) and walk away.  The extended beating time transforms the buttercream into such a light and smooth frosting. I always get sooooooo many compliments on it.

gluten free mexican chocolate cupcakes

gluten free mexican chocolate cupcake faq’s

Can I Make These Just Chocolate Without the Spices?

Yes, you can leave out the spices and make the best chocolate cupcakes ever! But if you’re feeling adventurous, try the spices and you may never go back.

Do the Cupcakes Freeze Well?

Yes, and you can even freeze them already frosted! Place frosted cupcakes on a baking sheet and into the freezer to solidify, which should take around an hour. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a container or large ziptop bag. Defrost, still wrapped, on counter, carefully removing the plastic wrap.

Can I Substitute Chili Powder for the Cayenne Pepper?

Chili powder can be substituted for the cayenne, but I would increase the amount to 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.

Get in the kitchen today and bake up a batch of these cupcakes.  You’ll love the chocolate and cinnamon flavors with the kick of cayenne!

gluten free mexican chocolate cupcakes

Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes

These gluten free Mexican chocolate cupcakes are a delicious blend of chocolate and cinnamon with a subtle kick of cayenne that'll make you shout olé!! 
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 49 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 24 cupcakes



  • cups (375 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend a store bought blend may be substituted, but hasn't been tested
  • cups (132 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • tsp baking powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • cups (415 ml) whole milk (or dairy-free milk if desired)
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • cup (550 g) granulated sugar
  • cups (300 ml) very hot coffee (or boiling water)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp cayenne pepper


  • 3 cups (6 sticks or 678 g) butter, at cool room temperature
  • 5 cups (625 g) sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces (56 g) chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled



  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.  
  • In a large bowl, add flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.  Whisk to sift together.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Pour the sugar in and then add the dry ingredients.  Blend the mixture at low speed using the paddle attachment until smooth.  Slowly add the very hot coffee or boiling water and pulse to blend on low speed until completely smooth, being careful that it doesn't splash back.  
  • Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full.  Bake for about 24-26 minutes, or until the tops spring back and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.  
  • Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes in pan.  Remove to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.


  • In a medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa, ground cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. In a small microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate on half power and stir until smooth. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium low speed until slightly fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar mixture and pulse to combine (so a large cloud of chocolate powdered sugar doesn't puff up). Once all the powdered sugar mixture is added, increase the speed to medium or medium high (about 4-6 on a Kitchenaid Mixer). Mix for about 5 minutes or until lighter in color and texture. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate and mix just to combine.
  • Frost cupcakes as desired. If there are any leftovers, place in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months.
Keyword chocolate, cupcakes, Gluten Free, Mexican
Tried this recipe?Tag @letthemeatglutenfreecake on Instagram so we can see!

Cake recipe adapted from Trophy Cupcakes & Parties.

These cupcakes were originally posted on October 5, 2018 and have been updated with new pictures and an updated recipe for Mexican chocolate buttercream.

24 thoughts on “Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes”

  • These were amazing. People were shocked they were gluten free. Do you have a tried and true gluten free vanilla cake recipe?

    • I’m working on revamping my vanilla cupcake recipe because a lot of people have had problems getting it to work just right, so stay tuned. If you’re subscribed to my email list, when I get it right I’ll send out a new email, but I’ll also probably do a video for it and put it on my YouTube channel. 🥰

  • Hi Kim! I was wondering if you could give me advice on this. The taste and texture is wonderful, but I’ve made it a few times and I always have the middle collapsing a little, regardless of if it’s cupcake or 8inch rounds. Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

    • Hi, Shari! Yes, I’m sure it could be baked into a cake. You could do either 8 or 9-inch round cakes or even a 9 by 13-inch rectangular. The baking times will have to be tested, but I would start testing at about 22-25 minutes for each. If they spring back or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, they’re done. Happy gf baking 🙂

  • I’m not sure what your magic is but these are THE BEST cupcakes I’ve even tasted and ,certainly, ever made. Wow! They’re moist but rich and light. The flavor is chocolate without being grainy or overwhelming. And the frosting. I just can’t. SOOOO GOOD.
    I’ll definitely be making these again and will also try them out as a layered cake.
    A million thanks, Kim, from both me and my husband.!

    • You’re too kind, Drina!! Thank you so much for trying so many of my recipes, and I truly appreciate your wonderful comments 😍😍😍 These are my husband’s absolute favorite cupcakes, and really favorite sweet, that I make and he’s always pestering me to make them. Haha! I tell him I have to work on new recipes 😋😁

      • I’m almost sorry you told me how to freeze them! Lol. They call me every night from the freezer. Seriously, a great recipe. You’re the best. Thanks Kim!

        • Oh, haha! Too funny, Drina!! I have the same problem with several goodies. I have to give them away so they’re not in my house at all, freezer included 🙂

  • Hi Kim, These cupcakes look amazing. I’m going to make them for my husband’s b/day next week but I know we’ll have leftovers. When you say “freeze for up to 4 months” do you mean with or without the frosting? And, if with the frosting, do you have any tips on how to freeze frosted cupcakes where the frosting won’t smush?
    As always, thanks for your recipes and your help!

    • Drina, my mom figured out how to freeze frosted cupcakes perfectly! She puts them on a sheet tray into the freezer until they’re solid, then individually wraps them in plastic wrap and then puts those into either a container or a large plastic bag (like a gallon ziptop or even a 2 gallon). When she wants a cupcake from the freezer, she pulls one out and lets it defrost on the counter for an hour or two, still wrapped in the plastic wrap, and then carefully removes the plastic to not mess up the frosting. She says they are just as fresh tasting as they were going into the freezer 🙂

  • BEST CAKE EVER!! Hands down, greatest cake in the history of all cakes!! If I could, I’d give it more stars. I have found what my sweet tooth has been missing. Made this for my dads 70th birthday and everyone loved it. They couldn’t believe it was gluten free. My family’s new favorite! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Kim, you are amazing! BEST EVER!!

  • I only made the frosting and I thought it was really good! I added a little more cinnamon and cayenne than the recipe called for, because the cake I’m frosting is plain chocolate so it needs more kick. My only negative feedback is that the steps for making the frosting leave out almost all the frosting ingredients! I made educated guesses about when to add them and it worked out fine, but it would be easier to have them included. 🙂

    • Hi, Christine! I don’t understand what you mean. I just looked at my post and it says to beat the butter and then slowly add the powdered sugar mixture. Am I missing something? Or are you not seeing that? I’d love to know so that I can correct it if possible.

      Thanks so much 🙂

      • I believe Christine is referring to directions regarding when to add the vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne. These ingredients are not mentioned in your instructions.

        • Oh wow! I really left out SO many things on this recipe! I am so sorry, you guys 🙁

          I think it’s all fixed now. Please let me know if you find anything else that I was missing.

          Thanks everyone 🙂

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