Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes from Cara Reed’s Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking! Plus Review and Giveaway!

Cover Photo

It’s no secret that I’m a big fat fan of gluten. I love Wheat! HOWEVER, I have multiple friends with gluten intolerance, celiac disease and more that simply cannot eat gluten. I do a lot of baking and I like to cater to everyone, especially when I take treats to an event, so when I bake and it’s not for my family I often bake gluten-free. I also (really) know what it feels like to be the only one at the party with nothing to eat, which is no fun!

Gluten-Free baking is still somewhat of a mystery to me. Honestly, wheat flour is so much more predictable and easy to work with. I had a hard enough time re-learning how to bake without eggs and butter when I first changed my diet! Take out wheat flour too?!? Serious panic attacks in the kitchen! Even after experience with baking gluten-free on and off for nearly three years now, I still sometimes feel like the sun, moon, stars, kitchen temperature and humidity need to all be aligned in order for gluten-free baking to be successful in my house! BUT that’s where the wizardry of Cara Reed of Fork and Beans comes in. She has been in the same position as I have where the first gluten-free baking experiences resulted in a lot of trash bags full of heavy, inedible, brick-like food.

carrot cake

Thankfully, she’s had a lot more practice (or perhaps it’s witch craft!) than I have and she’s got gluten-free vegan baking down to a science so I don’t have to figure it all out on my own. I’ve been using the blends on her site forever now and most often, people simply cannot tell the things I’ve baked are gluten-free, which is no small feat.

There are some tricks though, many of which I’m still learning. Gluten-Free baked goods slice much better after setting. And sometimes chilling (which, as you can see, I didn’t have the patience for in these photos).

carrot cake 2

Gluten-free batter is also often thinner than a regular batter. I forget this sometimes and try to compensate by adding extra flour, which results in baked goods that are too dry. I might have made some of those classic errors when baking items for this post, um er, even though I should know better! So, just follow the instructions and you might just be golden, ‘mkay?

cinnamon buns

Now, for those Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes…. Seriously, Just make them. TODAY.

peanut butter close up

Printed with permission from Decadent GlutenFree Vegan Baking by Cara Reed & Page Street Publishing (August 5, 2014)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

If ever I am presented with the dilemma as to which cupcake is my favorite flavor combination, hands-down it has to be peanut butter and chocolate. I am definitely my father’s daughter (a man who for his birthday demands us to bring him chocolate peanut butter ice cream for celebration—he will accept nothing less!). I love the slight saltiness of the peanut butter paired with the sweet chocolate. Sheer perfection.

Makes 12 cupcakes


  • 1 ½ c/248 g Cara’s All-Purpose Blend (page 166)
  • ¾ c/66 g cocoa powder
  • ½ c/73 g lightly packed brown sugar
  • ½ c/100 g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp/7.5 g baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 1 c/240 ml nondairy milk
  • ½ c/120 ml hot water
  • ½ c/120 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp/14 g flaxseed meal plus
  • 6 Tbsp/90 ml water—thickened for 5 minutes
  • 1 Tbsp/15 ml apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract


1 batch Nutter Butter Frosting (page 156, recipe follows)
½ c/88 g nondairy chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease or line a muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine the wet together until well mixed. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Pour into the muffin pan and bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Frost with Nutter Butter Frosting and drizzle with melted nondairy chocolate. Feeling even crazier? Top with a chocolate-covered peanut.

Nutter Butter Frosting

Pairs with the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes (page 95).
Frosts 12 cupcakes or 1 two-layered cake

  • ½ c/112 g vegan butter, softened
  • ¼ c/65 g creamy peanut butter
  • 3 c/360 g powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp/45 ml nondairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, cream the vegan butter on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter, and then gradually add in the powdered sugar. Add the nondairy milk and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

CARA’S TIP: If you desire, you can switch to almond butter for this recipe, or if you are allergic to nuts, you can use a nut-free spread like SunButter instead.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Visit Cara Reed at her site: Fork and Beans

Get your own copy of the book on Amazon here or get the Kindle edition here. Or buy it for the person in your life who is gluten-free!

Or for a chance to win this amazing Giveaway, Click on the link below to enter! This contest is open to entrants in the USA only! You must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Monday September 1st to enter. I will notify the winner by email on Wednesday the 3rd of September. GO!!

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  1. My biggest challenge has been finding and being able to afford the ingredients often called for in recipes, and my biggest reward has been the look on other peoples faces when they know what is in the food but still think it is delicious! 🙂

  2. My challenge is finding all of the appropriate ingredients at a price I can stomach. Luckily, Trader Joe’s and the supermarket chain near me are stocking more and more of those things!

  3. The flavor of wheat lures me. The scent of a family member making something even as simple as toast can set me to drooling. Baking without it has been hard taste-wise, as well as texture-wise. I also have struggled with the refined flour replacements that just hit my system like a freight train, causing weight gain even worse than wheat flour! I’ve played with whole grain replacements, which has helped me a lot. Oats, coconut flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour have helped to avoid the dusty, gritty textures in some of the brown rice flour products I’ve made.

  4. I’m not gluten free or dairy free but I like to dabble sometimes both for my health and so I can feed some of my friends. (I believe everyone has the right to be included in the party, and I’m a firm believer that the food makes the party!) Also when restricting baking and cooking I find more often than not it leads to guaranteed clean eating. My biggest challenge is gluten free baking…..finding a good ready made gluten free flour is tough. If I had time to experiment and make my own concoction I would…but I just don’t. Its the texture the gluten proteins make in leavened bread that I miss but I know there’s probably no way around that.

  5. First of all, YUM! Those cupcakes look A-MAZ-ING!

    For the longest time I completely bypassed any recipe with eggs because I didn’t want to go through the trouble of making an egg replacement. I am still hesitant at times with it, and tend to stick with as simple recipes as possible.

  6. The times I try gluten free baking, I get worried when I test the batter prior to baking it. It usually turns out fine, but makes me super nervous! These cupcakes look amazing!

  7. I want to make this RIGHT NOW, but my printer will not print. I do better with gluten free recipes when I can hold the paper in my hand and triple check everything!. Pinned for later.

  8. I hear ya on throwing stuff away. I keep trying to do the gluten free thing and keep failing. Luckily there isn’t a medical reason in our house that we need to be gluten free, so for now, we embrace the wheat!

  9. GF or not, trusting the recipe is always a challenge for me, but especially with GF recipes. Luckily I have found some go-to’s for breads, pizza crusts and cakes. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. The biggest challenge is obviously getting it right, baked goods that I WANT to eat and are delicious and that’s also the biggest reward – great baked goods, worth my time and trouble.

  11. My biggest challenge is going 100% vegan. I love how much better I feel, but I have 2 things I just resist giving up indefinitely…eggs and cheese. I am hoping to get there soon. I work at it daily, but I have been vegetarian for about 8 years, and we eat vegan about 80% of the time. I just need to let it go. Plus, trying to find good baked goods that are vegan and GF has been a challenge. I am hoping this cookbook turns that around for us.

  12. nice review. I’m definitely curious about this book. I’ve had some good success with some xgfx baking – but other times I feel like the treats end up “gritty” or heavy. But, like you, even though I’m not gf, I do a fair amount of gf baking for friends and family, so a trusted resource is very valuable indeed!

  13. The hard part is getting the texture right. I also hate using so much starch with the gluten free flours. I love coconut flour but I have such a hard time getting it to not be super dry and crumbly without eggs!

  14. When a friend of mine had to go on a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, almond free, soy free diet I had to do a lot of research to figure out what I could make for desserts for her. Finding a gluten free flour mix was so helpful. The best reward was seeing her face when she tried the cookies I made for her and all of the other treats that followed!

  15. Due to health issues, I became gluten free and vegan 2.5 years ago. It has been a huge challenge making things that everyone in my house will like and eat. The biggest reward is making something that turns out incredible enough that my non vegan and gluten eating family also love.

  16. Gluten free challenge is baking goodies that have a good tasting texture and mouth feel. Early attempts were dry, somewhat chalky-like and not crumbly. I’ve gotten better, yet hope this book will make it as effortless as non-GF vegan baking.

  17. The hard part is not weeping tears of joy when I finally get to eat a baked treat thanks to you and Cara’s recipes. It’s like balm for a soul. Mmmmm…. cupcakes. 😉

  18. I do not eat a gluten free diet all of the time so I haven’t mastered it but my dog has recently been diagnosed gluten intolerant so I have actually been baking quite a bit of gluten free dog treats lately, which brings him (and I!) a lot of joy! I would love to be able to make human treats, too! 🙂

  19. Got it, love it, wanna eat EVERYTHING in it! Cara’s book is too gorgeous isn’t it? I’m going for the peanut butter chocolate bars —– we are on the same path with the peanut butter Somer!

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