Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream- Gluten Free and Dairy Free

December 12, 2017livingfreelygf
Blog post

Not only are these chocolate cupcakes delicious, they are topped with a rich but light peppermint buttercream that is perfectly festive for the holidays. You won’t believe that they are also gluten free and dairy free! The light and fluffy, but moist chocolate cake is paired perfect with a homemade peppermint buttercream that will melt in your mouth. These delicious cupcakes are sure to impress everyone during the holidays, even those who are not gluten free or dairy free.

You can top them with a cut peppermint stick, or Red Bird Candy soft peppermint puffs to make them the perfect dessert to display at a dessert exchange, party, pot luck, or even as gifts.

I am always looking for a simple yet festive treat to pass around to family and friends to enjoy with a cup of hot cocoa. These cupcakes will be the show stopper for any gathering.

We are finally 98% done decorating for Christmas this year. We traveled to California for Thanksgiving this year. Our typical schedule is to fully decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. Since we were not home it took us a while to get everything out, sorted, organized, and then decorated. I needed to purge some of the really old and slightly broken items and make a list of the new things we needed.

Every year we usually put up a fake tree. I have had this fake tree FOREVER. I bought it on a Black Friday deal when we were in our 20’s and its been on its last leg for a while now. I knew this year I didn’t want to use it. I wanted a new and nicer fake tree that actually had some thickness to it. My husband however really wanted to do the traditional Washingtonian thing and go cut a tree down. I wasn’t fully on board with this idea for several reasons…

  1. It’s always raining here and I didn’t want a wet tree in the house.
  2. It’s always raining here and I didn’t want to go tromp through the forest and mud in the rain.
  3. Real trees are super messy and I remember cursing at the last one we got on the daily as I picked up the needles that seemed to fall every 5 seconds and then scrubbed the sap off of the floor.
  4. I was 100% convinced we would have a “Griswold Christmas” in which a creature would come flying out of it and I would lose my mind.

Regardless of those reservations, I put on my big girl pants (and the wrong shoes) and went. It ended in disaster for several reasons and we left purchasing a tree from the tree farm that had already been cut down. It is a little too big for my tiny space I had planned, but it is pretty and I am very happy with it none-the-less. We will never forget this adventure, that’s for sure.

My husband went a little crazy with decorating outdoors. We grew up with single mothers and didn’t have a lot. My husband especially. He really likes to make up for it now, so I have to let him do his thing from time to time. I had to reel him in a bit as he started to attempt turning our house into the North Pole. We made a decent compromise and our house looks lovely. It’s wonderful to see the joy in our children’s eyes and the excitement they have for it. I am thankful to have a husband who loves to do these things.

So, now that the house is bustling with Christmas cheer it is time to start baking! I was beyond excited that Red Bird Candy wanted to collaborate with me! I have been eating their peppermints since I was a child. When I found them again as an adult, I was overjoyed that their candy was allergen free. I am always excited to share candy with the kids that is safe for all of us. Red Bird Candy was generous enough to do a giveaway with my readers. They are giving away a HUGE prize pack of some of their best candy!

They are giving away the following!

2-4oz bags of Cotton Candy
2-4oz bags of Peppermint
2-4oz bags of Birthday Cake
2-4oz bags of Assorted
1-box Peppermint Sticks
1-6oz pouch All Natural Peppermint
1-6oz pouch All Natural Lemon
1-10oz bag Peppermint
1-30oz bag Cotton Candy
1-46oz bag Assorted
1-46oz bag Peppermint

I’m loving the giveaway. This is HUGE! There will be plenty of peppermints for you to make the chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream too!


Enter Below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains affiliate links. Living Freely Gluten Free makes a small percentage of any order made through these links. This helps to cover the cost of the website and ingredients to keep bringing you delicious but simple recipes. Thank you for your support. 

Are you ready to make cupcakes now?

When you make the cupcakes, the method might seem different to you if you haven’t followed one of my cake recipes yet. Please do not fret, this is a method that is tried and true and it makes the most amazing and delicious moist cakes. Boiling water with sugar is an old school method. Don’t skip it, because it is well worth waiting for the water to cool.

It’s also very important that you use an amazing Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend. I have been using the same blend for the past 6 years and I swear by it. It never lets me down and everything always comes out perfect!

For the peppermint buttercream you will want a good Peppermint Extract. If you plan to pipe the frosting make sure that you crush the peppermint candies very well. If they are too chunky they will not fit through a piping tip. You can simply just spread the frosting onto the cupcake with a knife and then you will not need to worry about the size of the candy chunks.

Other than that, these cupcakes are simple to make and incredibly delicious. Serve them with hot cocoa and you will be the star of the show. Happy Holidays!!

Print Recipe

  • Prep time: 40 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour
  • Serves: 12


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Dairy Free Milk
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Dairy Free Butter
  • 2 TBSP. Coconut Oil
  • 1 TBSP. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Cocoa Powder

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 2 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 4 tsp. Dairy Free Milk, I prefer coconut
  • 1 tsp. Peppermint Extract
  • 3/4 Cup Crushed Peppermint Candy


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • 2)

    Boil the 1 cup of water in a sauce pan with 1/2 cup of the sugar for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  • 3)

    With your stand mixer on medium speed, blend the remaining cup of Sugar with the butter and Coconut Oil.

  • 4)

    Add the dairy free milk and cooled water/sugar mixture.

  • 5)

    Turn the mixer on low speed. Add the eggs, Vanilla Extract, sea salt. baking soda, baking powder, Xanthan Gum , Cocoa Powder. and GF all purpose flour.

  • 6)

    Beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until your batter has almost a pudding like consistency.

  • 7)

    Pour into your Cupcake Liners. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • 8)

    Allow to cool completely and then frost with the peppermint buttercream. Top with a Red Bird Peppermint Soft Peppermint Puff. Enjoy!

Peppermint Buttercream

  • 1)

    With a mixer, mix the vegan butter and Shortening for 1 minute.

  • 2)
  • 3)

    Add the powder sugar and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

  • 4)

    Add the dairy free milk, scrape down the sides and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until your buttercream is fluffy.

  • 5)

    Fold in the crushed peppermint candy and mix for 30 seconds, or until all of the peppermint candy is mixed in well.

  • 6)

    Frost the cupcakes as desired and top with a  Red Bird soft peppermint candy puff. Enjoy!


If you plan to pipe the frosting make sure that you crush the peppermint candies very fine. They can get stuck in the piping tips. If you want larger pieces of candy then you can frost them with a knife.

If you like this recipe then you will love all of the recipes in my cookbook! There are over 100 gluten free and dairy free recipes that are simple to make with easy to find ingredients.



You can also get the softcover on amazon prime!



  • jeff

    December 12, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    thiese cupcakes sounds delicious and i am a big fan of cupcakes and red bird peppermint candy too hope i win some,and thanks for the chance

    1. livingfreelygf

      December 12, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Hi Jeff! Thanks for entering. Good luck!

  • karen r

    December 16, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Such beautiful cupcakes – perfect for my office potluck next week – I love how they work for people with most allergies!

    1. livingfreelygf

      December 17, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you! Everyone will love them at the potluck!

  • Angela Melocoton

    December 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I Loooove me some red bird peppermint puffs.

    1. livingfreelygf

      December 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Me too!

  • Brandy

    December 18, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    They look beautiful and delicious 😋!

    1. livingfreelygf

      December 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you Brandy!

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