Gluten Free Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes 

10 mins read
Gluten-free Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes

As a family we’ve been leaning towards a more whole foods diet recently, so we were thrilled to come across a new cookbook,  ‘It All Begins With Food’, From Baby’s First Foods to Wholesome Family Meals: Over 120 Delicious Recipes for Clean Eating and Healthy Living by Leah Garrad-Cole (founder of Love Child Organics).  ‘It all begins with food’ has been the Love Child Organics motto, a philosophy that was born of the desire to provide delicious and nutritious foods for babies and children. And like all parents who are concerned about what foods their children are eating, we were thrilled to check this out. 

There’s a great section on baby foods as well as many recipes for the entire family; from superhero breakfasts like roasted Sweet Potato and Blueberry Muffins to Bacon and Apple-Loaded Spelt Pancakes to desserts like Lemon Coconut Macaroon Nests and Gluten Free Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes with Fluffy Coconut Cream Frosting. The book is also beautifully photographed by our friend, Interior and Food photographer, Janis Nicolay.

Today we’re thrilled to share the Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes recipe —perfect for the gluten intolerant or anyone who loves chocolate!  And as a bonus, a Fluffy Coconut Cream Frosting which is both dairy-free and sugar-free and may very well change your life! Check out the recipes below. 

It All Begins With Food Cover

Gluten Free Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes

Perfect for a birthday party or for Valentine’s Day, these moist and light gluten-free cupcakes taste so much like traditional chocolate cupcakes made with white wheat flour that no one will notice the difference. And with a healthy helping of beets and quinoa in these cupcakes, you could make the case that they are nutritious enough to serve for breakfast! You will need a food processor to make this recipe.


3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup peeled, small-dice beets 3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups coconut sugar
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted 1 1/2 tsp ground chia seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/4 tsp pure almond extract 2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 recipe Fluffy Coconut Cream Frosting (recipe below) or check out the book for a reduced sugar buttery Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the cups of a muffin pan with paper liners.
2. Put the quinoa and the beets into a medium-size lidded pot. Pour 1 3/4 cups of water over the beets and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 17 minutes. This is longer than one would normally cook quinoa, but we want it to be extra-soft so it purees to a completely smooth texture. Drain any excess water, then spread the quinoa and beets out on a large plate so that they cool quickly.
3. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, blend the eggs, coconut sugar, coconut oil, chia, vanilla, and almond extract.
4. Once the beets and quinoa are warm but not hot, add them to the mixture and puree very well, until completely smooth.
5. Add the brown rice flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and blend again, for 2–3 minutes until very well blended. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides, then blend again until you’re sure the dry ingredients are very well mixed in. Because there is no gluten in the batter, don’t worry about overmixing. The batter will be thicker than traditional cupcake batter.
6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake papers, filling them almost to the top and smoothing out the surface as best you can.
7. Bake for 28–30 minutes in the middle of the oven. When they’re done, the cupcakes will feel firm and bounce back if you press on the tops with your finger.
8. Once cool enough to handle, take the cupcakes out of the pan and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting with Reduced-Sugar Buttery Cream Cheese Frosting (or Fluffy Coconut Cream Frosting, if you prefer). Freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month, frosted or unfrosted. I like to make them ahead, freeze them, then thaw and frost them as needed.

Fluffy Coconut Cream Frosting

This dairy-free, refined sugar-free frosting may just change your life. It is unbelievably simple to whip up and is ideal if you are concerned about allergies or trying to avoid sugar. You won’t believe how delicious it is! Use this recipe for frosting a baby’s First Birthday Smash Cake (page 227 in the recipe book) or topping practically any dessert either as “frosting” or as a dairy-free whipped cream topping. (Note that you have to chill the coconut milk the day before you plan to make this).


1 (13.5 oz) can full-fat coconut milk (from a BPA-free can)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)

I find that for whatever reason, some brands of coconut milk don’t separate well. Try a few different brands and find one that seems reliable.

1. The day before you plan to make this, place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator.

2. Fifteen minutes before beginning, place the bowl and beaters you will be using in the freezer to chill. A stand mixer or a large bowl and a hand-held mixer will both work just fine.

3. Using a spoon, scoop out the firm coconut cream, which will be at the top of the can and separated from the coconut water at the bottom. Put the cream in the chilled bowl and discard the water (or save it for another use).

4. Beat the coconut cream on high until light and fluffy.

5. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon and beat for another minute or so. I find that natural food coloring made from beets works beautifully here if I am looking for a pink icing (See pages 250-251 of the book and for the pink, below).

Natural Food Coloring —Red/Pink
Chop a quarter of a beet into very small pieces. Put the beet in a small pot and just cover it with water. Simmer gently for approximately 3 minutes. Pour the beet and water into a fine sieve or some sheets of cheesecloth with a bowl underneath and press out as much moisture as possible into the bowl. Presto—red food coloring. Add to the icing 1/4 teaspoon at a time until you get the hue and consistency you need.

It All Begins With Food
From Baby’s First Foods to Wholesome Family Meals: Over 120 Delicious Recipes for Clean Eating and Healthy Living
By Leah Garrad-Cole
Available through Random House (penguinrandomhouse.ca)

About the Author
Leah Garrad-Cole is the founder of the highly successful Love Child Organics brand of baby and children’s foods. An entrepreneur, mother, and formal special education teacher, Leah currently resides in Whistler, BC with her husband and two young children.


About the Photographer
Janis Nicolay is a shelter, lifestyle and food photographer, shooting for over ten years. Her work has been published in national and international magazines, including House & Home, Style at Home, Travel & Leisure and Vogue Living Australia. She lives in Vancouver with her husband, Robert.


Jan Halvarson

Jan founded Poppytalk in 2005 while a student at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now ECU) to catalogue inspiration from typography to interior design. Since then she’s collaborated with Target (creating a limited edition glamping collection), a wallpaper collection with Milton & King, as well has written as a contributor at Wired, Martha Stewart and Huffington Post.