Chocolate and Vanilla Grain-Free Birthday Cupcakes

We had quite the debate on Facebook the other day. It was the day of my birth, 27 years later, and I needed to make an important decision — what flavor would my birthday cupcakes be?

I proposed either vanilla with raspberry frosting, or chocolate with caramel. It was suggested I make all of the above, but one reader’s suggestion of making both vanilla and chocolate with the raspberry frosting, because raspberry would go well with chocolate too, sounded especially appealing to me.

And so it was decided. Both chocolate and vanilla. Birthdays are not the time to be making stressful decisions, after all.

Grain-Free, GAPS-Legal Cupcake Duo (Both Vanilla and Chocolate!)

You’ll Need:



First, I want to explain something. I omitted baking soda from this recipe because Dr. Natasha used to say that us GAPS folk shouldn’t be consuming it at all due to issues with alkalizing stomach acid, but in the most recent list of foods to avoid in the GAPS book, it says pure baking soda is okay, but baking powder isn’t, due to it being laced with corn starch. Still, baking soda isn’t the best thing for a healing gut, so I’m going to plan on limiting it as much as I can. I thought I’d try to avoid it entirely with something I wanted to be light and fluffy, to see how it goes.

All that to say, if you’re not going to use baking soda, you better plan on beating the ever-loving crap out of your eggs. Whisking by hand just won’t do. Get in there with either a stick blender, or use a stand mixer on high, to get the eggs to at least double in volume in the bowl. You can mix in the salt and vanilla at this point, too. Then, add the honey, butter, and coconut milk.

Now, coconut flour is kind of a tricky thing. It sucks up moisture like you wouldn’t believe… but it takes a little bit of time. So, add in about a half a cup of the flour, and mix it really well so it’s smooth. Again, a good mixer or stick blender is great for this, cause any batter with coconut flour can get real lumpy in a hurry.

Let it sit for a minute, then mix some more. See how it’s thickened up? Keep adding flour slowly, allowing time for it to set in, until you get to a good cake batter consistency. It’ll vary based on the size of your eggs, I would imagine. For me, it took a little less than a full cup. That would be a scant cup. The things I learn from my old-fashioned cookbooks!

Now, we’ll use half of this batter for the vanilla cupcakes. If I had them, and weren’t so lazy, I would have split the batter into two bowls, and added some real vanilla scraped from a bean to the vanilla batch, to make it more flavorful. But I didn’t. I just spooned out half the batter into six of the twelve cupcake spots in my tin, then made the remaining into my chocolate batch.

For the chocolate batter, add in the cocoa powder and nibs. I wasn’t too sure about those nibs. I had tasted a nib or two plain right after I bought them, absolutely hated them, and was bummed that I had a bag of nasty, bitter cacao crunchies I had no clue what to do with. But, with some encouragement from my peeps, I thought I’d at least put them in a recipe. So in they went to my chocolate cupcakes!

Bake at 350 until they set and a toothpick comes out clean. I think for my oven this was about a half an hour.

And that’s it! Birthday cupcakes, both vanilla and chocolate, ready to frost.

I did end up liking the nibs just fine in the cupcakes! PH said the chocolate ones tasted like brownies. Yum!

The Raspberry Topping I Made

I’d call it “Raspberry Frosting” except… well… it didn’t turn out very frosting-like. If I were to make it again, I’d just make a standard buttercream, and ditch the egg whites. I thought that would make it fluffier. It just ended up making it a weird gloppy mess. Or maybe it was the berries that turned the whole thing too wet.

Even though it wasn’t much to look at, it still tasted pretty good. So, I thought I’d include instructions to make the raspberry slop if you feel so inclined to recreate it.


  • 1 egg, separated (Um… I don’t know if I recommend this.)
  • 1/2 cup very soft butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (I used frozen)

First I whipped up the white of the egg until it was at soft peak stage. Then I added in the rest, and mixed well. Except, it didn’t mix very well. It looked like little granules of butter were separating from the wetness of the eggs and the berries. But I know berries can mix into butter just fine, so next time, I’m just going to cream/whip the butter with the berries, then add some honey and call it good. I bet it’ll work.

Are you on a grain-free diet?

What kind of treats to you make for special occasions like birthdays? Share in the comments below!



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15 Responses to Chocolate and Vanilla Grain-Free Birthday Cupcakes
  1. Bethany says:

    Another good idea that I’ve used for frosting is coconut oil whipped with whatever you want to flavor it. I’ve used lemon & honey and cinnamon and honey, but I’m sure you could use raspberries. Seriously though, if you whip coconut oil it gets super fluffy and light…perfect frosting.

  2. Happy belated birthday! I hope you enjoyed your cupcakes; they look delicious!

    One of my favorite toppings for chocolate cupcakes is whipped coconut cream. I just add a bit of vanilla and honey. So, so good! I think it tastes just like whipped cream. Now granted, I haven’t had actual whipped cream in 6 years or so, but it seems pretty similar to me.

  3. Evie says:

    Happy Birthday!…a few days late. These cupcakes look dee-lish! Funnily enough, I just celebrated my own birthday on Thursday and made a yummy GAPS Intro-legal carrot cake. 😀 These look way yummier! You are so rad!

  4. […] I made cupcakes the other day, Pre-Husband was all about the chocolate ones. But he wanted to eat them without my […]

  5. […] special GAPS legal treat for her birthday party sleepover and our friend Butter Believer’s Vanilla Grain-Free Birthday Cupcakes looked like just the ticket. She put her berries in the frosting, which she says turned out a […]

  6. Erin says:

    I know its rather too late to be useful now but that frosting just looks like it needs to be mixed longer. I don’t know for sure of course but when making a French buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream that look has resulted in many beginners throwing it out as a failed batch when just continuing to beat the ever-loving-snot out of it will make it come together like magic.

    I’m on day 4 of GAPS intro and found your blog while looking for some support. I can’t wait until I can make myself a cupcake loaded with real buttercream…

  7. what is GAPS says:

    just started a grain free, sugar free diet, not sure of some of these other terms?? pls. let me know!! i know about acid alkaline (big komubcha drinker?), but not sure about the terms~

    terri in vt.

  8. I just made these and they are AWESOME. The BEST coconut cupcakes I have made (the third recipe I have tried in the last two days). I don’t have an immersion blender or a good mixer so I spent a good 10 minutes whisking the eggs but these are amazing. Thank you so much! I will be sharing with my readers!

  9. Steph says:

    OK. I made these for the Mister’s birthday tonight and they are SO GOOD. Your tip about beating the eggs ’til they beg for mercy was much appreciated! As was the bit about letting the batter rest for a bit while first dose of coconut flour absorbs liquid. OH and mixing the coco powder into the second half? Genius. My kids helped me make a tasty buttercream frosting that was not overly sweet and complimented these quite nicely! I have a question though, Mine really stuck to the paper liners. We were happy to nibble the stuck parts off but I’m just wondering where I went wrong. Too much flour? Not enough fat/butter? Over cooked? Any ideas? I will be making these again …. sooner rather than later! Thanks for a great recipe! Steph

  10. Alycia says:

    Hey, I only followed this link because I immediately recognized the frosting separation and I wanted to help. It’s the water content in the berries, for sure. Start with the same amount of berries, and reduce them significantly by simmering them on the stove and allowing them to cool before adding them in. The thicker the better!
    I had the same problem long ago and was pretty much stumped about what to do, but I’ve since gone to culinary school and just wanted to pass it on. :)
    Hope I helped.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Oh you are awesome! Thank you for the tips!! I think I might actually try a berry frosting again now — was a little scared off after this! 😀

  11. Teresa says:

    If we do use baking soda in this recipe, how much should we use?

  12. Nancy says:

    Hmmmm….I love your description of beating the ever loving crap out of the eggs. Thought that was hysterical. Wondering though if the cupcakes would fluff up by separating eggs and using the yolks to mix into the coconut flour and other stuff, and then folding the whites in (or is it fold the batter into the whites). Ehhh….probably too much to mess with. GAPS is difficult enough as is without complicating things even more!

  13. Khara says:

    Wow… made these tonight for my son’s 2nd birthday and they were super yummy, in spite of a mishap with my mixer. (The butter would not mix in at that late stage…what do you suggest? Apparently turning it up to high was not the right answer. I lost half my batter. One more good reason to bake with PJs on.) I ended up taking out the chunks and melting it on low on the stove. Surprising, they still came out great. The frosting, however, I couldn’t get right. I left the egg out, but it still didn’t blend well. Used my KitchenAid, then beaters, then back in the KichenAid. I eventually put in a little coconut flour. I don’t recommend that. It was ok, but would love to know if you found another way. I’m going to put some chocolate frosting on a couple of the vanilla cupcakes. Thanks for the great recipe!!

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