Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

These Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes are fun and delicious to make with a rich chocolatey cupcake, vanilla fluffy buttercream and a hidden cookie dough middle. Make these vegan and gluten-free bakes this the festive season for a fun project.

I just love making these look and feel more festive, so to make the best chocolate cupcakes a little more special this year, how about turning them into Christmas hats? Santa hats, father Christmas hats, whatever you want to call them, these red and white frosted cupcakes are the dream to make and such a fun project for little ones, too.

A Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcake on a small wooden board
Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

Why will I love these cupcakes?

These chocolate cupcakes are:

  • Rich, chocolatey, moist and tender
  • Indulgent and decadent
  • Made with simple ingredients
  • Decorated with red and white vanilla fluffy buttercream
  • Have a hidden cookie dough centre
  • Made with vegan and gluten-free ingredients
  • Naturally nut-free, egg-free and soya-free
  • Easy and fun to make
  • A delicious edible gift for friends and family

If you already love the sound of these cupcakes then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

The cupcake recipe is based on my rich and delicious Chocolate Hazelnut Dipped Cupcakes as it’s a family favourite.

Here’s a reminder of what we need

  • Plant-based milk: any plant milk will be great like oat, almond, coconut or rice.
  • Lemon juice: or apple cider vinegar reacts with the milk to form a buttermilk and bind the cake batter.
  • Coffee powder: this is purely for a richer chocolatey flavour as coffee enhances all things chocolate without tasting like coffee. Use decaf where preferred or leave it out.
  • Caster sugar: this is much finer than other sugars and will result in a smooth batter better for chocolate cake but you could also use golden caster or coconut sugar.
  • Sunflower oil: this provides the moisture and lovely soft texture for the cupcakes. you can also use light sunflower oil.
  • Self-raising flour: for a light and fluffy cupcake. If you need these to be gluten-free, use your preferred gluten-free 1:1 baking flour that contains a gum or thickener like xanthan gum.
  • Bicarbonate of soda and salt: for rise and flavour.
Three Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes with a fork
Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

As for decorating these cupcakes:

  • Vegan butter: block butter as opposed to the spreadable kind is best for buttercream and make sure you leave it out at room temperature for an hour or so to soften.
  • Icing sugar: for the sweetness.
  • Aquafaba: this is the water from a tin of chickpeas and acts similar to egg white so it whips up well and creates a fluffier buttercream. That said, you can use plant-based milk here, too.
  • Vanilla essence: for the flavour.
  • Red food gel: to colour the buttercream, try to use vegan food gel as opposed to liquid. Food gel is more concentrated so you don’t need to use as much and interfere with the consistency of the frosting. The Baking Time Club (info below) have a great range.
  • Mini cookie dough balls or chocolates: these are so good to add to the middle of the cupcakes so that the whole top is not frosting as I personally find that frosting overload! I used the mini cookie dough balls called nugglets from Livia’s, but you can use any small round shaped chocolate truffle.
  • Sprinkles: for decorating. I love the vegan and gluten-free sprinkle range from The Baking Time Club and you can save 20% off everything with code AMY20.

How do I make these?

The method is simple and comes together in a few steps:

  • Whisk the wet ingredients for the cupcakes: until combined.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and whisk again: till smooth.
  • Scoop between 10 large cupcake cases: to about 2/3 to ¾ full and bake for 17-20 minutes till fluffy and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool fully on a wire rack: before frosting.
  • Make the buttercream: by whipping and beating together all the ingredients.
  • Leave some white and colour the rest red: to reach your desired shared of red.
  • Place a cookie dough or chocolate truffle: on top of each cupcake.
  • Pipe the red buttercream all around to make the hat: and add the white fur trim and bobble.
  • Add some sprinkles: and enjoy.
Half eaten Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcake with a fork
Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

Are these gluten-free and nut-free?

Yes, these are easily gluten-free by using gluten-free 1:1 flour and keep these nut-free by using nut-free milk and butter.

How long will they last?

Once made and frosted, these will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge in a sealed container although best eaten at room temperature. To make these in advance, you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to  1 month, wrapped well, and allow to defrost at room temperature.

A half eaten Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcake in a wrapper
Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

What else can I make?

I hope you are going to love these festive cupcakes and for more bakes, how about my:

Half eaten Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcake with a fork

Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

These Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes are fun and delicious to make with a rich chocolatey cupcake, vanilla fluffy buttercream and a hidden cookie dough middle. Make these vegan and gluten-free bakes this the festive season for a fun project.


For the Cupcakes:

  • 240ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coffee powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt

For the Frosting:

  • 200g vegan butter, softened
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 2-3 drops red food gel
  • 10 mini cookie dough balls or small chocolates, optional
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line 10 muffin holes with cases in a tray.
  2. For the cupcakes: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the plant-based milk and lemon juice and leave for 5 minutes. Now whisk in the coffee, sugar and oil. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda and add the salt. Whisk to a smooth batter.
  3. To bake: use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between 10 cases, filling about ¾ full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until springy to touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the tins to cool fully on a wire rack.
  4. To make the buttercream: beat the softened butter using a handheld electric or freestanding mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, aquafaba and vanilla till really light and fluffy.
  5. To colour the buttercream: remove 100g of the frosting to keep white and now beat in 2-3 drops of red food gel to reach your desired colour. Place the white frosting in a small piping bag with a small star shape (or similar) and place the red frosting in a large piping bag with a round nozzle (or other).
  6. To decorate: make a small hole in the top of each cupcake and place the cookie dough ball on top, so it balances. Now pipe all around the cookie dough ball with the red frosting, working your way upwards like a hat. Use the white buttercream to pipe small stars around the hat for the fur trim and top with a small white fur bobble, too. Add some sprinkles, if desired.
  7. To store: enjoy straight away or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days, and best eaten at room temperature. You can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 1 month, wrapped well.

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I look forward to hearing what you think of these Christmas Hat Chocolate Cupcakes so please let me know in the comments below. If you do make these, I’d love to see them so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With Christmas hat love x

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