Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

These Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes are rich, chocolatey and indulgent packed with warming festive spices, a dark chocolate ganache and a gingerbread cream cheese buttercream they are also vegan and gluten-free.

I have loved all the gingerbread bakes this year and before Christmas comes, I have these delicious cupcakes to share. They combine my love for all things chocolate with warming cosy spices and the cutest mini gingerbread cookies all with a delicious whipped buttercream. Make these for a fun baking project with little ones or for a showstopper yet easy dessert at festive parties.

One Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcake on a wooden plate
Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

Why will I love these bars?

These cupcakes truly are so delicious, they are:

  • Rich, chocolatey and indulgent
  • Warmingly spiced with gingerbread flavours
  • Easy to make in one bowl
  • Topped with a cream cheese gingerbread buttercream
  • Filled with dark chocolate ganache
  • Made with plant-based simple ingredients
  • Naturally vegan and easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • Great to make with little ones
  • A fantastic dessert for celebrations

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

What ingredients do I need?

These cupcakes are a mix of:

  • Plant-based milk: use your favourite dairy-free milk like oat, almond or coconut.
  • Lemon juice: or you can use apple cider vinegar. Then, when mixed with the milk, this curdles the milk, forming a buttermilk which binds the batter.
  • Sunflower or olive oil: or another neutral, light liquid oil. You can use melted and cooled coconut oil but I think the texture is better with olive oil.
  • Coconut or caster sugar: for sweetness.
  • Thick coconut yoghurt: or use another dairy-free yoghurt as long as it is thick and creamy like a Greek-style yoghurt.
  • Plain or gluten-free plain flour: keeps these cupcake light, moist and fluffy. If you are making these gluten-free, be sure to use your preferred gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthan gum to bind the batter. In the UK we have Freee Foods or Bob’s Red Mill in the USA.
  • Cocoa powder: for the chocolatey goodness. Cocoa powder over cacao powder is preferable here as it is more acidic and results in a better textured cupcake. Make sure the cocoa powder is 100% cocoa like Divine Chocolate.
  • Baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt: for rise and flavour.
  • Gingerbread spices: ginger, cinnamon, mixed spices and nutmeg.
  • Coffee: this adds so much richness and depth of flavour to chocolate bakes without tasting at all like coffee. You can use decaf too, as it’s only for the richness, and it may seem strange to add this at the end with the hot water, but it works perfectly. The hot water mix allows the cocoa powder to bloom and have a lovely rich flavour. I love to also use brewed coffee from Exhale Coffee which is amazing, packed with anti-oxidants and other benefits. You can get a free bag with code AMYFREE.
  • Dark chocolate: chop up some chocolate really small for inside the cupcakes or you can use chocolate chips.
A Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcake with a little gingerbread cookie
Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

As for the frosting and the ganache middle we need:

  • Dark chocolate: as above, use your favourite chocolate.
  • Runny smooth hazelnut butter: hazelnut butter is the ultimate to use here as it tastes like Nutella when mixed with the chocolate but you can use other nut or seed butter like tahini (for a nut-free middle) or cashew butter.
  • Vegan butter: allow the butter to rest at room temperature so that it softens and creates a lovely smooth and fluffy buttercream. Make sure this is the block butter and not the spreadable kind.
  • Vegan cream cheese: I like NUSH or Violife in the UK for a delicious cream cheese frosting. Make sure this is room temperature so that the buttercream doesn’t split.
  • Icing sugar: for the frosting.
  • Gingerbread spices: as above to add some warming spices.
  • Gingerbread cookies: for decoration I use my favourite Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.
A half eaten Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcake on a wire racl
Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

How do I make them?

These cupcakes come together in a few simple steps:

  • Whisk together the wet ingredients: till smooth.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients: and whisk one or twice but stop while there are still streaks of flour.
  • Add in the hot coffee: and whisk again till smooth.
  • Divide the batter between the cases: filling 2/3 full.
  • Bake until risen and fluffy: about 18-19 minutes and then allow to cool fully out of the tin.
  • Make the ganache middle: stir together the melted chocolate and nut butter and allow to rest and thicken.
  • Beat together all the ingredients for the buttercream: till really fluffy and light.
  • Core the cupcakes and fill with the buttercream: placing the cake back on top.
  • Pipe on the gingerbread buttercream: and decorate with sprinkles and gingerbread cookies.

Are these gluten-free and nut-free?

Yes, these are easily gluten-free if you use your preferred 1:1 baking blend of flour. To make them nut-free, make sure your chocolate, butter and cream cheese are free from nuts and use seed butter like tahini for the ganache middle.

How long will they last?

Keep these cupcakes in a sealed container for 3-5 days. They are best kept in the fridge overnight but rest at room temperature for an hour before eating.

A Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcake with a spoon
Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

What else can I make?

If you are looking for more festive bake ideas, how about my:

A bitten Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcake with a chocolate middle

Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes

These Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes are rich, chocolatey and indulgent packed with warming festive spices, a dark chocolate ganache and a gingerbread cream cheese buttercream they are also vegan and gluten-free.


For the Cupcakes:

  • 160ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml sunflower or olive oil
  • 200g coconut or caster sugar
  • 90g thick coconut or other dairy-free yoghurt
  • 210g plain or gluten-free plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Gingerbread spices: 1 tsp ground ginger + ½ tsp cinnamon + ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp coffee in 150ml hot water
  • 80g dark chocolate, chopped very small

For the Ganache Middle:

  • 140g dark chocolate, chopped small
  • 100g runny smooth hazelnut butter

For the Cream Cheese Buttercream:

  • 80g vegan butter, room temperature
  • 70g vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • 400-450g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp plant-based milk
  • Gingerbread spices: ½ tsp ground ginger + ¼ tsp cinnamon + ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 12 mini gingerbread biscuits
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line a muffin tin with 12 cases.
  2. For the cupcakes: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon juice, oil, sugar and yoghurt till smooth. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add in the gingerbread spices and the salt and begin to whisk the mix. While there are still lots of specks of flour, pour in the coffee and whisk till smooth. Stop mixing when all the flour has been mixed in, do not overmix. Fold in the chopped chocolate and divide between the cases, filling them ¾ full.
  3. To bake: place in the middle of the oven for 18-19 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and they are nicely risen.
  4. To cool: carefully remove immediately from the tin and allow to cool fully on a wire rack.
  5. Prepare the ganache: melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and then stir in the hazelnut butter till smooth. Allow the mix to thicken for 20-30 minutes till glossy but pourable. If it thickens too much, warm it in the microwave for 10 second intervals or if it’s too runny, pop the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  6. For the cream cheese buttercream: add the butter and cream cheese to a bowl and beat till smooth and combined. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, milk and gingerbread spices till thick, luscious and smooth. Continue to beat for 2 minutes till really whipped and airy. Place in a piping bag with a star-shaped (or other) nozzle.
  7. To decorate and fill: core the cupcakes and fill with the chocolate ganache. Pipe on the cream cheese buttercream and decorate with mini gingerbread and sprinkles.
  8. To store: enjoy straight away or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to 1 month, wrapped well, and allow to defrost before filling and decorating.

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I look forward to hearing what you think of these Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make these cupcakes, I’d love to see 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 choc gingerbread love x

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