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Mocha Italian Espresso Cupcakes



Recipe from Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-Free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery by Debbie Adler. Reprinted courtesy of Harlequin.


  • 12 standard-size paper baking cups
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened plain rice milk
  • 1/4 cup black coffee (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (see page 13 of Debbie’s book for blend mix)
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sodium-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon stevia powder
  • 1/3 cup vegan, soy-free plain yogurt

Espresso Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
  • 2 cups powdered erythritol
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a standard 12-cup cupcake tin with paper baking cups.
  2. To make the cupcakes, mix together the rice milk, coffee and apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup.
  3. Whisk together the flour, espresso powder, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, guar gum and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
  4. Add the grapeseed oil, coconut nectar, vanilla and stevia to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Next add the rice milk–coffee mixture and stir until it is absorbed and the batter is smooth. Stir in the yogurt until well combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the measuring cup, as the spout will make it easier to pour the batter into the cupcake tin without spillage.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tin, dividing it evenly. Each cup should be about two-thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for 16 to 17 minutes, or until they bounce back slightly to the touch. Rotate the cupcake tin from front to back after 10 minutes of baking.
  7. Transfer the cupcake tin from the oven to a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes to cool completely.
  8. To make the espresso frosting, mix together the coconut oil and coconut nectar in a medium-size bowl. Add the powdered erythritol, hot water, espresso powder and salt and stir until smooth and well combined.
  9. Frost the completely cooled cupcakes.


Keep unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months. Leftover frosting keeps in the fridge for about 4 weeks if stored in an airtight container.