Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Chocolate Spiders!

So, I know this post is a tad too late for Halloween. But, I did make a Halloween themed cupcake!

I decided on gluten-free again because I was spending Halloween weekend with my best friend, Sheva, who has a gluten intolerance. Now, remember, you can make these with regular flour and the consistency will probably be a little bit better. And, truthfully, this was not my original idea for my Halloween cupcakes, I was thinking of making an actual web with spun sugar [it was going to be SO cool], but I ended up not having enough time to do all of it. But, I will bring it up at some point. I really want to start getting better at spun sugar because I think it is a really beautiful way to decorate desserts.

Okay, so preheat oven to 350. Then, I mixed my dry and wet ingredients separately. Then combined them together. For my gluten free flour I used half rice flour and half potato flour and a 1 tsp of xanthan gum for every cup of flour that the recipe called for. For more on gluten free and its chemistry you can look at my previous gluten free post. So we have our batter:

I filled my cupcake tin 2/3 of the way and then placed in the oven. While I was waiting for my cupcakes to bake I shelled and crushed a bunch of walnuts for part of my garnish.

So, you bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Till they look like this!

When they first come out of the oven they are really cute and puffed up like this:

But, then, cuz of the gluten free flour, they lose their puff once they cool down. Like so:

But, never fret, they are still yummy. So while they cooled down I started working on my brown sugar buttercream. It’s the same as my standard go to Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe that I first learned from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book. But, instead of regular sugar, I use brown sugar. It gives it that delicious caramel-y flavor.

Then, for the really fun part. I made little chocolate spiders. I melted a bag of chocolate melts and with the second to the smallest tip I had, I made medium sized dots on parchment paper, then I grabbed my smallest tip and piped on 8 legs for the dots.

CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE. I had some chocolate melts left over so I piped on a web-like thing on top of my cupcakes to add a little bit of a crunch texture when people bit into them.

Then to plop on that yummy frosting, garnish with some of the walnuts [if you’d like] and decorate with the spooky spiders 🙂

They were really fun to make and a really nice mix of textures in your mouth! :p


GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES (you can substitute regular flour to make then non gluten free)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour [GLUTEN FREE VERSION: I c rice flour, 1 c potato flour, 2 tsp xanthan gum]
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  • Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.


  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  • Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  • With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

    • Drizzle chocolate onto cupcakes
    • Pipe on buttercream
    • Sprinkle walnuts on top
    • Decorate with spiders
    • Enjoy

    Hope you guys all had a spooky Halloween!




    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google photo

    You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s