Dark Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Icing and a Praline Topping

So often when my clients are taking on new dietary considerations to achieve their wellness goals, one of their first fears is that they will no longer be able to partake in celebratory events with family and friends, or at least do so with unadulterated joy, as so many birthdays, anniversaries, parties, and shindigs have food as the delightful main focus. While I’m always down for food to take front and centre in any situation, I first remind them that you certainly can still enjoy the company of others without having to stuff your face full of junk that makes you feel angry, sleepy, groggy, bloated, inflamed…in fact, experiencing any of these ailments would, in my opinion, take away from the celebration at hand would it not?

Secondly, I remind them, that social occasions are the prefect place to try out a new recipe and bring an edible gift. Whether it’s cookies, a cake, or some finger-licking savoury nibbles, everyone appreciates a culinary contribution AND if you have the right recipe, no one will even know if it’s actually better for them than the highly processed packaged crap they might otherwise be serving up.

Enter these incredibly simple, and seriously decadent chocolate cupcakes. Perfect for birthday parties, baby and wedding showers, job promotions, or “just cuz” (I mean do we really need an excuse to eat cupcakes?), this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, refined-sugar-free, and dead easy! Super moist, yet still perfectly buoyant, no one will know they’re not stuffing their face with a disease-inducing processed junk. In fact, they might even like your "magic recipe" better than their usual go-to! A win-win for everyone, and a chance for you to not only attend the party, but also contribute, and of course feel like you can indulge in a treat yourself while you’re there.


 Dark Cocoa Cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Icing and a Praline Topping (grain-free/gluten-free, dairy-free)


Prep time: About 30 minutes

Cook time: About 20 minutes

Makes 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes…



  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil (or unsalted grass-fed butter if you’re not dairy-free)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract



  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin/cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl or in a mixer, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a medium sized bowl combine coconut flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir dry ingredients with a fork to break up any clumps.
  4. Tip: You maybe also want to use a sifter or fine mesh colander and sift these ingredients into the wet.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until thoroughly incorporated and no lumps remain. Add the melted coconut oil to the batter and mix well to combine.
  6. Evenly divvy up the batter between the 12 muffin/cupcake liners, and bake for 20 mins.
  7. You can check if they’re cooked through by inserting a toothpick in the centre. If it comes out with batter all over it, you need to bake them a tad longer. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go!
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wired cooling rack to cool completely before icing.


For the icing…



  • 1 cup coconut oil (or unsalted grass-fed butter if you’re not dairy-free)
  • 1 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 tblsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder



  1. In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the coconut oil and almond butter until light and whipped looking.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup and mix again on high speed until thick and smooth.
  3. While the mixer in running, slowly add in the cocoa powder until thoroughly combined. You may need to stop the mixer periodically and scrape down the sides to ensure it’s mixing properly.
  4. At this point you may want to put the icing in the fridge for a few minutes to set a tad if you’re noticing it’s a bit runny or it’s a hot day. Otherwise divide the icing evenly throughout the 12 cupcakes, smoothing and shaping with a butter or dinner knife.


For the praline topping….


*Note that this is totally optional, and some chocolate shaving, or a sprinkling of unsweetened coconut flakes make great toppings as well!



  • 1 cup chopped raw unsalted pecans
  • 1 tblsp coconut oil (or unsalted grass-fed butter if you’re not dairy-free)
  • 1 tblsp pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt to taste



  1. Heat a small-medium sized pan on medium, and add the coconut oil or butter.
  2. Add the pecans, maple syrup, and sea salt and bring down the heat to low.
  3. Stir frequently, until they just start to brown very slightly.
  4. Turn off the heat, and let sit until the pralines fully cool.
  5. Once cool, break up and crumble them up with a spatula, and sprinkle on top of your cupcakes.