Gluten-Free Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Gluten-Free Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting -

Woo hoo!  I’m so ready for a long weekend, how about you?  And what a fun weekend it will be with Valentine’s Day in the mix.  Being Sunday, it’s a perfect opportunity for a nice brunch and you should definitely make the Blood Orange Mimosas I shared this week (or if you are Bloody Mary person, I can help you with that too).  Are you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?

My week has been crazy with school conferences, and speaking at a local conference which I loved.  I was able to meet a number of people I’ve worked with online fore.v.e.r. and have never met live!  I told one of them it was like finally meeting a pen-pal at you are assigned in school.  We’ve had a beautiful sunny week though not warm enough for the snow to melt so it’s still wintery.

Gluten-Free Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting -

Can we talk cupcakes?  People love cupcakes it seems.  One of my biggest Pinterest boards is for Cupcake Recipes.  The board has over 1,100 cupcake recipes pinned on it!  Crazy?  And it gets more followers every day.  You should follow it too.  You’ll never run out of inspiration!

I had to share just one more Valentine treat before the holiday: Pink Velvet Cupcakes (gluten-free) with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.  Before I talk about them I have a confession to make though.  Is it really bad that I’m more excited about the return of The Walking Dead starting on Valentine’s Day than I am about the holiday itself?  Don’t judge.  If you too are excited you’ll want to make these Mutilated Zombie Cupcakes I shared at Halloween, really for the start of ‘TWD’(cool kid abbreviation for The Walking Dead) season.

Gluten-Free Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting -

Ok back to Valentine’s Day.  I’ve loved creating from-scratch gluten-free recipes for cupcakes.  It’s not an easy peasy process I’ll share.  Between all the types of gluten-free flours and baking at altitude, it’s a challenge.  This cupcake is essentially a red velvet recipe turned pink.  I’m always intrigued when people talk about really not liking red velvet cake.  Red Velvet is a chocolate cake really dyed red.  It’s a mix of melted chocolate and Dutch powdered chocolate but it tastes great to me.  I used a Wilton Rose color to make the pink color deep, almost purple.  Of course being a chocolate cupcake, the food coloring doesn’t make it a pretty-pretty-princess pink; more a deep, passionate I-love-you-til-the-end-of-time magenta pink.

Gluten-Free Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting -

However, this frosting is to die for.  It is naturally colored pink from the real strawberries (sort of a salmony pink).  I honestly will tell you this may be my favorite frosting I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.  I’m not a huge buttercream frosting fan when buying cakes because it can be stiff and way too sweet for me.  This frosting is made with a homemade strawberry puree that’s super easy to make.  The frosting tastes like a slightly buttery flavored strawberry jam.  It’s irresistible.  These cupcakes will be great all year round not just for Valentine’s Day.  If you make them you have to tell me what you think, especially the frosting!  I hope you’ll be as nuts about it as I am!

Sending you all lots of love on Sunday!  I appreciate you all every single day!  xo

Gluten-Free Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 16 cupcakes

A gluten-free cupcake perfect for Valentine's Day or to make any day a happier one. Light, moist Pink Velvet cupcakes topped with real strawberry buttercream frosting that can't be beat. Chocolate meets strawberry in authentic flavors you'll love.


    Ingredients for the Pink Velvet Cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 Unsweetened Dutch-process Cocoa Powder
  • 1 ¼ cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (I used King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Blend)
  • ¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk, shaken
  • ½ cup Sunflower Oil
  • Pink Food Coloring (I used Wilton’s ‘Rose’)
  • Ingredients for Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen, thawed, Strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 3 cups Confectioner's Sugar


    Instructions for Pink Velvet Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with double cupcake liners. Tip: using 2 liners allows the outer liner to look new and the inner liner to absorb any fats from the baking.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or stove top in a double boiler following the package directions. For the microwave: use a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute at 50% power, stir vigorously and repeat in 10 seconds intervals until melted and silky smooth.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, cocoa powder. Stir to fully combine.
  4. In a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup combine the shaken buttermilk and oil.
  5. In the bowl of a mixer lightly beat together the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the sugar and beat to combine.
  6. Spoon the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl along with some of the flour. Running the mixer on medium speed allow the mixture to combine. Slowly pour some of the liquid mixture into the mixing bowl allowing it to incorporate; continue to alternate the remaining flour and liquid, ending with flour. Add the pink food coloring to create a deep pink tone. Mix until just combined; do not overmix.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and smooth the top of the batter. Bake for 13-17 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then removed from the muffin tin and placed on a cooling rack until fully cooled before frosting.
  8. Instructions for Real Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
  9. Puree strawberries in a blender until smooth (will yield around ¾ cups puree).
  10. Pour the puree into a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Cook until the puree has reduced to ¼ cup; 20-25 minutes. Continue to stir often especially toward the end to ensure the puree does not burn. Remove from the heat and allow to cool fully.
  11. Add the softened butter to the bowl of a standing mixer (or a mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer) and beat the butter on a high setting until it is light and airy. Add 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar and beat over low then medium speed to incorporate.
  12. Add the vanilla extract to the strawberry puree. Pour or spoon half of the puree into the mixing bowl and mix in on low speed.
  13. Add a cup of the confectioner’s sugar to the mixing bowl and mix in first over low and then medium-high speed until incorporated. Add the remaining puree; beat on low speed to fully blend. Add the final cup of confectioner’s sugar; beat on low to medium-high to fully incorporate.
  14. Frosting can be spread onto the cooled cupcakes or chilled for 5-10 minutes and then piped onto the cupcakes using a decorating tip and piping bag.


Frosting recipe adapted from Allrecipes.


  1. says

    My father and I for several weeks, went on a sugar-free diet.
    It was a good purging process and we still presently try to incorporate some principles we learned.
    These cupcakes do seem to look to be a bit more work, but I am sure they are worth it – being gluten-free is so very good!!

    • says

      I agree Beth, make them your own. If you are sensitive to traditional food dye I wonder if you’ve used India Tree Dyes? They are all plant based and beautiful. Candidly it’s difficult to dye chocolate but the beet-based red would be an option to get a pink hue if you were interested.

  2. Colleen Cayes says

    I’m forwarding this to a baker friend in Sequim WA. This frosting, and the outrageous colors in your great photos, deserve to be shared on Puget Sound this weekend. I’m thinking we’ll also make them when we help a friend in Ketchum ID on her moving day coming up – what a memorable treat for all the helpers! And for any occasion to celebrate that strawberries are ripening anywhere in the world that day …

  3. says

    Oh my gosh I’m in dessert heaven! I was searching for a gluten free dessert recipe and am so glad I found this. Will be making these tonight since YAY I have all the ingredients already! Not sure my frosting will look as pretty as yours but I’m sure they won’t mind. Thank you for sharing!

  4. says

    I’m beginning to meet so many people who need gluten-free food. I like this recipe because it looks so tasty and colorful, especially the strawberry buttercream frosting.

    • says

      The statistic that has been pretty firm for the last 10 years is that 1 in 132 people have an issue with gluten, many undiagnosed. I’m not surprised you are running into many people needing a gluten-free diet. These taste gluten-filled but are ‘safe’ for those needing to be gluten-free!

  5. Kim Croisant says

    Oh those look too good to be gluten free. I love to try GF anything. I do bake GF most of the time, so turn out good, some don;t Your cupcakes are so yummy looking.

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