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Gluten-Free Almond Sorghum Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe

by Jeanette on October 9, 2013 · 30 Comments
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These Gluten-Free Almond Sorghum Pumpkin Cupcakes will satisfy any sweet tooth with the added plus of being a little bit healthier.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcake

A few weeks ago, my youngest son invited a friend over after school and I wanted to make something extra special for them as an afternoon treat. I don’t bake very often, but when Fall comes around, I love making pumpkin bread and muffins.

Recently, one of my friends made a Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting for my birthday. I loved the combination of pumpkin and maple, so fall-like. So, when I spotted some cute Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting on my friend Kate’s Diethood blog, I knew I needed to try making a gluten-free version for my kids.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcake

I’m always looking for ways to make treats a bit healthier, so in the case of these pumpkin cupcakes, I used a mixture of gluten-free flours — almond flour and Sweet Sorghum Flour
(a whole grain flour) — in place of regular all-purpose flour. I also reduced the amount of oil in the recipe by swapping in applesauce for half the oil. This is a great trick that I use in quick breads all the time. Although the middles didn’t rise as much as regular cupcakes, no one will notice once they’re frosted.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcake

I thought about making a healthier frosting using Greek yogurt, but decided against it because I didn’t think the yogurt would hold up. So, I indulged the kids with Maple Frosting on top, using low-fat cream cheese in place of full-fat cream cheese (I used 2 teaspoons maple syrup for extra maple flavor) to lighten up the frosting a bit. The kids were thrilled to have a sweet treat, and I felt good that these pumpkin cupcakes were actually on the healthier side. I managed to keep a few for my girlfriend and her family (the one had made my pumpkin birthday cake). They loved these gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes, and couldn’t believe they were actually on the healthier side.

I just participated in a Google+ Hangout on Sorghum. Check out this video to learn more about cooking with sorghum.

5 from 1 reviews
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Ice with your favorite frosting if desired.
Serves: 12
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup sweet sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together almond flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin puree, applesauce, sugar, olive oil and vanilla extract. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix well. Portion into a 12-cup cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
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  1. Jeanette, these look gorgeous! I too love the combination of pumpkin and maple and, like you, enjoy playing around with healthier combinations of sweets. Bet your boys loved these. I have no problem with naturally occurring fats – the dollop of cream cheese looks delightful. Happy belated birthday!

  2. Wow, quite a unique recipe. Really does help some of us with certain food intolerances and allergies to enjoy. Always looking for tasty treats, this one I can put in the kids luch boxes and be satisfied that they are getting a lovely, healthy snack:)

    • Thanks Libby – my kids loved these. I just made another batch yesterday and they are in the fridge for special treats.

  3. Thanks Kelly – I always love seeing healthier sweets that you make too. Thanks for the belated b-day wishes!

  4. Beautiful gluten-free cupcakes, Jeanette! I’m with Kelly above…I have no problem with natural fats that are good for us…even saturated fats where there is much debate. Usually (as you know), low-fat foods often have sugary high-glycemic fillers, so checking food labels is important for those who need to watch those sugar grams per serving. Thanks for sharing! Pinning!

  5. These cupcakes look wonderful! I love pumpkin desserts especially during this time of year and love that these are gluten-free too! Pinning to make for my family Thanksgiving dinner :) Thanks for sharing Jeanette :)

  6. how is sugary applesauce healthier than fats like pastured butter or coconut oil?

    • Andrea, my philosophy of cooking is to use less saturated fat for cholesterol reasons, so I used applesauce as a way to reduce the amount of fat and calories.

  7. These sound delicious!!

  8. What a coincidence Jeanette, I just finished seiving sorghum for testing a recipe and open the blog and see your perfect little muffins. Love your unique and healthy recipes. Can’t wait to try these. I enjoy working with whole grain flours, they are quite filling and filled with nutrients.

  9. Heather S says:

    Jeanette-these look yummy! Would coconut sugar work in place of the sugar?

    • Thanks Heather – yes coconut sugar would work great – especially in these cupcakes since the batter is already dark.

  10. What gorgeously creative little cupcakes these are! LOVE them.

  11. These look lovely! I love finding healthier gluten free recipes. Exactly the sort of recipe that I’m attempting to create myself.

  12. Hi Jeanette, I just made these and they are dangerously delicious. I must be sure and give some away before I eat them all. I used roasted Orange Kabocha squash that I got at the farmer’s market instead of pumpkin and it worked well. Thank you.

    • Marry – so glad you had a chance to try this recipe. Yes, these cupcakes are dangerously delicious! Love the idea of using kabocha squash instead of pumpkin. I used the same recipe and used ripe bananas and the kids loved those too.

  13. How would I substitute the almond flour for coconut flour since they are different? & could sub sorghum flour with oat flour? Since I don’t have that on hand? How much sugar would I use if I used agave instead? Would it mess up the whole recipe with any of these replacements? Oh and could I do coconut oil instead of olive oil? Thank You in advance. :)

    • Hi Natalie, coconut flour works very differently than most gluten-free flours. You might want to read through this post on tips on baking with coconut flour before trying it: http://jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2013/03/12-tips-for-baking-with-coconut-flour.html
      For best results, coconut flour should make up no more than 20% of the total flour mix. You will need to increase the liquid and/or fat combination by about 20%. You should be able to substitute oat flour for sorghum flour no problem.

      Typically, when baking with agave, you can use 1/3 less agave than sugar in a recipe and reduce the amount of liquid (general rule of thumb: for every 1 cup of sugar, use 2/3 cup agave and 1/4 cup less liquid). You should be able to substitute coconut oil in place of olive oil, although it might have a “greasier” feel to it as coconut oil is heavier than olive oil.

      So, I would suggest using either 100% oat flour (and agave if you wish, just reduce the amount of liquid/oil) to keep things simpler, or if you want to use some coconut flour, use just a little bit. Since coconut flour absorbs liquids/fats readily, if you use agave, you might not have to reduce the amount of liquid. Let me know if you try this and how it turns out. Baking is really more of a science than cooking, and can be tricky when you change things up.

  14. I loved the fact that you are trying to make a healthy treat. I am trying to learn how to bake gluten-free and egg-free due to my 4 year old grandson’s allergies. I tried the recipe twice but wasn’t successful. The flavor is delicious but each time the cupcakes didn’t rise, leaving a deep depression in the middle. Is it the egg substitute I used? The first time I used 1 tablespoon of flax meal to 3 tablespoons of water for each egg. The second time I used the flax mix for one egg and for the second I used a substitute I found on a website, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 oz. of apple cider vinegar. I had the same result both times. Also, I usually look for recipes that give the flour in weight and wondered if I’m using an incorrect amount. Could that be the problem? I used 84 grams of almond flour and 34 grams of sorghum flour based on what I read on the labels. I hope you can help as this tastes great! Thank you!

    • Hi Deb, baking without eggs is tricky as egg provides structure to the cupcake. Even with the eggs in this recipe, mine had a little depression in the middle but since I frosted them, it covered it up fine. I just weighed out the almond flour and sorghum flour I used. It comes out to about 60 grams almond flour and 26 grams sorghum flour. Quick breads (muffins) seem to work better without eggs than cupcakes where you want a lighter texture. I’ll check and see if there’s a way to make this cupcake recipe without eggs.

  15. Thank you so much for your help!

  16. I am new to this gluten-free thing and it’s difficult to find recipes that are appealing and where the ingredients are easy to find. I served these at a woman’s gathering and they were a big hit! I was wondering if you have ever tried to bake this recipe in a 8 x 8 or 9 x 13 (double recipe) pan and what the length of cooking time would be. I actually am thinking of doing this for Thanksgiving! Thanks for any input you might have.

    • Valerie,so glad you enjoyed these! I don’t know if this would work in a pan as the center sinks a bit. I haven’t had a chance to try it but if you add more sorghum flour that might help the cake rise more.

  17. I LOVE these cupcakes! I am not a fan of pumpkin and I really like these. I am an ex pastry chef and I am a very good gluten free baker and I am so happy to have found this recipe. I never look for any because I come up with them myself all the time. For whatever reason, this year for my sons birthday party I needed some help. I found this recipe and tried it. I absolutely love them….I think i said that already. :-) Thank you Jeanette for a wonderful treat.

    • Hi Shakti, so glad you liked these cupcakes and were able to make them for your son’s birthday party! My kids love these too and so have my friends. Thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out. Be well.

  18. I love that you used sweet sorghum flour. . I only just discovered it!! delicious!

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