Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes Made With Garbanzo Bean Flour – My Best Gluten-Free Cupcakes To Date | Cupcake Project

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes Made With Garbanzo Bean Flour – My Best Gluten-Free Cupcakes To Date

Ignoring the sweet and salty roasted chickpeas on top, these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes made with garbanzo bean flour and frosted with chocolate hummus are indistinguishable from the chocolate birthday cupcakes that you’ve had a thousand times – with the smell of smoke still lingering in the air from recently made wishes for ponies and Disney vacations.  The rich chocolate frosting (a step up from the typical turn-your-mouth-blue-“butter”cream) might give partygoers a small hint that something was different, but it’s unlikely that they would think about it any longer than the birthday girl did to rip open the princess outfit she’d been waiting for.  These gluten-free cupcakes aren’t special or spicy, and they don’t have a unique earthy finish; they taste like classic all-American chocolate birthday cake. Sometimes, gluten-free or not, that’s just what you want.

Tips on Baking with Garbanzo Bean Flour

These gluten-free chocolate cupcakes all started with an email from reader and Facebook fan Beth Davis.  She asked if I had any recipes using garbanzo bean flour.  I didn’t, but I sure was up to the challenge!

Garbanzo bean flour is a common ingredient in Indian food, where it is called besan flour.  I found a very helpful article by Kay Miranda on on baking with besan flour that I used in creating my recipe.  The article explains that besan flour leads to heavier cakes than all-purpose flour and suggests some ways to compensate:

  1. “Sift the flour twice before adding it to any baking recipe to increase air surrounding the flour. This incorporates more air into the recipe, making lighter baked goods.”
  2. “Increase 1 tsp. of baking soda to 1 1/2. This helps create lighter texture with the soda bubbling through cooking.”

Even if you don’t use my recipe, I hope that you’ll find these tips helpful if you choose to convert your own recipe to gluten-free with garbanzo bean flour.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

My only complaint about this gluten-free chocolate cupcake recipe is that the cupcakes didn’t dome (some even sunk a bit after cooling) and the ones that I filled too high got thin, crusty tops.  I believe that this happened because they were too light to support the weight of a dome (see my FAQ on collapsing cupcakes).  I was willing to deal with a few fallen cupcakes for the sake of such a light gluten-free cake.  No one will ever see the top of the cupcakes anyway since they will be slathered in frosting.  To ensure that your cupcakes don’t overflow, be sure to only fill the liners halfway.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes Made With Garbanzo Bean Flour – My Best Gluten-Free Cupcakes To Date

Yield: About 30 cupcakes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes Made With Garbanzo Bean Flour – My Best Gluten-Free Cupcakes To Date


  • 2 3/4 cups garbanzo bean flour, sifted twice
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Mix in eggs, vanilla, olive oil, and milk until just combined.
  3. Mix in water.
  4. Fill cupcake liners just halfway.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until the top bounces back when lightly touched.


Chocolate Hummus Frosting and Roasted Chickpea Topper

You can frost these cupcakes with any of your favorite frostings. However, for extra chickpea fun, I highly recommend frosting with chocolate hummus and topping with roasted chickpeas just before serving.


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44 Responses to Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes Made With Garbanzo Bean Flour – My Best Gluten-Free Cupcakes To Date

  1. Zibu July 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Thanks for the tips on using chickpea flour! I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more fiber and protein so this is great.

    I do have a small question – in your recipe you 2 3/4c. flour, sifted twice – do you mean we are measuring it first and then sifting twice (as this will greatly affect the final volume of flour, I want to be double sure that I am interpreting it correctly)?

    I’m a big fan of weighing as much as possible to avoid confusion and excessive cup-washing!

  2. Stef July 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I measured first and then sifted. Sorry for any confusion.

  3. Stef July 8, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    Zibu – I hope that you didn’t try to make this yet. I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that I left the boiling water out of the recipe. I just added it.

  4. cupsbykim July 8, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Would it work to use another type of gluten free flour? I’m struggling finding it in stores and I’d like to make these this weekend. Can I use oat flour instead? Any tips/ suggestions?

  5. Deb July 8, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    As long as your going gluten-free–go the whole way and use the HimalaSalt pink salt from Sustainable Sourcing (here’s their website: ). They have their own facility, so no danger of nasty cross-contamination!! Gotta love THAT!

    Anyway, thanks for an absolutely delightful recipe.

  6. Robyn July 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I’m going to share these with a friend who has a gluten-sensitive child. They sound delicious!

  7. Stephanie July 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    This is great, I have a friend who’s daughter is on a gluten casein free diet. I’m always looking for ways to bake for her and have it taste good. I can’t wait to try this, with one minor alteration to get rid of the milk.

  8. Deidre July 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm #


    I’ve recently had a break through with gluten free baking about using sourcream instead of milk – it’s made my gluten free cakes super moist and delicious instead of really dry like most gluten free baking I’ve tried. Thoughts?

  9. Kristi January 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    I just bought some garbanzo bean flour for the first time, and this is the recipe I’m going to try out! Looks so so good! :)

  10. Brittany February 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Have you ever tried an egg substitute with these?

  11. Janice B. February 15, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Do you have any more ideas for cupcakes using Garbonzo bean flour?
    Made these for a co-worker with Celiac and she loved them, but would like to make some other flavors.

  12. Ashley Cunningham March 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    A little late to this post but I’m trying these tonight (for our grain-free dog actually). I used carob instead of chocolate and reduced the sugar. My question is about the batter. How thick/thin is it? Mine was thick brownie consistency before the water and very thin after. I did scrape the bowl to make sure the mixer mixed it all in. These are in the oven now so I’ll see how they turned out!

    • Stef March 21, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      What did you think? Did your doggie love them? I’d love to see a pic of him/her eating them!

  13. Amy March 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Do you think I can substitue Almond Milk for the whole milk? I need to make this Dairy Free as well. Can wait to try it though!

    • Stef March 21, 2012 at 11:21 am #


  14. Unknown April 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I made these last night and they turned out really good! They were best warm and dried out quickly. However I put them in a sealed container overnight and they moistened up again. I also made a glaze with Dutch cocoa powder, water and honey and would frost them warm next time.
    I also substituted coconut milk for the whole milk.

    I have two questions:
    1. What is the purpose of the boiling water added last? Does it do something to the chickpea flour?
    2. Did you happen to experiment with adding the water directly to the flour and letting it soak for an hour or two and then add that to the rest of the ingredients? I ask this question because I make another recipe using chickpea flour where I soak the flour for two hours, skim off any foam and then proceed on. It is not a dessert recipe however.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Stef May 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      Interesting idea about soaking the flour – no, I’ve not tried that. Lots of chocolate cake recipes use boiled water. Here’s a good discussion on it. Be sure to read the comments:

  15. Alison May 11, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I made these with coconut milk- they were great!

  16. Anonymous May 17, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Can I substitute the olive oil with coconut oil, by any chance? Or, is it too light?


    • Stef May 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      It would be worth a try. I think it would work.

  17. healthy desserts September 12, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    The waitstaff are charming, and we were treated so well.
    Showcase your cupcakes’ individuality by creating works of art using cupcake tree stands or displaying them on decorative tiers.
    – make list of secure, gluten-free foods: beans, seeds, nuts, fruits, rice.

  18. October 4, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    So whyether your child wants to run and play freely,
    or dreams of becoming a professional athlete like Yamaguchi or other athletes
    born with clubfoot (US soccer star Mia Hamm and
    baseball pitcher Larry Sherry, to name a couple of notable examples), clubfoot is a surmountable obstacle.
    The good news iis that they churn out new designs fairly frequently, sso every
    time you check back, there will likely be new comfortable
    dress shoes available. Whether tto settle for a slightly
    bigger size may be an issue since the Dansko bdand and most European sized shoes do nott come in half sizes.

    • Mackensey November 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

      I made these today for our chickpea golden spoon party! They taste amazing and I made the chocolate hummus. I added some milk to thin it out and added some extra cocoa. It tastes amazing, Hopefully I win! I have pics if you want to see them.

  19. ZippityDoodah February 9, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    I just made these cupcakes. They turned out really well. I was afraid because the batter smelled and tasted very bean-ish. But after baking, they taste great! Especially once I topped them with some buttercream frosting. We recently found out that my husband and one of my kids both have a wheat sensitivity. With my son’s birthday just around the corner, its so nice to have a great-tasting, wheat-free birthday treat option. Thanks for the great recipe!

  20. Bellagunn February 11, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Good news everyone, this recipie works wonderfully well veganized!

    My roomate subbed enerG egg replacer and SOdelicious barista style coconut creamer for milk and the results were fantastic, the cupcakes were level across the top (as was expected) but they *DID NOT SINK*!

    Very light and fluffy with just a hint of crustyness, we topped them off with orange flavored icing.

    I think this would make excellent baked doughnuts or little bundt cakes, it came out of the pan easily without cupcake paper and was very sturdy/ able to be eaten out of the hand w/out a plate.

    Best birthday ever!

    THANK YOU seriously, you have no idea how awesome this is, I haven’t had a decent bit of cake in over 3 years

    I have mast cell disease that developed in 2011 with multiple food triggers, no wheat or animal products…….. I’m not supposed to have chocolate either but life without chocolate is just not worth it to me 😉

  21. April July 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    I made these vegan with the use of flax seed (vegan eggs), almond milk, and semi sweet chocolate chunks and they turned out grrrrrrrrrrreat! My family members (who are far from vegan) LOVED them! I’m having gluten sensitivity issues and this recipe was a life saver for me! Thanks for the great recipe!


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