These spooky gluten-free and dairy-free vampire bite cupcakes consist of triple chocolate cupcakes filled with strawberry jam topped with blood-bitten vanilla buttercream. Perfect for a Halloween celebration!
Aren't these vampire bite cupcakes simultaneously the cutest and spookiest gluten-free, dairy-free dessert you've seen? I just love them!
Need a treat for a Halloween party, fall birthday, or just a regular day of the week dessert? If triple chocolate cupcakes filled with strawberry jam and topped with a vanilla buttercream sounds good to you, then you're in the right place.
Keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks to making these (*British accent*) bloody delightful vampire bite cupcakes.
How to make vampire bite cupcakes
There are 3 main components to these desserts: the cupcake, the jam, and the buttercream. Prepare each of them separately then combine for the bloody magic!
Gluten-free triple chocolate cupcakes
This ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe has several important secret ingredients. Here is what you need:
- Chocolate chips: Melted chocolate chips add a depth to the chocolate flavour that makes this recipe 10 times better. Make sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips like the these Yupik ones or Enjoy Life Foods.
- Vegan butter & dairy-free milk: I use Melt Organic as my vegan butter for baking (note I use a different brand for the buttercream). For the dairy-free milk, my baking preference is cashew.
- Instant coffee: A seemingly odd ingredient, instant coffee intensifies the chocolate flavour and leaves these cupcakes tasting irresistible.
- Vanilla extract & an egg: Classic cupcake ingredients to aid in flavour and texture.
- Coconut sugar: My preferred unrefined sugar of choice but you can easily substitute white granulated sugar.
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour: My favourite for baking is Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour. Works great every time!
- Unsweetened cocoa powder AND black cocoa powder: I'll start by saying you can easily just use one type of cocoa powder that you have in the pantry. BUT if you want the ultimate triple chocolate cupcakes then you'll use half regular cocoa powder and half black cocoa powder. This stuff is super dark and it lends the gorgeous dark colour to these cupcakes along with a deeper flavour.
- Baking soda, baking powder, and salt: To help these gluten-free babies rise!
How to make the cupcakes
The first thing to do when preparing these triple chocolate gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes is to preheat the oven to 350°F. Then make the batter!
Begin by adding the chocolate chips, butter, and milk to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate is melted and everything is warm and homogeneous. Add the instant coffee and whisk until dissolved.
Next, add in the vanilla extract and egg. Whisk until combined. Then mix in the sugar until fully incorporated. To keep the batter in only one bowl, add in the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder(s), baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix these gently as they sit on top, then whisk vigorously to combine everything.
Use an ice cream or cookie scoop to fill a muffin tray lined with paper cups just over halfway. This should yield 10-12 cupcakes. Bake for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before moving cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely for at least 2 hours.
For ease, you can bake and cool the cupcakes the night before you assemble and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Healthy strawberry jam
This is literally the easiest strawberry jam you'll ever make! Here's what you need:
- Fresh or frozen strawberries: Use whatever you have on-hand or in season. Ideally use pieces that are uniform in size.
- Cornstarch: To help thicken the jam so that it is a workable consistency and not too runny.
- Red gel food colouring: To deepen the jam colour and best resemble the oozing blood from these vampire-bitten cupcakes.
How to make the jam
Begin by adding the strawberries to a heavy-bottom pot with just enough water to cover the bottom. Bring the heat to medium-high and cook for 5-7 minutes, breaking up any larger pieces with a spatula as they soften.
Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for around 13 minutes, stirring often so the jam doesn't burn. Dissolve the cornstarch in just enough water to make a slurry and pour into the jam. Stir while on low for a few more minutes until the jam is quite thick. Add in a small amount of red gel food colouring to get a deep read colour. It will deepen while it cools.
Let the jam cool at room temperature then store in the fridge in an airtight container. I recommend also making the jam the night before with the cupcakes so it has plenty of time to cool and thicken more. However, if you are tight on time and want to make these on the same day, 2 hours minimum in the fridge should suffice while the cupcakes cool. Jam can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Vegan vanilla buttercream
This easy vegan vanilla buttercream comes together super quickly and is absolutely delicious. No one could guess it's dairy-free! Here's what you need:
- Miyokos Creamery dairy-free butter: It's not often that I recommend a specific brand for a recipe, however, the Miyokos Creamery dairy-free butter pictured here works so amazingly well that I need to let you know. While I have not tested this specific recipe with other vegan butters, I have attempted a vegan buttercream before with Melt Organic that did become slightly separated. I find that because of the fermented cashews, the Miyokos Creamery buttercream holds up beautifully and has a wonderful taste and texture as well.
- Vanilla extract: For a mellow vanilla flavour.
- Icing sugar: For structure and sweetness! The sweetness of this buttercream is not overpowering, but it works well with the slightly less sweet triple chocolate cupcakes.
- Dash of dairy-free milk: To help achieve a velvety consistency and smooth out the icing.
- Pinch of salt: Salt helps to cut the sweetness from the icing sugar and a little bit is a must-add to any buttercream recipe.
How to make vegan buttercream
This vegan buttercream can be made with a stand mixer, hand mixer, or some old fashioned elbow grease. This is the stand mixer I use which I LOVE! Begin by adding the vegan butter to your bowl and whipping for 2 minutes on medium-high with the whisk attachment, scraping the sides 1 minute in. Make sure it gets nice and fluffy.
Once whipped, add in the vanilla and salt and whip again to incorporate. Then add the icing sugar ½ cup at a time. Start on low then increase to medium-high to fully mix with each addition. Add a dash of dairy-free milk while giving it a final whip on high to help smooth out the consistency.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to gently stir the icing around. This will help to deflate any large air bubbles that may cause trouble when piping later on.
Best if used to assemble the cupcakes immediately, so have this be the last step before assembly. Leftover icing can be stored in the fridge for 1 week, then brought to room temperature and re-stirred or re-whipped before use, but you won't have much left.
Putting it all together
Once all of your components are made, it's assembly time. My recommended timeline is to prepare and cool the cupcakes and jam the night before you want to assemble the cupcakes. This will give them enough time to rest and cool completely to the desired consistency.
If you cannot make the cupcakes and jam the night before, here is what I would do: Make the cupcake batter and bake them. While in the oven, begin on the jam, watching carefully. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to cool in the pan then on a wire rack. Finish the jam and let it cool to room temperature, then place in the fridge. This entire process including cooling should take about 2 hours. While cooling you could make the buttercream then assemble the cupcakes with the following steps.
On the day you make the cupcakes, all you'll have to do is quickly whip up the buttercream and assemble the cupcakes, which is actually very quick. Here's what you need to do:
Create a hole in each cupcake to make room for the jam filling. You can do this with a specific tool, and icing tip as photographed, or with a small spoon. Remove the excess cake. Then, place the jam into a piping bag fitted with a very small tip. I used a Wilton #4 I believe. Squeeze jam into the centre of each cupcake, stopping just before level with the top of the cake.
Next, add the buttercream to a separate piping bag with a much larger tip. If you don't have icing tips, simply cut a large hole in the bag. Ice the tops of the cupcakes with buttercream swirls.
Use a straw to poke 2 holes in the buttercream of each cupcake for the fang bites. Then fill in the holes with your piped jam, concentrating the jam on the inside of the hole and letting it ooze and flow out like blood.
That's it! You've made gluten-free and dairy-free vampire-bitten triple chocolate cupcakes. Anyone you serve these spooky treats to is sure to love and remember them. Be sure to cut one in half to get a nice cross section view of the ooze.
No matter if you’re serving this to kids, teens, or adults – anyone who gets a chance to taste these oozing vampire bite cupcakes is sure to love them! They’re a super fun themed dessert for a Halloween celebration! And since they’re gluten-free and dairy-free, you can serve them to all of your family & friends!
Have you made these vampire bite cupcakes? Be sure to leave a comment telling me how much you loved them, and tag me on instagram @livglutenfree! I hope you enjoy as much as I do!
More Gluten-Free Fall Recipes
Vampire Bite Cupcakes [Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free]
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup dairy-free butter I use Melt Organic
- ½ cup dairy-free milk
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour I use the Bob's Red Mill 1:1 baking flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder I use half regular and half dark cocoa
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- dash red gel food colouring
Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream
- 1 package Miyokos Creamery dairy-free butter this brand works the best for vegan buttercream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups icing sugar
- dash dairy-free milk
- pinch salt
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips, dairy-free butter, and dairy-free milk. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate chips are fully melted and the mixture is warm.
- Add the instant coffee to the bowl and whisk until fully dissolved. Add the vanilla, egg, and sugar and mix well.
- Place the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder(s), baking soda, baking powder, and salt on top of the liquid mixture. Whisk the dry ingredients together gently then vigorously whisk to incorporate everything together.
- Line a muffin tray with paper cups. Fill just over halfway full with batter using an ice cream or cookie scoop. The batter should yield 10-12 cupcakes. Bake at 350° for approximately 19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Let cool for at least 2 hours before decorating.
- The strawberry jam filling can be made several days in advance. In fact, it's preferable so that the jam can cool to the best consistency. However, if you're short on time, you could rush it.
- Add the strawberries to a heavy-bottom saucepan. Pour in enough water just to cover the bottom and turn the heat to medium-high. Melt and break up any larger pieces with a rubber spatula for 5-7 minutes.
- Once broken down, turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 13 minutes, stirring often so the jam doesn't burn.
- Dissolve 2 teaspoon of cornstarch with a few drops of water in a separate small bowl. Pour into the pot and stir on low for a few more minutes. You want the consistency to be fairly thick.
- Mix in a small amount of red gel food colouring to get a deep blood-looking colour. Chill in the fridge in an airtight container for 2 hours - 1 week.
Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream
- Allow Miyokos Creamery vegan butter to soften at room temperature for an hour before mixing.
- In a stand mixer, add the vegan butter and whip using the whisk attachment on medium-high for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and whisk again for another 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and salt and whisk to incorporate.
- Add the icing sugar ½ cup at a time. Whisk starting on a low speed to incorporate, then increase to medium-high. Repeat until all 2½ cups are incorporated. Whisk on medium-high for 1 minute until fluffy.
- While whisking, add a dash of non-dairy milk, ½ teaspoon at a time, to smooth out the consistency. You want it to remain thick and fluffy.
- Once the buttercream is finished whipping, remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to stir the icing around. This will remove any excess air bubbles that could disrupt the piping process later on. Use shortly after making. Leftover icing can be stored in the fridge for 1 week, and stirred before use at room temperature.
- Prepare the cooled cupcakes by removing a small piece in the centre for the jam to sit. Do this easily with a piping tip dug into the centre, or with a small spoon.
- Spoon the jam into a piping bag with a very fine tip. Fill the holes created in the cupcakes then set aside to use later. Be sure to not overflow over the top of the hole.
- Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a larger circle tip. Swirl on top of the cupcakes, covering the secret filling hole.
- Using a straw, poke 2 holes in the buttercream of each cupcake. Fill in the holes to resemble blood drips from vampire bites with the jam piping bag.
- Then you are ready for your spooky treat! Best served within 2 hours at room temperature. After that, cupcakes should be stored in the fridge to preserve the jam and buttercream. Allow to come to room temperature before eating. Cupcakes will last for up to 3 days, but are best day-of. Enjoy!