Looking for a fun festive bake to make with the kids? Then give these chocolate reindeer cupcakes a try! They are gluten free and a simple one to make, yet look really festive when decorated. Plus they taste sooo good!

These little reindeer cupcakes have a gluten free chocolate chip cupcake base, which is oh so soft and fluffy. This is topped with a swirl of real chocolate buttercream, then decorated with raspberries, sugar eyes and salted gluten free pretzels.

The combination of flavours is simply delicious and they really do taste as great as they look. Truly a fun festive treat for the whole family to enjoy, and my little girl loved helping to make these cupcakes.

gluten free chocolate reindeer cupcakes

Can I Make These Cupcakes in Advance?

Yes you can, however please hold off on adding the final decorations until you are ready to serve. The raspberries are best stored in the fridge until then. Plus I found that the pretzels eventually soak up moisture from the buttercream, so I would recommend you add them add the last moment.

Gluten Free Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

Now let’s get to the yummy recipe shall we! If you enjoy these reindeer cupcakes, please do review the recipe on the card below. Also feel free to email me any questions or comments you might have – laura@mygfguide.com – or DM me on social media @myglutenfreeguide. Ooh, also send photos of your creations please!

You’ll find my recipe below, with plenty of pictures to help guide you.

Happy Baking! Laura xxx

Reindeer Chocolate Cupcakes (GF)
Yield: Makes 12 Cupcakes

Reindeer Chocolate Cupcakes (GF)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


For the cupcakes:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla essence
  • 225g gluten free self raising flour (I used FREEE by Doves Farm)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp xanthan gum
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 90ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 75g chocolate chips (milk or dark)

For the buttercream icing:

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 120g good quality milk chocolate
  • 1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tbsp milk

To decorate:

  • 12 fresh raspberries
  • 24 sugar eyes (I used House of Cake)
  • 48 gluten free pretzels (I used Schar gluten free pretzels)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan). Take a muffin tin and line holes with cupcake cases. Red cases look really festive for these, but any variety will do.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, working them into the mixture after each addition.
  4. Sift the self raising flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and cocoa powder into the bowl. Beat for a minute with the hand whisk or a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the milk and beat again, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure the mixture is lovely and smooth. Then add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  6. Divide the cupcake batter evenly between the muffins cases and smooth the top of each.
  7. Pop the cupcakes into the oven to bake for 20 minutes at 180C (fan). To test whether they are cooked through, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean the cupcake is cooked but if there is still liquid batter on the skewer it needs a few extra minutes.
  8. Once baked, take the cupcakes out of the tin and move them to a wire baking rack to cool.
  9. When completely cool, you can make the buttercream. For the buttercream, first melt the chocolate in the microwave (heat for 30 seconds, stir, heat for 30 seconds - repeat until fully melted), then set aside to cool.
  10. In a large bowl, whisk the butter with an electric whisk for 3-5 minutes until it has become pale and fluffy.
  11. Add the icing sugar and cocoa powder gradually, working them into the butter with a spoon. Once you have loosely incorporated it all, get your whisk again and beat the buttercream until really smooth and fluffy.
  12. The chocolate should have cooled by now - you want it to be fully runny, but cool to touch (if still warm it will melt the butter). Keeping the whisk running, gradually add the chocolate the the buttercream, whisking until combined. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl to catch any mixture that hasn't mixed properly, then whisk again.
  13. Add the milk and combine until you have a smooth buttercream. You then then either pipe or spread this onto the tops of the cupcakes.
  14. Decorate each cupcake with two sugar eyes, four gluten free pretzels as antlers and a little raspberry nose. Enjoy :).
make gluten free cupcakes festive
gluten free reindeer cupcakes recipe

For more festive baking fun, why not try some of my other Christmas recipes while you are here:

Happy Christmas!

Laura xxx