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{Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free} Almond Joy Cupcakes

Prep Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Servings 18 cupcakes

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*This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze. All opinions are my own.*

I know, I know. Almond Joy again.

chocolate cupcakes with whipped coconut cream sprinkles and almonds

But the combination of chocolate, coconut and almond is just one of my favorites.

And since I was privileged enough to be given some Almond Breeze almond milk to create some recipes with, I thought I would try to make a dessert that was as allergy-friendly as possible.

Going gluten or dairy free isn’t something I’d given much thought until recently. I feel like that’s the way it is for most people.

It seems like you hear of more and more people these days who have gluten or dairy allergies, or who choose to go gluten and/or dairy free. And I think that’s totally awesome.

As for myself, I just don’t think I could do it. Not quite yet anyways.

However, I think there are definitely health benefits to eating gluten or dairy free at least occasionally, and because these allergies or preferences are becoming more widespread these days, it’s nice to have some different options for serving dessert.

Now, when I made these, they weren’t completely dairy free. This is because I don’t have dairy free chocolate or butter substitute/dairy free margarine/coconut oil.

But because those would be easy swaps that won’t change the texture, bake time or measurements, I like to count these as a win in the gluten-free, dairy-free department. If you are someone who eats dairy-free, because of an allergy or by choice, these are likely swaps you’re going to have made in your own pantry already anyways. If you’re baking these for someone who has allergies, just be sure your butter/margarine and chocolate is gluten and dairy free.

hand holding chocolate cupcake with bite taken revealing chocolate filling

The cupcakes have the taste and dense, fudgy texture of a flourless chocolate cake. The flavour is rich, dark chocolate, so if this isn’t your thing, try using a sweeter chocolate or increasing the sugar a bit. They will puff up when baking, and then sink down a bit as a flourless chocolate cake would, but they will be incredible rich and fudgy.

I tried baking two ways: in paper liners and in greased and floured muffin tins. Both worked, and the cupcakes came out extremely easily. The cupcakes in liners stayed a little taller, whereas the ones in muffin tins were slightly shorter and wider. You can see the difference in the photos.

chocolate cupcakes with whipped coconut cream and almond milk in the background
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{Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free} Almond Joy Cupcakes

{Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free} Almond Joy Cupcakes: super rich, dense and fudgy cupcakes filled with chocolate almond pastry cream and topped with whipped coconut cream. You’ll never believe they have no dairy or flour!
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 327cal



  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate gluten-free & dairy free
  • 1 cup 2 sticks butter or dairy-free margarine or coconut oil
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze

Chocolate Almond Pastry Cream

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate dairy free
  • 1 tbsp butter or dairy-free margarine or coconut oil

Whipped Coconut Cream

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk refrigerated 16-24 hours
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2-2/3 cup powdered sugar sifted


  • toasted coconut
  • toasted almonds
  • chocolate sprinkles


  • For the pastry cream:I recommend making the pastry cream first because it will take the longest to chill and set.
  • In a medium pot, combined egg yolks, sugar, corn starch and salt with a whisk. Whisk in Almond Breeze.
  • Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until thickened (2-4 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and butter or margarine.
  • Pour into a bowl and press a piece of wax paper onto the top of the pastry cream, so it is totally covered. Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
  • For the cupcakes:In a large bowl, add chocolate and butter or margarine. Microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is also melted. Stir in brown sugar. Set aside 5-10 minutes to cool to room temperature.
  • Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add cocoa, extracts and almond milk and whisk until smooth.
  • Spoon into 18 muffin cups, either lined with paper liners or sprayed with non stick and dusted with flour. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, until tops are set (there shouldn’t be a shiny spot in the middle).
  • Set aside to cool. (I found the liners easiest to remove before they were totally cool, around the 10 minute mark).
  • When cool, scoop out the middle of the cupcakes using a small spoon, being sure to leave at least ½” all the way around intact. (I save the middles to eat with the remaining pastry cream!)
  • For the whipped coconut cream:Make sure your cans of coconut milk have chilled at least overnight or for a full 24 hours.
  • Move your cans to the counter, being careful not to overturn them or shake them. Open them carefully and see that the coconut water and coconut cream have separated.
  • *I did my research, and most tutorials will say that the coconut cream will be at the top and the water at the bottom. When I opened my cans, I found the water at the top and the cream at the bottom. My cans were upside down, and I’m not sure if this is why. I slowly poured out the water and scooped out the cream with a metal spoon.
  • Add coconut cream to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth and incorporated. It should hold stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • AssemblySpoon pastry cream into a piping bag or ziploc bag. Cut the corner off and pipe a small amount into the middle of the cupcakes.
  • Spoon whipped coconut cream onto filled cupcakes (I used a piping bag and a large round tip).
  • Garnish as desired.
  • Refrigerate up to 3-4 days after making, if they last that long!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 327cal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 485IU | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2.3mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. amy stamps says

    These are ridiculously good! May be my standard chic cupcake recipe from now on! And I’m not even gluten free. Cream was slightly runny but not bad. I did add a half teaspoon of almond extract to the pudding. Divine! Thank you so much!!!!

    • Ashley says

      Did you use full fat coconut cream? It definitely needs to be full fat and sit in the fridge a good long time without being moved so the cream will separate. Some cans are just flops so I always put an extra can in just in case. It takes a little practice but it’s so good!

  2. Monique Clock says

    These look so amazing. Can’t wait to try them. I need to improvise a little because my daughter is diabetic but can’t wait. Is there any substitutions for the corn starch? Thank you so much.

    • Ashley says

      Thanks Monique! It’s hard to say. The egg yolks will thicken the pastry cream by themselves to some extent. If she’s not gluten-free you could try adding a very small amount of flour.

  3. Tamara says

    This looks fantastic! What does the pastry cream taste like? It looks like it would be caramel or butterscotch but neither of those ingredients are in the recipe.


  4. Isadora @ she likes food says

    For some reason I always thought I hated almond joys and then I tried one one day and fell in love! Almonds and coconuts are such a great combination! These look awesome and I love that they are gluten and dairy free!

    • Ashley says

      Oh man, I love any kind of coconut almond chocolate bar! Or just anything coconut/almond/chocolate in general… lol. I’m not too picky when it comes to sweets 😉

  5. Dana says

    Wow these look scrumptious!!! I love that they are GF and dairy free too, I have cut out gluten but still have the occasional dairy. However, I bake for friends who are dairy free or vegan often so I’m sure they will love these!! I really like the sound of the chcolate almond pastry cream, mnnnn!!
    I make the coconut whipped cream often now and it’s realllllly good. I find if you add vanilla bean to it it really takes it up a notch. Maybe not needed for these as there is probably so much chocolate and almond flavour, but if you make coconut whip cream for vanilla or coconut cupcakes, give it a try!
    Happy your experiment was a success and we get to benefit from it…yippeeee!!!!

    • Ashley says

      Thanks so much Dana! The chocolate flavour is pretty predominant, but you can never go wrong with adding vanilla bean to anything!

  6. Cailee says

    WOW! Gluten free AND dairy free?! These look delicious! I’m gluten intolerant, and have been having some digestive issues as of late and was wondering if dairy was to blame… do you eat 100% dairy free?? Do you feel different! Love to hear your thoughts! Beautiful recipe btw! 🙂

    • Ashley says

      Hi Cailee — thanks for stopping by! I am not actually gluten-free or dairy-free, but I did have some lactose intolerance for a while. I’ve cut back my dairy intake but I don’t focus on it too much. I was sent some almond milk to create recipes with, so I thought I would see what I could come up with that was more allergy friendly!

    • Ashley says

      Thanks Kelly! I think my husband and I were both surprised how well they turned out! You wouldn’t really miss any gluten or dairy 🙂

  7. Danielle says

    These look delicious! I love almond joys, I’m impressed with the fact that these are gluten and dairy free. They look super moist. Pinning these 🙂

    • Ashley says

      Thanks so much Karissa! It’s still something that’s fairly new to us, but it’s nice to have options, especially when more and more people are choosing to eat gluten-free!

    • Ashley says

      Haha, thanks Melanie! I actually had a batch of cupcakes in the fridge, and was able to resist the urge to eat cupcakes and Halloween candy for breakfast this morning! I’m feeling pretty proud of myself 🙂

  8. Mary Frances says

    These look so incredibly fudgy! I love that pastry cream – holidays here I come! What a fantastic recipe Ashley, and as someone with a dairy allergy, I’ve got my coconut oil and Enjoy Life chocolate chips ready to go 🙂 Pinning these beautiful treats!

    • Ashley says

      Coconut oil is a great substitute for the butter or margarine! I might have to add that to the recipe – thanks Mary Frances! I have to admit, we ate the remaining pastry cream with a spoon and nothing else…. it’s so good! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Ashley says

      I tried the whipped coconut cream thing once before and totally failed. I was a little nervous, but it turned out so well! Thanks Gayle 🙂

      • Rebecca says

        I just tried the coconut cream and it’s pretty soupy 🙁 hoping the fridge will help stiffen it up. Any suggestions?

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