Gluten-free Gingerbread Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream and Pecan Toffee

Gluten-free Gingerbread Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream and Pecan Toffee

I have talked abut Tessa Huff before, and I find her book, Layered, always a source of inspiration and of excellent recipes! One of her layer cakes is gingerbread coffee toffee cake. Layers of spiced gingerbread cake, with French coffee buttercream filling and crunchy toffee pieces, covered by Swiss vanilla buttercream and toffee molasses sauce. Though I loved the idea of flavor combination, I couldn’t imagine baking a whole layered cake. I also had some leftover pecan toffee from a cookie experiment a few weeks before, so I decided to create a gluten-free gingerbread cupcake with French coffee buttercream frosting and pecan toffee to finish.

Disclosure, you will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.


Gluten-free Gingerbread Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream and Pecan Toffee

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: DessertDifficulty: Difficult


Prep time




Cooking time




  • For the pecan toffee
  • 200 g 200 granulated sugar – 1 cup

  • 60 g 60 water – 1/4 cup

  • 170 g 170 unsalted butter – 3/4 cup

  • 1 teaspoon 1 salt

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • 60 g 60 roasted pecans, roughly chopped – 1/2 cup

  • For the cupcakes
  • 195 g 195 Simona’s Flour Mix – 1 1/4 cup

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons 1 1/4 baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon 1 ground ginger

  • 3/4 teaspoon 3/4 cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 salt

  • 75 g 75 vegetable oil – 1/4 cup plus a 1 Tablespoon

  • 85 g 85 light brown sugar – 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons

  • 50 g 50 granulated sugar – 1/4 cup

  • 60 g 60 molasses – 1/4 cup

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • 1 large 1 egg

  • 120 g 120 whole milk – 1/2 cup

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 glycerin

  • For the French coffee buttercream
  • 100 g 100 granulated sugar – 1/2 cup

  • 3 large 3 egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon 1 instant coffee

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons 1 1/2 hot water

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract

  • 140 g 140 unsalted butter, at room temperature – 1 1/4 sticks


  • For the pecan toffee
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease. Set aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, add sugar, water, and butter. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil for about 2 minutes until butter and sugar has completely melted.
  • Attach candy thermometer to sauce pot. Continue to boil until mixture reaches 300°F. This will take anywhere from 8-15 minutes depending on size of pot, ambient temperature, and humidity of room. At this point, you may whisk the mixture as needed to distribute heat and prevent mixture from burning along the edges of the pot. Mixture will change colors from pale yellow to caramel brown as it reaches 300°F.
  • Remove from heat. Whisk in salt, vanilla and pecans. Immediately pour hot mixture into prepared baking sheet. Let sit at room temperature. The toffee mixture will harden and solidify as it cools. This will take anywhere from 15 minutes to 35 minutes.
    NOTE: mixture will bubble and steam when you add in vanilla extract.
  • For the cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a muffin tin with your favorite cupcake liners – you will have 10 cupcakes.
  • Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the oil and sugars until well combined. Add the egg, molasses and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Combine the milk with glycerin and alternate adding it to the molasses mixture with the flour. Whisk well until very smooth.
  • Evenly divide the batter, filling the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the spring back when touched. Cool completely before frosting.
  • For the coffee French buttercream
  • Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heath over medium heat until the temperature reaches 238 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer.
  • (For this next step I suggest you use a hand mixer, since we are using only 3 egg yolks and a stand mixer might not reach to the bottom of the bowl to whip them accordingly) In a medium bowl place the egg yolks and use a hand mixer with the whisk attachment to whisk them until pale in color and doubled in volume.
  • Once the sugar reaches 238 degrees, remove the pan from the heat. With the mixer running on low carefully stream the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg yolks. Once the sugar has been added, increase the speed too high and continue mixing until the outside if the bowl cools to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, in a small cup, mix the instant coffee and the hot water, to make a thick, strong, shot of espresso.
  • With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and the butter, a couple of tablespoons at the time. Pour in the shot of espresso and turn the mixer to medium high. Mix for about 20 seconds until the buttercream is smooth and creamy.
  • Assembling the cupcakes
  • Choose the tip you’d like to use and place it in the piping bag. Fill the bag with the coffee buttercream and pipe on the cupcakes. Finish the look by sprinkling pieces of pecan toffee that you have previously roughly chopped.

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