Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes, with Praline Sauce filling and Chocolate Creméux frosting – a Valentine’s Day treat for the chocolate lovers

Chocolate cupcakes, with caramelized praline sauce filling, and luscious and smooth chocolate creméux frosting, placed in heart formation, with a small bucket of purple flowers next to them

As I indicated in my last post for pistachio cupcakes, I had decided to use the leftover from my class at The Baker’s Pin to create cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. This time, I combined a chocolate cake, pecan praline sauce, and an incredibly creamy chocolate cremeux. The cremeux needs to be refrigerated overnight, so you will prepare it the day before. For the praline sauce, the recipe here has a higher ratio of nuts to sugar than the praline powder recipe I have used in the past, so that it creates a smooth and liquid sauce. The textures and richness of these cupcakes are truly memorable.


Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes, with Praline Sauce filling and Chocolate Creméux frosting – a Valentine’s Day treat for the chocolate lovers

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: DessertDifficulty: Medium
Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the chocolate creméux
  • 3 large 3 yolks

  • 33 g 33 granulated sugar – 2 Tablespoons

  • 75 g 75 whole milk – 1/4 cup and 1 Tablespoon

  • 175 g 175 heavy cream – 1/3 cup and 1 Tablespoon

  • 2 g 2 powder gelatin – heaping 1/2 teaspoon

  • 100 g 100 bittersweet chocolate, chopped – 1/2 cup and 1/2 Tablespoon

  • For the chocolate cupcakes
  • 30 g 30 unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons

  • 120 g 120 hot coffee – 1/2 cup

  • 120 g 120 buttermilk – 1/2 cup

  • 40 g 40 vegetable oil – 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 vanilla extract

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 glycerin

  • 1 large 1 egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 salt

  • 156 g 156 Simona’s Flour Mix – 1 cup

  • 175 g 175 granulated sugar – 3/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 baking soda

  • For the praline sauce
  • 150 g 150 pecans, but one can use hazelnuts or almonds as well – 1 1/2 cups

  • 100 g 100 sugar – 1/2 cup

  • 25 g 25 water – 2 Tablespoons

  • pinch pinch salt


  • For the chocolate creméux
  • Bloom the gelatin with a couple of teaspoons of cold water to barely cover the gelatin. 
  • With the first four ingredients, make a crème anglaise. Warm the milk and cream in a medium saucepan on medium heat, paying attention not to boil them. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Pour the liquid over the yolk mixture, mix well with a spatula and put back on the low heat until it thickens and it coats the back of your spatula. 
  • Melt the bittersweet chocolate. Pour the crème anglaise over the chocolate and mix well until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Melt the gelatin in the microwave, and add to the mixture. Emulsify with an immersion blender for approximately one minute, keeping it touching the bottom without moving it up and down to avoid creating bubbles on the surface. Strain and cover with plastic wrap on contact. Refrigerate overnight.
  • For the chocolate cupcakes
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  • Mix the cocoa powder and hot coffee together in a medium bowl, stirring until it’s a thick paste. In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, oil, vanilla, glycerin, egg, and salt.
  • Gradually stir the buttermilk mixture into the cocoa, mixing until smooth. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the cocoa mixture just until combined. Divide the batter between in the muffin cups so each is 2/3rd full; depending on the size of your cups or molds, you may get a few less. (You can pour the batter into a measuring cup or use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to portion the batter more easily.)
  • Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the centers lightly spring back when you touch them. Let cool completely.
  • For the praline sauce
  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil. At 240°F, take it off the heat, pour in pecans and mix so that the sugar coats all the nuts.
  • Return to medium heat and stir until the sugar liquefies again and caramelizes. At one point the mixture will turn whitish and some sugar will clump around the pecans, this is normal. Continue stirring and have faith that it will caramelize.
  • Spread the nuts on parchment paper and let cool completely. Put it in a food processor with the salt. Mix, taking regular breaks (to prevent from overheating) until you obtain the consistency of a praline sauce. The more you mix the mixture, the more liquid it will become.
  • To assemble
  • Remove the cooled cupcakes from the pan. With the cupcake coring tool, or with a knife, make a whole in the center of the cupcake, making sure to leave at least 1/4 inch of cake at the bottom.
  • Place the praline sauce in a small pastry bag. Cut a corner and squirt the sauce in the center of the cupcake. Close the hole with the top of the cake you removed early.
  • Place the chocolate creméux in a piping bag with a round tip. Decorate the cupcake, and place a piece of pecan on top, if you’d like.

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