Chatfield’s Carob Cupcakes

Sometimes the simplest and most obvious places are still the last places I expect to find amazing recipes. This recipe comes from the back of the Chatfield’s carob powder jar, and it’s quickly become a favorite among my family and my coworkers. It’s a little denser than a typical cake, but not as solid as a brownie — the perfect balance. Sometimes the best ideas are really right under your nose!

Note: Carob powder is available in a canister or bag from any health food store. It’s usually on the same shelf as the chocolate chips and other baking supplies, probably near the bottom shelf. Make sure it’s pure carob powder and doesn’t have any dried milk or other things added. I like Chatfield’s brand because it’s pure and keeps a reliable consistency while stored in my pantry.

If you don’t need this to be gluten-free, you can substitute all-purpose flour for the GF flour and leave out the xanthan gum.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


For the Cake

  • 1.5 cups GF flour mix
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your GF flour mix doesn’t already have it)
  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/3 cup carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt (table salt, not sea salt!)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water

My gluten-free baking flour mix

You can use this for most GF recipes, or use your favorite store-bought mix. I make this several cups at a time, then keep it in an airtight container in the fridge so I’m ready for baking. Keep in mind that you will need to add xanthan gum to your recipes when you substitute this for all-purpose flour, since this mix does not have any yet.

  • 1 part brown rice flour
  • 1 part sweet sorghum flour
  • 2/3 part potato starch
  • 1/2 part tapioca starch

For the Frosting

This “vanilla” frosting really reminds me more of cream cheese frosting, which is perfect with this carob brownie-like cake.

  • 1.75 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
  • 1.5-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Mixing bowl
  • Stand mixer or electric hand mixer (optional)
  • Muffin tin for cupcakes, cake pan of your favorite shape, or 8×8 or 9×13 pan for sheet cake


For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir until evenly mixed.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and mix again until evenly blended to a very smooth consistency. (Note: If using all-purpose flour instead of GF, be careful to mix only until blended, then stop or it will become chewy. If using GF flour, mix for a few minutes longer than you think you need to, it can only help.)
  4. Grease your cupcake pan or cake pan, or line the cupcake pan with paper liners.
  5. Pour the batter carefully into your pan. Aim for about 3/4 full because it needs room to rise.
  6. Bake in the center of the oven at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean. Start with 20-22 minutes for cupcakes, or less for mini-cupcakes, longer for cake pans.
  7. Let for at least 15 minutes in the pan. Then let it cool completely on a drying rack, or in the square/rectangular Pyrex pan if you’re making a sheet cake, before frosting.

For the Frosting

  1. Wash your mixing bowl and beaters.
  2. Pour melted vegan butter into the mixing bowl. Beat for several seconds, then add vanilla and 1.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar. Beat for one minute.
  3. Add powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, continuing to mix the entire time (this is why a stand mixer is so helpful), until thick and smooth. Drizzle in a tiny bit of unsweetened non-dairy milk if it’s crumbling up instead of looking smooth like frosting.
  4. Taste a tiny bit and adjust as needed:
    • If it tastes like powdered sugar, add a dash more vanilla and rice milk.
    • If it tastes like butter, add more powdered sugar.
    • If it tastes too intensely sweet, add just a couple drops more apple cider vinegar, but don’t overdo it.

    I have no idea why, but frosting comes out a little different every time I make it. That’s why you need to tweak it until it tastes right today.

  5. Frost the cake or cupcakes and enjoy! Cover leftovers and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.


Adapted from the “Chatfield’s Vegan Carob Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting” recipe on the back of the carob jar.