There's no better way to pay tribute to the beloved plant friends on your windowsill than baking these cupcakes! These cactus and succulent baby cakes look super adorable and tropical. They are chocolate and coffee flavored with a delicious, light and fluffy coffee buttercream. On top of all that, these cakes are easy to make, gluten and wheat-free, and are super fun to make and decorate!

Mocha Cactus Cupcakes [Vegan, Gluten-Free]




Cooking Time




For the Cakes:

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cups of gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of coffee powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 and a tablespoon of coconut oil, melted

For the Buttercream:

  • Vegan buttercream, as needed
  • Green food coloring, as needed
  • Espresso powder, as needed


To Make the Cakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 320°F and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined. Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cacao powder, coffee powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to combine.
  4. Add the coconut oil to the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.
  6. Fill the cases 3/4 full with the delicious batter. Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.
  7. Pop the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer in and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.
  8. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully. Once cool, pop them into a sealed container to keep them fresh before frosting.

To Make the Cactus Frosting Decorations:

  1. To make the tall cactus, add a cocktail stick into a strawberry and stick it into the middle of the cupcake. Using a small petal tip, start piping from the bottom of the strawberry pulling off when at the top to create lines, overlapping and added on some white rock sprinkles to replicate the spikes.
  2. To make the spikes, I use a patisserie piping tip to create spikes, adding hard pressure then pulling off.
  3. To make the spiky ball cactus, I used a patisserie piping tip adding a large ball of buttercream, wiggling the tip and pulling off at the top. Add some mini pink flowers with pink buttercream using a mini flower piping tip.