I don't know what it is about sweet meeting salt that makes it such a perfect pairing. All I know is that I can't get enough! These cupcakes take care of that combo as well as providing a nice crunch from the pretzel alongside the cakey perfection that are these dark chocolate cupcakes. This dessert proves that opposites not only attract, but they make the best of friends!

Sweet and Salty Cupcakes With Caramel and Pretzel Frosting [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup potato starch (not the same as potato flour)
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch (same as tapioca flour)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 3 ounces vegan dark chocolate (85% dark or more)
  • ¾ cup coconut butter (room temperature)
  • 1 ½ cups date paste
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk mixed with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (makes a vegan buttermilk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons date paste
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • ½ cup coconut butter (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 ½ cup crushed gluten free pretzels
  • optional extra date paste to drizzle on top for decor


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix together coconut milk and vinegar to allow it to settle into a buttermilk and set aside.
  2. Combine flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Make sure you break up any clumps.
  3. In a small bowl melt the dark chocolate with the coconut butter, making sure to melt slowly so you don’t burn it, and mix well. If using the microwave, melt for 30 seconds, then in 10 second increments until fully melted. It took me about 45 seconds. Once melted, add it with the date paste into a large bowl and using a stand or hand mixer, whip until mixed well. Add in “buttermilk” and vanilla extract and whip again.
  4. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer or a spoon, mix in dry ingredients putting in half first, then the rest. Make sure everything is combined well.
  5. Place large spoonfuls of the batter into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Fill to the top of the cup. I use foil baking cups as they don’t stick like paper does. I also smoothed the batter down on the top by using a moistened finger, this helps them rise evenly as they bake.
  6. Bake at 350 for 21 minutes. Depending on your oven, your baking time may vary by a minute or two. Start checking them at 17 minutes and take out when the tops begin to get firm and have a spring to the touch. Let cool in the muffin tins for about 10 minutes. Once cool to the touch, remove and continue cooling on racks until completely cool, about an hour.
  7. While cupcakes are baking, make frosting by placing all ingredients, except pretzels, into a large bowl and whipping well using stand or hand mixer. Keep whipping until light and fluffy. You can then either fold in pretzels or sprinkle pretzels on top after frosted. I tried both ways, and if you aren’t eating right away, the pretzels will get soft if folded into the frosting.
  8. After cupcakes are cooled, put frosting in a plastic bag, cut off a bit of the corner, thick enough to get pretzel pieces through if folding them in, and squeeze out to frost each cupcake. Then sprinkle on crushed pretzels if you didn’t fold them into the frosting. If you are doing the extra date paste caramel drizzle, put some date paste in a smaller plastic baggie, and cut a smaller piece off the corner. Squeeze to drizzle lightly over the frosting. Enjoy! If stored in a plastic or glass container with a little bit of airflow, these will still be good the next day!


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