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Gluten Free Samoa Cupcakes

All througout elementary school, I was in the Girl Scouts but for some reason I can’t really understand, my parents almost never bought Girl Scout cookies. When they did, I always begged for Samoas. They are, by far, my absolute favorite. Now that I live in Germany, if I want Samoas, I have to make them myself. It saves me a lot of money, which is great, but homemade Samoa cookies can be pretty time consuming! Especially if you’re like me and feel compelled to fiddle with the topping of each and every cookie until it looks perfect.


I’m thrilled to report that Samoa cupcakes are just as delicious and aren’t quite as fussy! The cupcakes are coconut flour based and call for one cup of flour and 8 eggs. It sounds crazy but coconut flour absorbs more liquid and requires more eggs than other kinds of flour, meaning you really can’t sub another type of flour in these cupcakes. If you have almond flour or meal on hand, a double batch of these grain-free chocolate cupcakes would be perfect. For those of you who don’t need the cupcakes to be gluten-free, you can use any cupcake recipe you like but keep in mind that the topping is only enough for 16 cupcakes.

When I took the cupcakes out of the oven, I immediately tried one and was ready to throw them away due to what I thought was a funky texture. I decided to give them another try later on and I’m so happy that I did because once they’re cool, they have a great texture! It’s not exactly like a normal cupcake but for gluten-free? Pretty awesome. The brown sugar adds a little special something and the coconut flour complements the coconut caramel topping wonderfully.


For the topping, I used the same caramel as in these gluten-free mini caramel pecan tarts. All of the other Samoa-inspired recipes I’ve seen use store bought caramels, but honestly, this homemade version takes you less time than unwrapping all those individual caramels! It’s also ridiculously simple and hard to mess up.

I rarely make cupcakes because I’m just so terrible at decorating them. So I was pretty excited when I got the idea to just dip these Samoa cupcakes in chocolate ganache and mound some coconut caramel goodness on top. If you don’t want to make the ganache, you could just throw some chocolate chips over the coconut caramel or just melt some chocolate chips and drizzle it over the coconut caramel. It’s even simpler and would look great!


So what’s your favorite homemade Girl Scout cookie treat? After making these Samoa cupcakes, I can’t wait to try more!

Gluten Free Samoa Cupcakes

Gluten Free Samoa Cupcakes

Yield: 16 cupcakes
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


For the Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 7 chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt

For the Brown Sugar Cupcakes

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 8 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Ganache

  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons whipping cream or heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two muffin pans with 16 muffin liners.
  2. Place the coconut on a rimmed pan and toast for 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Keep a close eye on it as it burns quickly and stir after every 3-4 minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Prepare the cupcakes. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade, beat the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla together until well combined. Stir in the dry mixture to the wet and beat at medium speed until no lumps remain.
  4. Fill each muffin liner with slightly less than 1/3 cup of batter. The liners should be about 4/5 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Once the cupcakes are almost cool, prepare the ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot and steamy. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until thoroughly combined and no chunks of chocolate remain. Let the ganache sit for about 5-10 minutes to firm up slightly.
  6. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the ganache and place back on the wire rack. Place the rack in the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to firm up.
  7. Prepare the caramel coconut topping. Heat the sugar, cream, butter, vanilla and salt in a heavy bottom saucepan (do not use non-stick) over medium heat. Stir until well combined and no more chunks of butter remain. Simmer for 8 minutes, readjusting the heat as needed. Do not stir. If needed, tilt the pan to redistribute the mixture. Remove from the heat. The caramel will be quite thin at this point. Let it cool for 20 minutes or until considerably thickened and just barely pourable. Add the toasted coconut and stir until combined. Add a little more than 1 tablespoon of caramel coconut topping to the top of each ganache dipped cupcake.
  8. Pipe on the remaining ganache or use a fork to drizzle it on top.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Refrigerate any leftovers after that.

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