Light, fluffy vanilla cupcakes with a whipped, creamy vanilla buttercream. These gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes are not only allergen free, they are also perfect for any celebration!
Today calls for a celebration. You know why? It’s my 100th POST!!! I can’t even believe it. Crazy! I started this blog over 9 months ago and it has been such a joy. I have felt so blessed from all of my readers and their beautiful words of encouragement. You are the reason I am in the kitchen, experimenting and baking. These gluten free recipes are for all of you!
I have another pretty exciting reason to celebrate today. I have FINALLY come up with a recipe for light, fluffy gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes! I can’t even tell you how many vanilla cupcake recipes I have tried. Countless. They were either too dense, too tasteless, too gummy, or too crumbly. These my friends, are none of those things. The texture is perfect. The vanilla shines bright. Did I mention they are egg and dairy free too?
This vanilla cupcake recipe is so easy, as many of the ingredients you probably already have on hand. Look no further for a simple, go-to vanilla cupcake recipe. This is it!
- 1 3/4 cups Sarah's gluten free flour blend*
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk beverage
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup sunflower seed or grape seed oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance organic vegan buttery spread**
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk or almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper cupcake liners.
- Whisk together flour blend, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In separate bowl, stir together coconut milk, water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Slowly add to flour mixture, mixing until batter is smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place cupcakes on cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make buttercream, beat together shortening and vegan butter for 1 minute. Add sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons coconut milk and vanilla.
- Beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add another tablespoon or 2 of milk if needed. Beat buttercream until light and fluffy.
- Place in piping bag with large star tip and frost the cooled cupcakes. Best enjoyed within 1-2 days.
**I really like the Earth Balance organic whipped buttery spread. It has the best flavor/texture!
photo from original post 3.7.13
Happy 100th post, Sarah! Thank you SO much for continually making my vegan baking SO delicious!
Thank you! So glad you are enjoying my recipes!
Congrats on the 100th post Sarah. Your blog is amazing! I'm always telling my friends about it. Cant wait to taste Jens wedding cake!
Hi Sarah, maybe a silly question, but I am new to all of this! Is just plain Sunflower Oil the same as Sunflower Seed Oil?
Yes 🙂 You can also use organic canola oil too.
These were delicious! I have tried a few different recipes, with limited success. Even the "gluten eaters" couldn't tell! Thank you so much for sharing!
Yay! So glad to hear you enjoyed them!
I'm making these right now! They're delicious! I didn't have the sunflower seed oil so I substituted with coconut oil and they turned out just fine. Thanks, Sarah!
Thank you! I will have to try them next time with coconut oil…I'm sure the flavor would be fantastic!!!
I made this frosting last night minus the shortening, thinking the coffee creamer would taste divine in them. Wow! So cool! They are so yummy. They set well without shortening if they go in the fridge right away! Yum!
And I hadn't even read this! Stumbled on it today. Great minds think alike 😉
how funny! I love using the coffee creamer in frosting…so good!
Hello Sarah, Do you have a basic gluten free, vegan cake recipe. A recipe that I can transform to anything, like a rum cake, etc???
I am so excited to have found your site! My 5 year old daughter is very allergic to eggs so I do a lot of baking 🙂 And now, we are also avoiding gluten so your recipes are perfect! I am excited to bake these cupcakes! Do you think that I could use the same recipe and make it into a cake?
hello, so im new to the gluten free and vegan baking…
I have a friend who cant eat gluten and she asked me if i can make some gluten free cupcakes. Just wondering is there a difference between gluten free and vegan? or is it pretty much the same?
Help! I am baking these as a birthday surprise for a child in my daughter's class who is allergic to soy, nuts, wheat, eggs and dairy. Due to limited GF supplies where I live I had to use all brown rice flour and guar gum in the basic mix. The batter thickened up tremendously even before I had finished my one minute stirring.
Now the cupcakes are over half baked and the batter hasn't really changed shape from it's pre-baked form.
Any thoughts or advice? I followed the directions to the letter and am an avid baker.
I have 2 days before the party…. Many thanks!
Unfortunately with gluten free baking, you cannot use all of one flour. They will be too dense and the texture will be off. With gluten free, it's about getting the texture just right! You need a mixture of flours and starches. My flour blend is a balance of the two. I'm sorry they didn't turn out for you. If you can purchase another gluten free all-purpose blend, you can use that (just make sure it has the xanthan gum already added). Please let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi. Thanks so much for the reply. I followed the recipe for your flour mix and used all of the flours – tapioca, potato, rice, etc., but subbed the sorghum for more brown rice for the 'lighter' blend as I am making cakes. Did I misunderstand the 'lighter blend' recipe? (no white rice flour here) I also had to use guar gum as I am in Africa and GF/vegan supplies are very very limited.
The batter was super thick and not pourable, as the recipe suggested. It never really changed shape and was more like a British steamed pudding in texture. I really appreciate your getting back to me.
The party is one day away and I am running out of options… Thanks!
Hi! I am going to make this frosting for my daughters birthday party for her cupcakes, and I was wondering, if this pipes well and stays at room temperature? (Ive tried a couple other frosting recipes and they turned to mush at room temp! Thanks!
This frosting holds up great at room temperature! I actually like to make the frosting the day before and then frost them the day of the event, if I'm trying to save time. I always keep it at room temp.
Hi there! Thanks for this lovely looking recipe!! Just wondering if an alternative DF milk would be suitable or if there is something about the coconut milk that the cupcake needs to 'work'? I'm always a bit nervous about egg free cupcakes but I'd love to give it a try with rice or oat milk.
Made these tonight…amazing! I used rice milk but they still turned it yummy (:
Hi Sarah. I made these the other day but did not use the lighter blend flour as you suggested. They did not come out so great. They were cooked when I inserted a toothpick in the centre but when I took them out the cupcake cases, they were not cooked on the bottom. Could this be as a result of not using the lighter blend flour? The chocolate cupcakes were a great success!
Sonja Brandt says
Help, I am trying to make these. They look great after 10 minutes in the oven, but are still pale and not cooked. When they are cooked through they are sunken in the middle and overflowing the cupcake cups. What am I doing wrong?
I'm not sure what could be causing them to do this. Did you overfill the cupcake cups? That is usually what causes them to overflow.
Hi! A little help please. I've looked for the potato starch at Fresh & Easy, Trader Joe's & Sprouts but no luck. Can I use something else? Thanks!
I've bought potato starch at Sprout's many times. They may just be out. I also order it online from amazon for a better deal. Unfortunately, there isn't a good substitute in my flour blend.
Jim peabbles says
In this recipe would you use 140g = 1 cup, or 245grams total?
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Miriam Castanho Bollinger says
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. I am going to serve it for my youngest' birthday party as he is allergic to wheat and my older is allergic to eggs. This recipe is perfect and really tasty. Thanks again.
Thanks so much for this & your chocolate cupcake recipe! I am making them now and they turned out great – even with me having to change things a bit to make do with what I had at the house. I combined the batter when I was putting it into the cupcake liners and the marbeld cupcakes taste great. Now I get to try making the icing. Thanks for all the work you had to do to get these recipes to turn out so well!
I made these, adding 1/2 cup more milk to the batter after having trouble with the chocolate cake batter being too thick. Although the batter was still on the thick side, I had more success with spooning this batter evenly into the cups, resulting in an even rise. They rose nice and high, with a nice texture and fine crumb. The color is very white and the flavor is wonderful! I may try adding a little more liquid next time to see how that further affects the texture. These weren't almost gummy/marshmallow-y like the chocolate ones I baked. I think when I up the milk in the chocolate recipe, it will turn out great as well 🙂 I'm not sure why I seem to need extra liquid for good results. Overall, I'm loving these recipes as a base to experiment on.
Okay, I made a novice mistake when mixing the gluten free mix. Upon making more of the mixture, I realized I originally added TABLEspoons of xanthan gum and not teaspoons! Oh no! I made them again using the new mix and the batter was perfect. The cupcakes baked beautifully! Thanks for the recipe!
I have a couple of questions about this recipe. I made the flour mix exactly as suggested (white rice flour substituting the sorghum). I doubled the milk as Angel recommended in the comment above because I found my first attempt made super thick batter that produced a wet and dense, spongy cupcake. Increasing the liquid helped in my next attempt, though the batter was still a bit thick and made a less dense, but still slightly spongy cupcake. I did half sugar and half coconut sugar for the 1 cup of cane sugar (I dont like the cupcake too sweet).
Could the coconut sugar be causing the sponginess?
Will reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe affect the outcome?
Is it necessary to beat the batter for one minute?
Also, is it better to leave the cupcakes to cool on a rack in the pan or out of the pan?
I have tried this recipe three times now and am determined to make it as great as possible for my sons party this weekend. Any suggestions you can offer from your own trial and error attempts with cupcakes and this recipe? I really want the light and fluffy texture this recipe promises! 🙂
I am not too sure what is happening with the batter. I have made this recipe countless times for birthdays and even for weddings. I've never had an issue with the batter being too thick. I wouldn't recommend doubling the milk as it will make it much more gummy/spongy. Are you using 1/2 cup of the carton coconut milk and 1/2 cup water? Did you by any chance use "sweet white rice" instead of white rice flour? The coconut sugar can change the texture a bit. If you do cut the sugar down, it will change the texture, but only if you cut it significantly. It is better to cool the cupcakes out of the pan. I'm not sure what else to recommend. I can only guarantee the texture of the cupcakes if recipe is followed. Let me know if you have any more questions!
Thank you Sarah. I will try again and stick to the 1/2 cup of carton coconut milk (not doubling it). I did include the water and used regular white rice flour (not sweet). I will report back with a success story 🙂
* My batter is scoopable, not pourable, so I hope I can trust that this is the correct consistency!
This is the part when I say that you are absolutely right. When I follow the ingredients, etc EXACTLY, then the cupcakes WILL turn out and they DID! 😀 I needed more flour mix, so I followed the GF mix directions again and noticed something really important. I completely forgot about the potato starch in my first mix!! No wonder the cupcakes kept turning out dense! So I made a need GF flour batch and tried the cupcakes again (this time for the birthday party I was counting on these cupcakes for!) and they turned out beautifully! They were a hit with raving reviews (the icing too)! Even my sis-in-law loved them (a rare occurance when it comes to all things GF), THANK YOU SARAH!
Could you make this into a cake? Is it okay to use arrowroot instead of tapioca? I made your breakfast cookies and they were great. And I want to make this for my bday later this year.
Instead of tapioca flour in you mix could you use arrowroot?
could i use bobs red mill gf all-purpose flour mix and would they still turn out white? I haventt had a white cupcake or cake sence my fam went gf.
I made your GF Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes a couple of week ago, and now these. Turned out perfect! Thanks you.
I love your recipes! I am gf and have many friends who are somewhere along the way to vegan (some can't have eggs, some dairy, some are actually vegans) so I really appreciate being able to find a trove of recipes that work for both! I tend to sub in GlutenFreeOnAShoeString's better than c4c blend (I use soy milk powder in place of the milk powder her blend calls for) and I find this improves the texture a bit. Every recipe of yours I have tried has wowed my vegan, non-vegan, gf, and non-gf friends alike. Especially when compared to the recipes I had subjected them to before I found yours – it is a miracle they tried anything after some of them. Those were pretty general comments, but I have a specific one for this recipe…
I have been looking for an occasion to make these vanilla cupcakes, but an occasion to make lime cupcakes came first. I subbed in the juice of 1 lime for some of the water, and reduced the vinegar to 1tsp when I saw how much just the lime juice curdled the "milk". Added the zest from that same lime, and subbed lemon/lime/orange extracts for the vanilla. They smell great and I cannot wait to try them! I was hoping you would have a lemon or lime cupcake recipe, and although your orange creamsicle cupcake recipe looked great, orange juice is so much less acidic than lime juice that other adjustments were necessary. It is such a pleasure to have great bases to start from, and yours afford great flexibility! Keep up the great work!
The best gluten, dairy, and egg free vanilla cupcake I’ve ever made!!! My family totally agrees. I used my chocolate frosting recipe. Thanks for the great recipe! Looking forward to try more.
The best gluten, dairy, and egg free vanilla cupcake I’ve ever made!!! My family totally agrees. I used your flour blend and used my chocolate frosting recipe. Thanks for the great recipe! Looking forward to try more.
yay! so glad to hear to enjoyed them!
Does this recipe work well as a cake? I’ve had a friend ask for a yellow GF wedding cake (three tiers).
Yep! It would work great! I would recommend doubling the recipe and then splitting the batter between 3 8-inch round cake pans.
Dealing with a 1 year old’s birthday party who is dairy free, nut & tree nut free. He can have soy and gluten, though. Can I use regular flour as opposed to a gluten free mix? How about soy milk to sub the coconut milk?
Thanks in advance 🙂
You can certainly give it a try, but it hasn’t been tested with this recipe. I would use a little less to start with.
Could I use a store bought gluten free flour blend? Which brand?
Do u mean coconut milk from a can or from the refrigerator section?
Thanks for the recipe! I ended up using Bob mills GF baking flour 1/1. Almond milk (no coconut milk on hand). and Olive oil since I didnt have coconut oil… The cupcakes looked much better than a previous recipe I tried – smooth on top. They tasted pretty good too I think (I’m new to GF/Vegan since my daughter was diagnosed w/food allergies). Reminded me of mochi actually mixed w/sponge cake. Since this is the first time I’ve had a GF vegan cupcake – is this the typical texture? I enjoyed it (I eat a lot of mochi though). Thanks!
WILL this recipe work for a tier cake?
It sure will!
Can you please tell me – is the cane sugar granules or a syrup?
Can I use xylitol instead of sugar?
I haven’t tested the recipe with xylitol, but because it is a dry sugar alternative, it should work well. It may change the texture a bit.