These gluten-free vanilla cupcakes are fluffy, light, and moist with a delicate crumb. They have a delicious classic vanilla taste and are perfect paired with a rich chocolate buttercream frosting. This cupcake recipe is also dairy free!
There is honestly nothing better in my opinion than the simplicity of a vanilla cupcake, and while I already have a dairy free vanilla cupcake recipe and a vegan vanilla cupcake recipe, it was about time we had something just as delicious but also free from gluten.
And let me start by saying that I am SO excited about these gluten free vanilla cupcakes! They have a soft, delicate crumb and a rich vanilla flavour that you would expect from any cupcake, not just one that is free from gluten. They are perfectly sweet, with a subtle buttery taste that perfectly complements the vanilla flavour.
I have to admit I’ve always been a little bit intimidated by gluten free baking, but if you feel the same way, then this is the recipe for you! There are a few things we need to keep in mind when baking gluten free but this recipe is super approachable and will leave you with a delicious batch of cupcakes that you wouldn’t even know do not contain gluten.
Make sure to read through the post in full before getting started to understand why the ingredients we use and the method are important to ensure we get super soft and light cupcakes.
And as I already have two different vanilla cupcake recipes on the website that both have a vanilla buttercream, I thought these gluten free cupcakes deserved something different, so they have been topped with my favourite vegan chocolate buttercream. The result is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend this combination. But the decision is ultimately yours, and you can choose what flavour frosting suits you best (strawberry buttercream perhaps?).
For these gluten-free cupcakes we’re using a few essential ingredients that are going to mean these cupcakes are soft and light with a delicate crumb. The goal here is to make a delicious cupcake, not a delicious for a gluten-free cupcake.
- Gluten free plain flour – you don’t need to play around with any alternative flours or anything too complicated for this recipe, just your simple 1-1 gluten free flour from the supermarket works perfectly in this recipe.
- Dairy-free buttermilk – For this recipe and most of my cupcake recipes, I make a homemade dairy-free buttermilk substitute by combining a plant-based milk (my favourites are almond milk or oat milk) with white vinegar, but you could also use lemon juice.
- Baking powder and Bicarbonate of Soda – this recipe uses both to help these cupcakes rise and help create the light and fluffy texture we want. This works as the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) will react with the dairy-free buttermilk (acid), while the baking powder will provide additional lift and help the cupcakes rise even further.
- Dairy-free butter and oil – for this recipe we are using dairy-free butter to add richness and flavour to the cupcakes, and oil to keep them moist and tender. The combination here is essential to getting the perfect texture crumb (one that isn’t dense and heavy) which can be more challenging without gluten.
- Vanilla extract – the most essential ingredient in these cupcakes for flavour, we’re using a whole tablespoon of vanilla!
To make these cupcakes, you’ll need an electric mixer, mixing bowls, rubber spatula and a muffin or cupcake pan. You’ll also need some cupcake liners and a piping bag and tip to decorate.
Start by preparing all of your ingredients including making your dairy-free buttermilk by mixing together the white vinegar and dairy free milk together. You can use any dairy free milk you like, but my preference when it comes to baking is always almond milk or oat milk for the best results.
Start by adding your dairy free butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat together until light and creamy. Add in the oil and continue mixing. It’s important to take this step to beat the butter well as this is going to help ensure we have a light and fluffy cupcake.
Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Again, this step is helping ensure the cupcakes are light and fluffy without gluten as in traditional cakes gluten is essential in creating a light and fluffy texture that we expect from baked goods which is why gluten free cakes are often dense in texture.
Next, mix through the vanilla extract before adding in the dry ingredients and the dairy free buttermilk and mix until a batter forms.
Fill the cupcake liners about half full and bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched. The tops of the cupcakes should be flat and not much higher than the liners to help support the frosting!
Make a batch of your desired frosting and pip onto the cupcakes once completely cooled and finish off with some rainbow sprinkles
These cupcakes will last at room temperature for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out. If the weather is hot or humid, you may want to store the cupcakes in the refrigerator instead.
Yes! If you want to keep your cupcakes longer a great option is to freeze them. To freeze, wrap each cupcake tightly with plastic wrap, making sure that it covers the entire surface of the cupcake, including the frosting. This will prevent any air from entering and keep the cupcakes fresh. Place the cupcakes in an airtight container or freezer-safe ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to eat the cupcakes, simply thaw them at room temperature for 1-2 hours, and enjoy as if they were freshly baked.
This recipe, as most of the recipes on my website, is also completely dairy free. Unfortunately I cannot suggest a vegan version of this recipe as I have not tested a replacement for the eggs which are essential for the overall texture of the cupcakes.
More gluten free desserts:
Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 60 grams dairy free butter
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup gluten free flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ cup dairy free milk
- ½ tablespoon white vinegar
For the chocolate buttercream:
- 125 grams dairy-free butter
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 3 ½ cups icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch salt
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, and a second with 2 liners (this recipe yields 14 cupcakes total).
- In a small bowl, create your buttermilk alternative by adding the white vinegar to the dairy free milk. Mix well and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to cream together the sugar, dairy-free butter, and canola oil until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix through the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the gluten-free plain flour, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the dairy-free buttermilk, and mix until the batter is smooth.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling each about half full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the chocolate buttercream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat dairy-free butter and vanilla for 1-2 minutes until creamy.
- Add in half of the icing sugar and beat on medium until combined. Add in the cocoa powder and remaining icing sugar and continue to mix. As the mixture thickens, add in dairy-free milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is thick and creamy. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
- Place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with your favourite tip and pipe generous swirls onto the cooled cupcakes. Finish with some rainbow sprinkles and enjoy!
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.