My BEST EVER Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe… With a light and fluffy sponge, they are exactly what they should be… Ready to be decorated and devoured. Optional dairy free.
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Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes – An essential recipe for every baker
Every baker needs a good Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes recipe. It’s a basic necessity… right? Because Vanilla Cupcakes are not only delicious, but they are the most versatile base for dressing up on any occasion.
My BEST EVER Vanilla Cupcakes have been reworked to produce the perfect crumb… And yet they are also robust enough to core and fill, turn into party ‘butterflies’ or simply slather with buttercream, cream or ganache. No compromise. Because at Gluten Free Alchemist, we won’t ever accept anything that tastes ‘gluten free’ (even when it’s completely Coeliac-safe).
Are these Cupcakes easy to make?
The process of making my gluten free cupcakes is no different to making ‘standard’ vanilla cupcakes… The only difference is the need to use safe gluten free ingredients and flours. Other than that, the creaming, mixing and baking is just the same.
What gluten free flour should be used to make Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes?
For an optimum cupcake sponge texture (that you won’t tell is gluten free), I use a mix that contains a balanced plain white flour blend, some ground almonds (almond meal), a little xanthan gum and some baking powder for leavening. Although I always use my gluten free white baking blend A, a good alternative commercial blend should work fine. Blend A can be found at the bottom of my page ‘What is Gluten Free Flour?’. Or use a reputable blend such as Doves Freee plain white flour.
To ensure the cupcakes are safe for people with Coeliac Disease (Celiac), it is essential to make sure all ingredients are certified gluten free. In addition to the flour, double-check ALL ingredient labels for any risk from hidden gluten or ‘may contain’ warnings. If you are new to label-checking and cross-contamination, head over to my page ‘Coeliac Disease + Food’ and have a read.
Can I make these Vanilla Cupcakes dairy free as well as gluten free?
Yes! The only switches that you need to make for the Vanilla Cupcake sponge are to change the butter for a good dairy free alternative (such as Stork or Flora Baking Block). And to use dairy free yoghurt to loosen the batter.
Then… Make sure all frostings, buttercreams, decorations and sprinkles are both dairy free and gluten free.
What kind of vanilla is best for making Vanilla Cupcakes?
Vanilla Cupcakes need to taste like vanilla… The clue’s in the name. But it’s up to you whether you use vanilla extract, vanilla bean paste or vanilla powder. My personal favourite is vanilla bean paste, because it packs a flavour punch and blends well through the batter. I use the brand Nielsen-Massey. But whichever option you choose, try to use vanilla of good quality… PURE vanilla extract shouldn’t have additives or preservatives and will be completely natural in flavour.
If possible, avoid using the cheaper vanilla ‘essence’ or ‘flavouring’, which are artificial in how they taste.
How to decorate Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
How you choose to decorate your gluten free Vanilla Cupcakes is up to you, be it super-sparkly or a simple swirl (or slather) of buttercream. The cupcakes photographed have been topped with a delicious (less sweet) custard buttercream and some colourful gluten free chocolate buttons. You can find the recipe for my Custard Buttercream here (just scroll to the bottom of the linked post).
However, we also have several other frosting, topping, cream and ganache recipes on the blog, which are linked in the ‘Sweet Extras’ Index.
For something a little bit special, why not ‘core’ your Vanilla Cupcakes and turn them into Gluten Free Trifle Cupcakes? The sponge used is the same recipe, so I know that it is robust enough to core and fill as you wish.
Obviously, it is essential to check any labels to be certain that all sprinkles are gluten free. Sadly, they are notorious for containing wheat starch (which is not safe).
How many Cupcakes does this recipe make?
The recipe will make between 12 and 14 large cupcakes. I’ve not been completely specific as even large cupcake cases vary. And it’s really important not to over-fill if you want a nice neat ‘domed’ finish.
Or, you can use the same recipe to make lots of smaller cupcakes. But whatever size you choose, remember to ONLY fill the cases with batter two-thirds up. And if you make smaller cupcakes, remember they won’t take as long to bake.
Tips for Baking Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Although Vanilla Cupcakes are pretty easy to make, it’s always helpful to have a few tips up your sleeve. So…
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature and very soft before creaming with the sugar.
- Cream the butter with the sugar for longer than you think… Creaming for about 5 minutes ensures a smooth, pale, fluffy mix that will help create a light and tender cupcake.
- Do not use eggs straight from the fridge… They need to be brought to room temperature ahead of time so that they whisk perfectly. And beat them in very gradually to avoid curdling.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet using a light, high folding action, to maintain as much air as possible.
- As soon as the dry ingredients are combined, stop folding. If over-mixed, the sponge may become ‘tight’.
- Only fill the cupcake cases to two-thirds up. Too high and the batter may ‘overflow’ when baking.
- Don’t overbake… When done, the cupcakes should be a light golden colour. You can check their ‘doneness’ but gently pressing the top. If it springs back, they are good to go.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before decorating (unless you want frostings and toppings to melt into a dribble).
Storing and freezing gluten free Vanilla Cupcakes
The way to store vanilla cupcakes will depend on how they have been decorated. Basic cupcake sponge can be stored at room temperature and should be good for 3 to 4 days.
When decorated with either buttercream or ganache, the cupcakes can be stored for 2 to 3 days, also at room temperature. However, if topped with dairy cream or filled with custard, they should be refrigerated.
Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes (undecorated) can be frozen for up to 3 months.
However they are stored, make sure your cupcakes are in an airtight container.
Ready to make Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes?
And that’s all there is to it. The recipe for my Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes is at the bottom of this post (just scroll a little further). Enjoy.
Don’t forget to let me know if you make them. I always love when you leave a comment or rate the recipe. Ratings help the google ‘god’ know to share the recipe with other people too. Or you can find me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter (#glutenfreealchemist)).
For everything else head over to out huge Gluten Free Recipe Index. There’s so much inspiration on the blog, I’d hate you to miss out.
All shared with my love
Other gorgeous Gluten Free Cupcake Recipes you’ll love…
Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- cupcake tray and large cupcake cases
- 150 g plain GF flour blend eg. Gluten Free Alchemist Mix A see NOTES
- 50 g ground almonds (almond meal)
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum
- 2 tsp baking powder gluten free
- pinch fine sea salt
- 170 g unsalted butter or dairy free block alternative softened
- 170 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp vanilla paste)
- 70 to 80 g plain yoghurt (dairy or dairy free)
- Weigh and mix together the flour, ground almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt, making sure all lumps are broken down. TIP : weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously to blend. Set aside.
- Prepare a 12 hole cupcake tin by lining with medium to large cupcake cases and pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. (The mix will probably make 13 or 14 cupcakes dependent on the size of cases, so factor this in).
- Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
- Break the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork to combine. Gradually add to the butter mixture a little at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.
- Add the vanilla and yoghurt and beat again until smooth.
- Carefully fold in the dry ingredients until evenly combined (but be careful not to over-mix).
- Spoon the cake batter into the cupcake cases (no more than two-thirds full) and level the tops.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (dependent on cupcake size) until golden, the tops spring back to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Top with cream/buttercream/ganache/decorations of choice.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist