This is an easy small batch recipe for Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes. Made with an almond flour blend, the cupcakes are moist and tender with great vanilla flavor – perfect for an Easter, Spring, or any time of the year dessert! Maple syrup is the sweetener, making these cupcakes gluten free, and refined sugar-free!
Almond Flour GF Vanilla Cupcakes
Butter and Bliss is slowly testing gluten free baking. Emphasis on the slowly. For a myriad of reasons, but the primary being dietary adjustments. So, you will likely start to see more gluten free dessert recipes pop up. My goal is to maintain a healthy balance of gluten and gluten free recipes. Because, let’s face it, I don’t know that I could even come close to the deliciousness that is my Homemade Bagels.
Let’s talk about the flour in these cupcakes
First, I have a feeling my primary flour choice in the gluten free recipes will be blanched almond flour. But that is not to say that I don’t plan on testing dessert recipes with the 1:1 Gluten Free Flour blends. Why, you ask? I have a preference to almond flour over the rice flours and potato starch in the latter.
With that, I am finding that almond flour has to be blended with other flours to get the right baked good texture. Right now I use:
- Blanched Almond Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Arrowroot Flour/Starch
- Tapioca Flour/Starch
Almond Flour – The base flour, and (in my opinion) should always be super fine and blanched. This means the flour is ground as fine as it can be (before turning into butter), and the skins are removed.
Coconut Flour – Ground from dried coconut meat, coconut flour is super absorbent. Therefore, it will always be blended with other flours. The reason why I like using it – its absorbency allows me to swap in liquid refined sugar-free sweeteners like maple syrup or honey.
Arrowroot Flour/Starch – Flour and starch are used interchangeably in the package titles. Arrowroot aids in the tender texture we like in baked goods. Also while adding structure to the crumb.
Tapioca Flour/Starch – Another where flour and starch are used interchangeable in package titles. Tapioca adds a little more chew to the baked good – where normally we’d get that from gluten in all-purpose flour. And I have found in baked goods, it gives a ‘crisp’ exterior.
As I mentioned, I am just starting to test baking gluten free. Recipes and flours may evolve as I discover new things about this type of baking!
Easter & Spring Dessert
Now that we have all of the technicalities of the recipe out of the way, I’d like to point out that these Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes make a great dessert to celebrate Easter. Simply put – vanilla cupcakes are a great canvas to make beautiful and festive desserts.
To make the simple vanilla cupcakes a little more in line to the flavors you expect from Spring and Easter desserts, I encourage you to decorate the cupcakes with flavors (and sprinkles) in line with the celebration.
- Toasted Coconut – Every recipe roundup I have seen for Easter desserts includes at least one recipe with coconut. And in my opinion, if you use shredded coconut, it should be toasted. It brings out a buttery sweet flavor that is perfect to sprinkle on top of – well, anything!
- Festive Sprinkles – I am known to love sprinkles for holiday dessert decorations. Just check out the Funfetti Cupcakes. You can never go wrong with cute bunny and carrot sprinkles.
- Candy – I think after Halloween, Easter may be the next important candy holiday. I mean, think about it. Both holiday’s use a basket to accumulate gobs of candy. So go ahead and throw some jelly beans on top of the frosting. It’s almost expected!
Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcake Features:
- Easy – I’m going to go as far as to say these cupcakes are super duper easy to make. Only one bowl, a whisk, and you’re well on your way to delicious cupcakes!
- Moist – There is a lot of liquid and good fat in these cupcakes. Which lend to the soft texture of the cupcakes. And, in my opinion, I find baking with almond flour imparts a bit of moisture to the baked good. Could just be my palate though.
- Tender – The cupcakes are not tough or gummy. The almond flour does impart a stronger texture and bite to the cupcake, but they still have the soft quality you come to expect with cupcakes.
- Balanced Vanilla Flavor – A vanilla cupcake, it should taste like vanilla. And these do. Which make them great for any flavor of frosting or decor you want to adorn them with!
- Easy – Oh, wait … I mentioned that. But it is worth repeating.
Great news – the frosting I have recommended in the recipe is dairy-free. Can you see where this recipe for vanilla cupcakes has the potential to be – dare I say – healthier?! I’m not going that far yet, because the Vanilla Butter-Free Frosting reco may be dairy-free, but it has (a bit) of powdered sugar.
And while the frosting is made with canned coconut milk and coconut oil, it does not taste like coconut. But you can feel good about your flavor theme if you use this frosting with some toasted coconut on top!
Though, if you want to be on the healthier side for these cupcakes, you can swap frosting for a Whipped Coconut Cream. Just know it is like whipped cream, so it won’t be as sturdy, and you may just want to dollop it on.
Make It Vegan
With all of these dietary adjustments I’m making personally, going full vegan is not part of the plan. I like cheese too much.
However, if you want to try your hand at this cupcake recipe in vegan form, there are swaps for eggs. That means of course, you use a dairy free milk as well.
With all of my recipe research, I have seen bakers use ground flax seed mixed with water to make and ‘egg’. Without having tested it, my supposition is the texture and qualities of the flax egg mirror what a poultry egg does in baking. With that, I’m not going to even claim to know how they work or taste.
And as much as I don’t like to say, ‘google’ flax eggs, I’m going to have to. I don’t have enough wisdom to impart on the subject. But I am confident that you will find some outstanding vegan bakers that have a great recipe and guidance on how to make the swap!
What You Need To Make Gluten Free Cupcakes
- Blanched Almond Flour – I have provided links to my recommendations for flours in the recipe. I have been using Bob’s Red Mill for all of my gluten free flours because they are a brand I trust for quality.
- Coconut Flour
- Arrowroot Flour/Starch
- Tapioca Flour/Starch
- Baking Powder – I am finding you have to read the ingredients carefully on baking powder. Some may have gluten in them, so be sure to look for the ‘GF’ label on the package.
- Milk – I use carton unsweetened coconut milk. Though, any milk will work.
- Pure Maple Syrup – To keep it refined sugar-free, it should be real maple syrup – not pancake syrup. You could also swap in honey.
- Vanilla Extract
- Muffin/Cupcake Pan – Lined with 4 cupcake liners
- Medium Mixing Bowl – Yes – just one bowl! Yay!
Tips For Making Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- Use all of the recommended flours – I can’t say how the cupcakes will turn out if any are omitted.
- Whisk until combined – And just combined. I’ve read conflicting research where some bakers say to mix for a long time to impart air, and others that say too much air will have adverse side effects. I’ve tested both. Long mixing made my cupcakes sink in the middle.
- Longer bake time – A lot of gluten free baked goods take a little longer than those with gluten. So, if you are thinking 20 minutes is a long time for 4 cupcakes, it is needed. There is a bit more liquid in these cupcakes than normal, so we need to bake for longer to soak all of it up.
- Springy means done – To test if the cupcakes are done baking, a toothpick inserted in the middle still works. Though, I am slowly learning that when the cake/cupcake is springy to the touch, it is done. Tells me everything inside is baked to keep the structure.
- Frost how you like – I’ve provided a recommendation for frosting, but given these are little vanilla cupcakes, they can handle a variety of flavors!
- Enjoy the day they are baked – The cupcakes will keep at room temperature if you have leftover, but I find they taste the best the day they are baked. The moisture in the cupcakes can start to take over days after they are baked – which may lead to a gummy cupcake.
Well, there you have it. Our first gluten-free dessert on purpose! Needless to say, I’m excited to practice more!
More Small Batch Cupcake Recipes
- Small Batch Strawberry Cupcakes
- Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes
- Black Forest Cupcakes
- Mini Sweet Lemon Cakes
- Patriotic Berry Vanilla Cupcakes
Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 – Muffin/Cupcake Pan
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk, any kind (I use carton Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons cold pressed refined coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch/flour
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch/flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Toasted Coconut or Sprinkles (optional topping)
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line the muffin/cupcake pan with 4 cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, add the egg, milk, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk until fully incorporated.
- Sift, or sprinkle, all of the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined.
- Pour the cupcake batter equally into the prepared pan with liners. Bake the cupcakes for 20 – 22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Note – High altitude bakers – your cupcakes may not take the full time to bake. Start checking at 20 minutes.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan set on a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely. Frost the cupcakes with your favorite frosting, or the Vanilla Butter-Free Buttercream, sprinkle with toasted coconut or festive sprinkles, and Enjoy!
- Gluten Free Flour – I have only tested these cupcakes with the Almond Flour blend in the recipe. I can not say how much or how using a 1:1 Gluten Free Flour blend will work.
- Vegan Option – I have also not tested making the cupcakes vegan. Though, there are options for making a Flax Egg that may work as a substitute for the egg. Not having tested this myself, I recommend searching for a recipe you like.
- Refined Sugar-Free – Without the frosting, these cupcakes are refined sugar-free. For a totally refined sugar-free cupcake and frosting, use our Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream.