Easy Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

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These Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes are so good you may start making these cupcakes even if you’re not a gluten-free baker! They’re fully & moist and are topped with my favorite vanilla frosting.

A gluten free vanilla cupcake with blue vanilla frosting.

Homemade Gluten Free Cupcakes

Do you bake a lot of gluten-free desserts? Personally, I don’t, but sometimes I need to make a yummy dessert for a friend who can’t have gluten. That’s why I decided to create this gluten-free cupcakes recipe. It takes my favorite moist vanilla cupcakes and transforms them into gluten-free cupcakes that are fluffy and moist with a tender, springy crumb.

It’s hard to find good gluten-free desserts that don’t require a couple of different types of flour or other special ingredients. That’s why I like using a measure for measure gluten-free flour to replace a standard all-purpose flour. I dive into more detail below.

I’ve topped these cupcakes with my vanilla buttercream frosting, which is a super popular recipe. However, these cupcakes would also pair great with a chocolate frosting, or some whipped cream and berries.

several vanilla cupcakes with teal frosting and sprinkles

Why I Love this Recipe

  • It is very easy to prepare 
  • Doesn’t requires a ton of special ingredients
  • The texture closely resembles my popular vanilla cupcake recipe
an overhead shot of ingredients for vanilla cupcakes: milk, sugar, flour, eggs, sour cream, oil, vanilla

What You’ll Need

  • Dry ingredients: granulated sugar, gluten free all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt
  • Wet ingredients: vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, milk

Vegetable oil: I prefer oil-based cakes over butter-based cakes because oil tends to make cakes moister. It also makes the crumb and texture a bit more tender.

Sour cream: This is essential for keeping the cupcakes moist. If you don’t have sour cream. I recommend substituting with non-fat Greek yogurt. The recipe calls for light sour cream, but you can also use full-fat sour cream.

Measure for Measure Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

Let’s talk flour. The goal is to make this as easy as possible for you. That’s why I love using a measure to measure gluten-free flour. What does that mean? It means that it’s an exact replacement of regular flour for gluten-free flour(1 cup of regular flour = 1 cup of gluten-free flour). It also means the flour includes xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum is an important ingredient. It’s a stabilizer and binding agent used in gluten-free baking. It essentially acts like gluten would in traditional baked goods. 

Not all gluten-free flour contains xanthan gum. That’s why it’s important that you look for a cup-for-cup (also called 1:1) replacement, so you don’t have to buy additional ingredients. So check the packaging before you buy it!

My favorite gluten-free flour is from King Arthur, I think it has the best texture for gluten-free baking.  I have not developed this recipe with gluten-free flour that does not contain xanthan gum, so I don’t have a recommendation to provide if your flour does not contain it.

Important note! If preparing this recipe using a food scale, thus going by weight measurements, double check the weight measurement in grams for the actual gluten-free flour you are using and use the weight measurement according to the packaging so that it is equivalent to 2 1/2 cups because not all flour weights are equivalent. Over or under measuring the flour can affect the end results of the cupcake. 

Two cupcakes stacked, the one on top has a bite taken out of it

How to Make Gluten Free Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Beat together the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract until well incorporated. Next mix in the sour cream. 
  3. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: gluten free flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients, and half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  4. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, and the remaining milk. Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  5. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
an overhead shot of a glass mixing bowl and a teal hand mixer

Decorating your Cupcakes

I like to use vanilla buttercream frosting with this recipe. Add a few drops of food coloring and some sprinkles for an even fancier look!

There are two very important parts of my frosting recipe:

  • It starts with cold butter
  • I whip it for several minutes at each stage

I know cold butter sounds crazy, but it allows you to control the consistency of your frosting – no more runny frosting due to warm butter! Whipping the heck out of the butter makes it light, airy, and very easy to pipe. I also use heavy whipping cream which helps reduce the sweetness and helps achieve the fluffy texture.

You can flavor the frosting with your favorite extracts such as almond, lemon, or even peppermint. A little lemon or lime zest also does wonders.

A cupcake with teal frosting has a bite taken out of it

How Do I Store Frosted Cupcakes?

I store my cupcakes in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 3 days once they are frosted. If you live in a hot and humid environment, then I would suggest that you refrigerate cupcakes that are frosted and allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

Can I Freeze These?

I usually don’t freeze frosted cupcakes. Instead, I prefer to freeze unfrosted cupcakes, thaw, and add the frosting the day I am serving. I recommend flash freezing the cupcake on a baking sheet for 15 minutes then transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw to room temperature prior to frosting.

Can I Make This a Gluten Free Vanilla Cake?

Yes! You can make this as a 9-inch by 13-inch cake and halving the frosting recipe. Bake for approximately 25-32 minutes.

Vanilla cupcakes with teal frosting on a white cake plate

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An unwrapped vanilla cupcake with teal frosting and sprinkles

Easy Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes

Description

These Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes are super easy, even if you’re not a gluten-free baker! They’re fully & moist and are topped my favorite vanilla frosting.

Ingredients

For the cupcake:

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) light sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups (310 g) cup for cup gluten free all-purpose flour (see notes)
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296 ml) milk (I use nonfat)

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cup (339 g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 6 cups (780g) powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the dry ingredients, and half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, and the remaining milk. Beat on low speed until all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  6. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
  8. For the frosting: Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, beating until the butter is very fluffy.
  9. Alternate adding 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time with the liquid ingredients: vanilla extract & heavy cream. Ensure the powdered sugar is well combined, then and whip for 1-2 minutes before adding more powdered sugar.
  10. Finally, increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting. Pipe these cupcake with a large piping tip and top with sprinkles.

Notes

  • Important!!! Gluten-free flour: My preferred flour is King Arthur Measure for Measure GF Flour. If preparing this recipe using a food scale, thus going by weight measurements, double check the weight measurement in grams for the actual gluten free flour you are using and use the weight measurement according to the packaging so that it is equivalent to 2 1/2 cups. Not all flour weights are equivalent. Over or under measuring the flour can effect the end results.
  • Sour Cream: You can substitute the light sour cream for Greek yogurt. You can also use full-fat sour cream if needed.
  • To make 12-14 cupcakes, halve all the dry and wet ingredients, but use 2 whole eggs, 2/3 cups milk
  • Make this a cake: You can bake this as a 9-inch by 13-inch cake and halving the frosting recipe. Bake for approximately 25-32 minutes.
  • Storage suggestions: If you live in a hot and humid environment then I would suggest that you refrigerate cupcakes that are frosted and allow them to come to room temperature before serving. Otherwise they can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.
  • Make-ahead: These are best served within 2 days of preparation but will proper storage they can stay fresh for several days.
  • Freezing: If needed, flash-freeze the cupcakes on a baking sheet for 15 minutes than transfer them to an air-tight, freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator for several hours then bring to room temperature prior to serving. If possible, it’s best to store them unfrosted.
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
399
47g
119mg
18g
12g
58g
0g
3g
58mg
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: gluten free cupcakes, gluten free desserts, gluten free baking

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8 Responses
  1. Eliane

    Thank you for your recipe, great to have a gluten free cupcake with some moistness to it.

    I was happy to see the metric system with the measurements in brackets so I just focused on those. Sadly, I have to note that the calculations are off – I noticed it too late and had very liquid dough that you can hardly call a dough. I had to add loads of flour which turned out well in the end..but maybe not how it was intended. Please fix the numbers (ratio from flour (grams) to Milk (ml) is way off)

    Otherwise it is such a great recipe,
    thank you
    Eliane

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Thank you for your comments, I am glad you enjoyed these. Regarding the measurements these are correct. The batter for this cupcake is very very thin, but that is correct and the way it should be.

      The GF flour I use is 31g for 16 tablespoons (1/4 cup). So 2 ½ cups is 310g. But as noted, every brand will verify by weight, so it’s important to check the weight measurements on the packaging. Regarding the milk, 1 cup is 236ml, so 1 ¼ cup is correct at 296ml.

      If you look at the vanilla cupcake recipe this was based off of, you’ll see a video that shows the batter is quite thin and also the measurements are similar.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Any gluten-free measure for measure flour, containing xanthan gum will work and additional tips and suggestions are in the blog post and recipe card.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Any gluten-free measure for measure flour, containing xanthan gum will work and additional tips and suggestions are in the blog post and recipe card.

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