GLUTEN FREE VEGAN VANILLA CUPCAKES {gluten, dairy, egg, nut & soy free, vegan}

These simple vegan vanilla cupcakes are the perfect mid-week treat: quick and easy to make, as well as ridiculously delicious. At the same time, they can easily be tweaked to be the centrepiece at any celebration. I’m sure these gluten free vegan cupcakes will become your favourite go-to cupcake recipe!

Gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes in plain white cupcake liners on a blue plate. They are decorated with swirls of vegan vanilla frosting and colourful sprinkles. The cupcake in the front has had its cupcake liner partially removed.

It’s my birthday today. And if you asked me how old I am… give me a minute. Or two. My age seems to be something that I never remember – probably because I don’t find it all that important. But, if you’re wondering (and you probably aren’t): I’m 24.

I don’t feel 24. I remember thinking, when I was about 14, how adult and mature 24-year-olds appear. 10 years later, I’m still a student (PhD student, but a student all the same) at Oxford – and if there’s one thing about Oxford, with it’s old buildings and spires, hordes of students and tourists (and let’s not forget the squirrels)… it’s that it keeps you in a bubble. I’ve been in Oxford for 6 years now, first as an undergraduate and now as a postgraduate – and the bubble persists. 

It’s a bit different now at least, with the blogging – it forces me to poke my head out of the Oxford bubble and the Chemistry haze that I was in during undergraduate years, when even in sleep I couldn’t escape chemical reactions and molecular structures that were floating through my mind. Nowadays, I often fall asleep to the images of brownies and salted caramel, only to find myself dreaming about the science of baking powder vs baking soda.

But I think this feeling is shared by many of my generation – this feeling that adulting is hard and what does it mean to be an adult anyway? We’ll figure it out eventually, I’m sure. (Fingers crossed and knock on wood.)

Anyway, because it’s my birthday I thought these vegan vanilla cupcakes were the perfect thing to share with you today. (It’s mostly because there’s sprinkles and in my mind sprinkles = celebration.)

Gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes in plain white cupcake liners on a blue plate. They are decorated with swirls of vegan vanilla frosting and colourful sprinkles.

We’ve been on something of a vegan baking adventure lately. haven’t we? First, with the decadently delicious vegan chocolate cake, and then with the chocolate overload that were these vegan chocolate cupcakes.

No chocolate today, surprisingly enough. Just the gentle flavour of vanilla. But that’s okay. It can’t always be all about a mountain of chocolate and salted caramel – sometimes, subtle and delicate is the way to go.

And these vegan vanilla cupcakes are all that and more. The vegan vanilla sponge is buttery and rich – even though it contains no butter or eggs. There is none of that annoying denseness that often accompanies vegan baking; instead the cupcakes are fluffy, light and moist with a wonderful golden colour (for which I’m not quite sure where it comes from – but hey, who’s complaining).

Gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes in plain white cupcake liners on a blue plate. They are decorated with swirls of vegan vanilla frosting and colourful sprinkles. The cupcake in the front has had its cupcake liner partially removed and a bite has been take out of it, exposing its fluffy interior.

The frosting is simplicity itself, with only 3 ingredients: coconut cream, powdered sugar and vanilla paste. They are whipped into what is basically a fluffy cloud of sweet vanilla goodness and I could, quite honestly, eat this vegan frosting with a spoon.

Some colourful sprinkles finish off the vegan vanilla cupcakes – and doesn’t that burst of colour just bring a smile to your face?

I think we can all agree that this vegan cupcake recipe is the very definition of quick and easy. With only very simple ingredients (that you can easily get in pretty much any grocery store) and requiring less that 45 minutes, you can whip up these lovelies even in the middle of the week when a cupcake craving strikes.

But at the same time, they are fun and fancy enough for any party or celebration – by just changing the sprinkles and cupcake liners you use, they can be either a wedding centrepiece, or a  kids party treat.

So there you have it: simple gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes, easily adaptable for all occasions, as well as quick and easy to make. What’s not to love?

Gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes in plain white cupcake liners on a blue plate. They are decorated with swirls of vegan vanilla frosting and colourful sprinkles. The cupcake in the front has had its cupcake liner partially removed.

Gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes in plain white cupcake liners on a blue plate. They are decorated with swirls of vegan vanilla frosting and colourful sprinkles. The cupcake in the front has had its cupcake liner partially removed.
4.75 from 4 votes
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Gluten Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (Gluten, Dairy & Egg Free)

These vegan vanilla cupcakes are the perfect mid-week treat: quick and easy to make, as well as ridiculously delicious. At the same time, they can easily be tweaked to be the centrepiece at any celebration – these gluten free vegan cupcakes are bound to become your favourite go-to cupcake recipe!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Author Kat | The Loopy Whisk

Ingredients

For gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes:

    DRY:

    • 2 2/3 cups (320 g) gluten free flour
    • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) caster sugar (Note 1)
    • pinch of salt
    • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tsp baking soda

    WET:

    • 1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
    • 2 cups (480 mL) non-dairy milk (for instance coconut milk, rice milk or almond milk if not sensitive to nuts)
    • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

    For vegan vanilla frosting:

    • 2 1/2 cups (500 g) coconut cream (Note 2)
    • 4 1/2 cups (500 g) powdered sugar, sifted (Note 1)
    • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
    • sprinkles (optional)

    Instructions

    For gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes:

    1. Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line a cupcake baking tin with 12 cupcake liners.

      If you're uncertain about the quality of your cupcake liners, brush the inside with some vegetable oil for easier cupcake liner removal when eating.

    2. Mix all dry ingredients together.

    3. Mix the wet ingredients together, and add them to the dry ingredients. Stir well, until you get a smooth cupcake batter.

    4. Transfer the cupcake batter into the cupcake liners, so that you fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 30 - 35 minutes or until the tops are springy/bouncy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

      While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the vegan vanilla frosting.

    5. Allow to cool.

    For vegan vanilla frosting:

    1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer with the double beater attachment, beat the coconut cream until smooth and slightly increased in volume.

    2. Add the powdered sugar. Gradually increase the mixer speed from low (at the beginning while the powdered sugar is being incorporated into the coconut cream) to high. Beat at high speed for about 5 - 10 minutes, or until the frosting is fluffy and increased in volume.

    3. Add the vanilla paste and mix until evenly incorporated.

    Assembly:

    1. Using a piping nozzle of choice (I've used this Wilton Round Decorating Tip No. 1A (affiliate link) – it's a favourite!), pipe the vegan vanilla frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes.

    2. Decorate with sprinkles of choice, and enjoy!

    Storage:

    1. The gluten free vegan vanilla cupcakes keep well in a closed container in a cool dry place for about 3 - 4 days.

    Recipe Notes

    Note 1: If you’re a vegan who’s concerned about bone char used in refining sugar, you can see a list of companies that don’t use bone-char filters on the PETA website.

    Note 2: You can get coconut cream by putting coconut milk (with a high coconut content and without too many stabilisers/preservatives) into the fridge for a few hours – without shaking! The coconut milk will separate into coconut cream (that you'll need in this recipe) and coconut water (which is great in smoothies).

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    Gluten Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes {gluten, dairy, egg, nut & soy free, vegan} - These vegan vanilla cupcakes are the perfect mid-week treat: quick and easy to make, as well as ridiculously delicious. At the same time, they can easily be tweaked to be a wedding centrepiece or a kids party treat. These gluten free vegan cupcakes are bound to become your favourite go-to cupcake recipe! The perfect vegan dessert recipe. #vegan #vanilla #cupcakes #dessert #recipe

    Gluten Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes {gluten, dairy, egg, nut & soy free, vegan} - These vegan vanilla cupcakes are the perfect mid-week treat: quick and easy to make, as well as ridiculously delicious. At the same time, they can easily be tweaked to be a wedding centrepiece or a kids party treat. These gluten free vegan cupcakes are bound to become your favourite go-to cupcake recipe! The perfect vegan dessert recipe. #vegan #vanilla #cupcakes #dessert #recipe

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    22 Comments

      1. Hi Naim! In my experience, using apple cider vinegar isn’t necessary, as the baking powder contains acidic ingredients that will also react with the baking soda. This, together with the heat-activation in the oven, is more than enough to produce moist, perfectly fluffy cupcakes.

      1. Hi Bernice! Glad you like the cupcakes 🙂 I use a store-bought GF flour blend, it contains rice, potato and maize flour. Unfortunately I don’t know the precise percentages of each… But I’ve made these cupcakes also with other (store-bought) blends, for instance one that contained rice, potato, maize, buckwheat and tapioca flour and they turned out just as delicious! Hope this helps 🙂

      1. Hi Daniella! I haven’t made this in cake form, but it should definitely work. I’ve never tried a dairy free Swiss meringue buttercream, but maybe give it a try with one of the vegan butter alternatives? I usually don’t recommend those because they are quite highly processed, but as a treat now and then they’re perfectly fine – and probably your best bet for making nice butter-free buttercream. 😉

    1. Thank you for the recipe, looking forward to making them. Thinking of leaving out the frosting but maybe putting in additional ingredients such as raisins, cranberries or dairy free chocolate chips into the batter. Have you tried this before? Just worried it might affect how the cake rises!

      1. Hi Veronica, I’ve never tried adding things like chocolate chips or cranberries to the batter, but it should work with no problems, so long as the add-ins aren’t wet (I don’t recommend adding chopped apples, for instance). Love your ideas, the flavours should work really well!

    2. Hi!

      This looks great! I’m trying to recreate a childhood cake of mine for my family. But I was wondering what brand of gf flour you used? They all work so differently.

      1. Hi Brytanny! I’m glad you like the recipe – I’ve made it with two different GF flour blends so far. I’m in the UK and I use either the Aldi “The Foodie Market” GF flour mix or Tesco’s Doves Farm plain GF flour. If you’re not in the UK, the first contains rice + potato + maize flour, the second rice + potato + maize + buckwheat + tapioca flour. So any GF flours that have a similar composition should work with no problems!

    3. Can you sub the Caster sugar with anything? Would maple syrup work? I am making these for some people with specific allergies and dietary restrictions. Coconut palm sugar is out. I also try to avoid white sugar when baking. Thanks!

      1. I was going to suggest coconut sugar, but I see that’s not an option either. The problem with maple syrup (or honey) is that they are liquid sweeteners and can make the cupcakes a bit denser. I would try it first with maple syrup on a slightly smaller quantity (e.g. 3 cupcakes) just to see what happens. If the cupcakes come out too dense, increase the amount of GF flour and baking powder slightly, to counteract the added liquid from the maple syrup. 🙂

    4. Hi! I am new to vegan cooking and was wondering:
      1) the coconut milk you mention first are the ones typically stored near the cows’ milk- ?
      2) the second coconut milk you mention (to make the coconut cream) is in the cans- ?
      Thanks!

      1. Yep, the 1st coconut milk is the one you typically get in a carton, much like almond or soy milk. The 2nd one is canned coconut milk, with a much higher coconut content (50%+).

    5. Hello, I will be making this tonight for my husband’s 24th birthday. I do not want to use vegetable oil, what would you recommend as a replacement? I was thinking apple sauce. (:

      1. Hi! I’ve never substituted oil with apple sauce, so I can’t be sure whether it works. If (melted and cooled) coconut oil is an option, it’s probably a “safer” choice. Hope it goes well, and happy birthday to you husband! 🙂

    6. This is a fantastic recipe for pineapple upside-down cake! I just used it for the cake part, trying to GF/Veganize it. My husband has not liked a single GF item I have made–and the general population has. HE LIKED IT. I made 6 mini-bundt cakes (3″ diameter?) and a small loaf. I had batter left over–I think I could have made a regular sized loaf. I wish I could post a picture because they are GORGEOUS!

      1. What a wonderful idea, Mary, to use it for pineapple upside-down cakes! I’m so glad you (and your husband) loved the recipe, your comment made my day! 🙂

    7. It’s my first time trying this recipe and my cupcakes exploded. Any suggestions as to why this happened? I’m new to the gluten free thing. Thanks!

      1. Hi Carla! When you say “exploded”, do you mean that the batter went everywhere, rather than forming a slight dome at the top? If that’s the case, it could be two things: (1) too much baking soda/powder – make sure your gluten free flour blend doesn’t already contain raising agents, and (2) the oven temperature is too low – often, ovens are incorrectly calibrated, and can be off by as much as 20-30 degrees! To check, you can use an oven thermometer. Hope this helps! 🙂

    8. I tried making these today, and the texture is a bit gummy. Is that how they are supposed to be? I’ve not made any gluten free, vegan baked goods previously, so I’m unsure if I did something wrong or if that’s how it’s supposed to be.

      1. Hi Nicole, the texture shouldn’t be gummy. It could be because you’ve used too much xanthan gum. Have you checked whether your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan? If it does, there’s no need to add more! Hope this helps 🙂

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