What started as a quest to perfect vegan gluten-free pound cake morphed into creating the most perfect vanilla cupcake we’ve laid taste buds on. Friends, these vegan vanilla cupcakes are a must-try: 1 bowl, 10 ingredients, naturally sweetened, and gluten-free. Let us show you how it’s done!
Gluten-Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
These cupcakes start with mixing the wet ingredients. Almond milk replaces dairy milk, applesauce replaces eggs, and avocado oil locks in the moisture.
Maple syrup adds sweetness, and we included a generous amount of vanilla extract for BIG vanilla flavor.
Next, the dry ingredients are added to the same bowl, minimizing the mess!
A mix of gluten-free flours is key to creating the perfect cupcake texture. Almond flour smells just like cake and provides a crumb texture. Potato starch makes them light and fluffy. And cornstarch adds structure.
For leavening, we included baking powder, and for more flavor, we added sea salt.
After baking and cooling, they’re ready to eat! They’re delicious on their own or topped with your favorite frosting, like our Classic Buttercream Frosting, Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting, Date-Sweetened Chocolate Frosting, or Coconut Whipped Cream.
We hope you LOVE these cupcakes! They’re:
& Just like the real thing!
They’re perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or any time you’re craving a sweet treat!
More Vegan Cupcake Recipes
- The Best Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes (Vegan + GF)
- 1-Bowl Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes
- Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (Gluten-Free)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dairy-free milk (we used almond milk)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups almond flour (the closest sub would be cashew flour, or a mix of coconut flour and a GF blend, but we haven't tested it this way and can't promise good results!)
- 3/4 cup potato starch* (not potato flour)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch*
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line a standard-size muffin tin with cupcake liners (we prefer these ones). Cupcake liners are preferable over greasing the pan because they prevent the sides from browning too much and yield a prettier result. But in a pinch, lightly grease instead.
- To a large mixing bowl, add dairy-free milk, applesauce, avocado oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
- Add almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, baking powder, and sea salt and whisk again until well incorporated and no lumps remain. The texture should be thick and look similar to cornbread batter (see photo). If too thick, thin with a little more dairy-free milk. If too thin, add a little more almond flour.
- Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners filling a generous 3/4 of the way full. Recipe as written makes 12 cupcakes.
- Bake on the center rack for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, they are golden brown on the very edges, the tops appear dry, and they spring back a bit when touched or pressed (rather than deflating). It’s better to slightly over-bake than under-bake these cupcakes to avoid gumminess.
- Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to let cool completely.
- Once cooled, option to top with frosting of choice. These subtly sweet cupcakes pair nicely with a sweeter frosting such as our classic buttercream frosting, vegan chocolate ganache frosting, date-sweetened chocolate frosting or vegan strawberry frosting. For a lighter option, try lightly-sweetened coconut whipped cream and fresh berries.
- Best when enjoyed within the first 24-48 hours after baking. Store leftovers covered at room temperature for 1-2 days or in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 1 month.
*In place of cornstarch, arrowroot may work.
*If not gluten-free, you can try subbing ~1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour in place of the almond flour, potato starch, and cornstarch.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without frosting.