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.
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.
*We did not test other starches, but in place of potato starch, a blend of coconut flour and arrowroot starch may work. Or possibly oat flour. *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.