The absolute Best Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes ever, perfect for a wedding! Made with white rice flour and cornstarch, these are the softest, lightest, most buttery cupcakes and yet they have no butter or oil in them!
VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE VANILLA CUPCAKES
After posting my Vegan Wedding Cake, I received the kindest and most supportive comments I’ve ever received on a post (besides my cookbook announcement!) and I was so touched, so moved and beyond thrilled you all loved the cake so much!
It also sparked a ton of requests for a cupcake version! So, I got right on it for you all! Now, I already shared on social media that I added the cupcake version to that wedding post, but due to all the readers that follow this blog and still receiving so many questions about a cupcake version, I realized that many of you are missing that note on the bottom of that recipe OR didn’t see the social media post. I figured it would be a really good idea to do a whole separate post dedicated to those cupcakes with pics and all. Some of you have already made them too!
After all, they deserve their own post and it makes it much easier for you all to follow the recipe this way since that Wedding Cake post was the longest post of my life, haha.
THE BEST VEGAN VANILLA CUPCAKES
Calling these the “best” is a hefty claim but I’m here to tell you it is the absolute truth as far as I’m concerned. I’m talking, a true cupcake texture and flavor, like the ones you would have at a special party made with regular white flour or cake flour. The truly soft, super tender with such a light and delicate texture.
I find that too many cupcakes aren’t really that soft cupcake texture, but more like a muffin, more dense or chewy…especially vegan ones. I love muffins, don’t get me wrong, but a cupcake is not a muffin and a muffin is not a cupcake. To me, a cupcake should have that truly light and fluffy texture, well….like a soft cake of course! There is a definite difference.
HOW TO USE COCONUT BUTTER IN BAKING
Coconut butter gives these cupcakes an incredibly delicious and buttery flavor, without it tasting like coconut, trust me! It also replaces oil, which I teach here on How to Cook and Bake Without Oil.
Before adding, it needs to be the consistency of oil. It should be 100% smooth and runny. This is very important for the batter to mix properly. I use and love the MaraNatha brand, found at most stores, it is so smooth. I don’t recommend homemade coconut butter, as the texture won’t be as smooth.
The jars at the store will be solid. So, the best way to work with this is to remove the lid, heat the jar in the microwave for 15-30 seconds or so, until it becomes soft enough to scoop it out into a container. I find this much easier to store coconut butter, otherwise the oil separates from the coconut meat. If not mixed up properly, it will affect your cake result texture. The above picture is the coconut butter added to a glass container, then heated just a few seconds until I can stir it enough to fully mix the separated oil and coconut together and reach this runny texture. Be very careful about overheating coconut butter or it will burn and turn mealy.
Beautifully white cupcakes and frosting, perfect for ANY occasion or a wedding.
A light dusting of silver powder was just the best touch to these beautifully white wedding cupcakes.
Have you ever seen a fluffier cupcake? A vegan gluten-free vanilla cupcake one at that??
I hope you all love these Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes! I know a few of you have already made and raved over them after seeing them on the wedding cake post, so thank you!
Other Vegan Vanilla recipes:
- Best Vanilla Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Vegan Gluten-free Vanilla Cake
- Best Vegan Gluten-free Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Vanilla Cake Waffles
- Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars
- Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake Ice Cream
Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (Gluten-free)
- 1 cup (160g) white rice flour (see NOTES at the very bottom for sub)
- 1/2 cup (64g) cornstarch
- 3/4 cup (144g) fine pure cane sugar (white sugar will work too and make them even more white!)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 1/4 cups (300g) full-fat coconut milk CANS (not the carton) shaken well & ROOM TEMP (highly recommend the Thai Kitchen brand, it's the best and always smooth and creamy)
- 1/2 cup (120g) melted liquid coconut butter (refer to tutorial above)
- 2 teaspoons (10g) vanilla extract
- One 4oz vegan Earth Balance butter stick (1/2 cup, 112g)
- 1/2 cup (96g) Spectrum shortening
- 2 1/2 cups (380g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15g) coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon white vanilla powder for a white frosting or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use this white powder.)
- Please absolutely use a scale! It's SO important for accurate results, especially with cakes and cupcakes like this. I cannot stress this enough. Make sure to zero out in between each ingredient and add them slowly. Follow MY weights. Don't compare them to your cup measurements. You never need cups, just the scale and bowl and teaspoons. Don't sub any of these ingredients, if at all possible for the absolute best result. I worked endlessly to perfect this recipe and each ingredient plays a very important role. If you are allergic to cornstarch, the best sub would be potato starch, but keep in mind that it makes things more crumbly and the cupcakes will dry out faster. DO NOT use tapioca, it does NOT work.
- I use this scale.
- These cupcakes are the BEST made the day of, as they are the most moist and buttery. Due to the high starch amount they will start to dry out by the 2nd day and so on.
- For the frosting, set out your vegan butter sticks early in the day or several hours before you want to make the frosting (or the night before), so that they can be totally soft and at room temperature, otherwise it will be impossible to beat the frosting.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a muffin pan with 12 liners.
Make sure your coconut milk is at room temperature and you've shaken the cans well and that the milk is creamy and smooth, not chunky, before measuring/weighing. If it's chunky, whisk or blend it separately until totally smooth before measuring and adding to the other liquids. Important: follow the same steps above in the post regarding preparing the coconut butter correctly. The coconut butter must be a smooth runny consistency like oil almost, not thick!
PLEASE SEE NOTES AT THE BOTTOM if making the cake flour version before this next step. To a large bowl, add the white rice flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Use a large whisk very well until mixed. To another large bowl, add the coconut milk, liquid coconut butter (see above post) and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Whisk until completely smooth, making sure to get the bottom. Make sure it's all completely mixed.
- Divide the batter evenly among the 12 liners. Use an ice cream scoop or a 1/3 cup measuring cup for ease. They will be filled a bit more than half full.
- They will settle down a bit as they cool, this is normal. Leave them to cool 45 minutes exactly in the pan, very important for their structure. Then transfer them to the fridge for JUST 15 minutes to further set them. This step is important, so don't skip. The chilling is not required for the cake flour version. Remove from the fridge and frost them. Leave covered at room temperature to keep them moist. Don't store them in the fridge or they will dry out.
Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Mine were perfectly done at 21 minutes each time, but ovens vary. The cake flour version was done exactly at 20 minutes each time. They should have risen beautifully with a nice dome top.
- To make the buttercream, add the room temperature softened vegan butter and shortening to a huge bowl and beat on low until just blended. Add the sugar about a cup at a time blending on low until all is incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla and beat just until light and fluffy. Cover with plastic wrap to keep it moist until ready to frost. For the frosting, I used Wilton Flour tip #2D.
If you absolutely cannot find white rice flour, then you can make these with cake flour. Please do not confuse this with regular all-purpose flour, it needs to be labeled "cake flour" on the package. This is what will yield the same ultra light and fluffy quality as my rice and cornstarch version. There is a lower gluten content in cake flour, so this is why it is important for the light texture.
All of the ingredient amounts remain the same, except, you will use 1 1/2 cups (192g) of cake flour total to replace the rice flour and cornstarch. As mentioned above, you MUST use a scale so you get the accurate results. With this version, the batter will be thicker than the rice version, almost like a muffin batter, do NOT be tempted to add more milk. Adding extra liquid will cause the structure to weaken (because of the delicate cake flour) and make for dense/deflated cupcakes.
This is why it is crucial that your liquids are not cold and you warm the milk to a lukewarm temp and then mix it with the warmed/liquid coconut butter and vanilla. This is so the batter mixes smoothly since it is on the thicker side. Slowly pour the liquids into the dry ingredients while gently whisking the batter. Make sure it is fully mixed and smooth, but do not overmix. If you weighed all of your ingredients, it will turn out perfect. This version, the cupcakes were perfect at exactly 20 minutes with a clean toothpick.
Nutrition per cupcake (does not include frosting): 204 calories, 8.2g fat, 1.6g protein, 31g carbs, 1.9g fiber, 13.2g sugar (calculated at verywellfit.com)