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Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (Gluten-free)

The very Best Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Wedding Cupcakes ever! 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! 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword vegan gluten-free vanilla cupcakes, best vegan cupcakes, best gluten-free vegan cupcakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 21 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes
Servings 1 dozen cupcakes
Author Brandi Doming

Ingredients

  • 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

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

NOTE

  • 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.

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a muffin pan with 12 liners.
  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  8. 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. I put the whole pan in. 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 at this point or they will dry out much faster.

  9. 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.

Recipe Notes

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)