These gluten free vanilla cupcakes are light and fluffy like any good cupcake should be, but without the gluten! You will love these moist and delicious cupcakes.
I've had one too many stodgy gluten free cupcakes lately. It seems every bakery with a "gluten-free option" is really just a dense, heavy sorry excuse for a cupcake. Unfortunate, but true.
I finally decided to get in the kitchen and whip up a batch of gluten free cupcakes I could be brazenly proud of. They had to be light, fluffy, and moist, just like real deal vanilla cupcakes.
I'm proud to say these gluten free vanilla cupcakes are all that and more! They have a soft, light texture and rise beautifully in the oven. All they need is a delicious frosting. I've filled them with a sweet strawberry filling, but they taste irresistible as-is.
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Why You'll Love These Gluten Free Cupcakes
- The texture is perfect. They are light and fluffy which can be a difficult feat to achieve in gluten free baking.
- They're simple to make - no fancy techniques or weird ingredients.
- It's far more budget friendly to make gluten free vanilla cupcakes yourself. Bakeries charge a mint and the results are often disappointing.
- It's safer to make them at home. If you have celiac or a severe gluten intolerance, cross contamination can be a serious issue. When you make them yourself, you control the risk and not someone else.
- Vegetable oil - I love me some butter, but vegetable oil works better for this recipe! It keeps the cupcakes moist and light.
- Gluten free flour - I use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 All Purpose Flour for most of my gluten free desserts. It has a taste and texture far above other gluten free flours I've tried. If you don't have it, King Arthur's measure for measure flour also works for this recipe.
- Baking powder - Leavening helps the cupcakes rise. Make sure your baking powder is active. If you haven't used it in ages, it may be best to buy a new can.
- Baking soda - A small amount of baking soda will react with the vinegar for even more rise.
- Kosher salt - If you only have table salt, then cut the amount in half. If you don't, you will have a salty cake! Yuck.
- Milk & vinegar - Milk & vinegar keep the gluten free cake moist while causing it to rise.
How to Make Gluten Free Cupcakes
Before I continue I will say when it comes to baked goods (especially gluten free ones) it's important to follow the recipe.
If you make several substitutions the first time and the recipe doesn't come out right, it may not be the recipe but the substitutions you made that caused it to fail.
I love to experiment in the kitchen but you might be surprised how much a minor change can affect the outcome of a cupcake.
Here's what you need to do:
- Preheat the oven. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Combine milk and vinegar then set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients and stir together.
- Beat together the vegetable oil, both sugars, and the vanilla until well combined.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
- Lastly add the milk mixture and mix it in. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix it one more time. You should have a smooth gluten-free cake batter.
- Scoop the batter into the muffin tins only ⅔ of the way full.
- You should get exactly 12 cupcakes. If you get less, you've filled them too high. Simply scoop a bit out of each one and fill the last cupcake hole.
- Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until the tops bounce back when you press them, or a toothpick comes out clean.
- Be sure to watch them carefully so they don't overbake!
Gluten Free Cupcake Making Tips
- Only fill the cupcakes ⅔ of the way full. These gluten free cupcakes rise beautifully. If you fill them all the way, they will be too big! You should get exactly 12 cupcakes with this recipe.
- Don't remove the cupcakes immediately from the pan. If you try to remove the cupcakes right when they come out of the oven they will tear. When cake is still hot it hasn't set up and the structure is not as sturdy. Let them sit for a couple minutes first, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Wait until they've completely cooled to frost the cupcakes. Since buttercream is made of butter if you place it on a warm cupcake you will just get frosting soup. Mega buzzkill.
- Don't over measure the flour! Be sure to use the spoon and level method. Spoon the gluten-free flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with the flat edge of a butter knife. If you just dunk the cup into the flour, the flour will compress and you will add too much.
Storage & Freezing
- To store: Store unfrosted gluten free cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To freeze: You can freeze cupcakes frosted or unfrosted. I like to place them on a sheet pan and freeze them until they are solid, then put them into a freezer bag. This will prevent them from getting smooshed.
- For best results, freeze them within a day of baking them and use within 3 months. To defrost, let them come to room temperature or microwave just until defrosted and NOT warm, or else the frosting will melt. I like to do this in 5 to 10 second intervals.
It depends on the recipe! All-purpose flour is just one ingredient: wheat. Gluten-free all-purpose flour is a mix of alternative flours and starches like rice flour, brown rice flour, and potato starch. This means the flour brand you choose can make or break your recipe!
The same way you know regular cupcakes are done - the toothpick test. If the toothpick comes out mainly dry with a few crumbs, they're done! Another way to tell is to gently press the tops. If the tops bounce back slightly and feel bouncy but firm, the cupcakes are done.
Other Gluten Free Cake Recipes You Will Love
- Gluten Free Marble Cake
- Gluten Free Chocolate Pound Cake
- Gluten Free Italian Cream Cake
- Gluten Free Sour Cream Pound Cake
- Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes
Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- Stand Mixer with the Paddle Attachment
- Liquid Measuring cup
- Dry Measuring Cups
- Muffin tin
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cup + 2 tbsp Bob's Red Mill 1:1 All Purpose Gluten Free Flour spooned and leveled
- 1 ½ t. baking powder
- ½ t. baking soda
- ¼ t. kosher salt
- ½ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside. Combine the milk and vinegar. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt then set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer mix together the vegetable oil, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed.
- Add the eggs one at a time to the oil mixture beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Add the flour mixture to the bowl and beat until a batter forms then on low speed gradually add the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and then beat for 30 more seconds.
- Fill the cupcake cavities only ⅔ of the way full. Don't overfill. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean or the tops bounce back when pressed. This should be around 16 to 18 minutes.
- Let cupcakes cool and then frost with vanilla or chocolate buttercream.