Gluten Free Very Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes Recipe

Gluten Free Very Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes Recipe

Birthdays should be special, no matter what time of year a person comes into the world. People born in December, closer to Christmas than farther away from it, tend to have their birthdays rushed or overlooked. But this is not the case in our family.

My g-daughter, Miss Milla Plum, is a December baby and this month she turned a whopping eight years old. Birthdays for eight-year-old girls typically mean cupcakes! And for Miss Milla, it means vanilla cupcakes.

Gluten Free Very Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes Recipe Image

Fortunately for Milla, she has no food intolerances or allergies that we know of. This is pretty unusual in a family that runs the gamut from gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, seafood allergies and what I highly suspect is an egg allergy. Throw in a vegetarian or two and you can just imagine what needs to be taken into consideration for a family get-together!

I decided on gluten-free vegan cupcakes, as they seemed the safest bet. And I pulled out my secret weapon for moist, gluten-free, vegan cupcakes – Vegenaise. My trusty Vegenaise has never failed me when I use it for vegan baking.

Typically you find all sorts of vegan chocolate cupcakes but rarely vanilla. And Miss Milla requested vanilla so vanilla she got! Very, very vanilla. I made a vanilla cupcake, soaked it with vanilla syrup and frosted it with some vanilla frosting. All gluten-free, all vegan, all delicious!

Since vanilla is the star of this show it is important to use the best vanilla you can find. I like vanilla bean paste; it has a more intense vanilla flavor than extract and is even specked with those gorgeous vanilla seeds. I find it in my upscale grocery store. If you can’t find vanilla bean pasteGluten Free Very Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes Recipe Image, the cupcakes will still be great but if you want them to be seriously spectacular – find the paste! The vanilla frosting will naturally have a lovely antique lace color specked with tiny flecks of brown seed. Normally I love the look but for these cupcakes we wanted white frosting so I added a few hefty squirts of white icing color to the frosting.

To let the vanilla flavor shine use really good quality gluten-free flour. If your flour tastes like beans or something else, make your own by whisking together 1 cup superfine white rice flour, ½ cup potato starch, ¼ cup superfine sweet rice flour, ¼ cup tapioca starch and 1 ½ teaspoons of xanthan gum.

Miss Milla likes her cupcakes decorated with shiny pink and purple sparkles, but you can decorate yours anyway you see fit.

Gluten Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

5 from 1 vote
Gluten Free Very Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes Recipe
Print Recipe

Gluten Free Very Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes Recipe

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rest time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Gluten Free & More


Soaking liquid

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste


  • 2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup Vegenaise
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste


  • ½ cup Earth Balance dairy free butter substitute
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
  • Up to ¼ cup water


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Insert paper liners into 12 standard muffin cups.
  • Prepare the soaking liquid by combining the ¼ cup sugar with the 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar has melted and continue to boil for 1 minute or until it thickens slightly. Let cool while preparing the cupcakes.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, water, Vegenaise and 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste until fully combined and no lumps from the Vegenaise. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups (it will be fairly liquid). Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until firm to the touch, browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Cut a cone the diameter of a dime out of the top of each cupcake and save the cut out parts. Spoon the soaking liquid into the center of each cupcake. Replace the cone back into the cupcakes when the soaking liquid has absorbed. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the frosting while the cupcakes cool. In a mixing bowl, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the Earth Balance, powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste and salt. Mix, starting on low speed, to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then turn the mixer to medium and beat for about 60 seconds. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency – it should be thick, smooth and spreadable.
  • Frost the cooled cupcakes with the frosting and decorate as desired.


Nutrition Facts
Gluten Free Very Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 286 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Sodium 301mg13%
Carbohydrates 80g27%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 24g27%
Protein 2g4%
Calcium 13mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Gluten Free & More are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
Have you tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and let us know your thoughts in the Ratings & Reviews section below.
Tags: Birthday Celiac Dairy Free Gluten-Free Gluten-Free Recipes Vanilla
Previous Post

Gluten Free Cherry Pecan Snowballs Recipe

Next Post

Gluten Free Gingerbread House Recipe

  1. Gluten Free Sourdough Baker
    December 21, 2010

    HI Carol,This looks like an excellent vegan recipe. Thanks for all your detail and beautiful photos. I am in the process of developing dessert breads but since I can't have the sugar the technique is a bit different. Still working on it.Thanks again,sharon

    1. L. Horhn
      May 22, 2011

      I’m sugar free too. Have you tried coconut palm sugar? It’s a low glycemic natural sweetener that kind of resembles sandy brown sugar. I generally substitute one for one with cane sugar or sometimes use a little less. I don’t like it for beverages (tastes over powers) but it performs well in baked goods.

      1. May 24, 2011

        I have just stared to play around with coconut and palm sugars. They seems to be the wonder sugars!

    December 21, 2010

    These look excellent, Carol – and I love, love, love that they're vegan.

  3. Joy
    December 21, 2010

    Thanks for this – I have made good chocolate vegan cupcakes but have not seen a vanilla one before that sounded good. These are going on my MUST TRY list. Happy Holidays and Happy Birthday to little Miss Milla, she is adorable!

  4. Donna
    December 21, 2010

    My sone was born on Thanksgiving so I know what you are talking about with birthdays close to holidays! I hope Milla enjoyed her cupckaes – these look amazing.

  5. Jeanine
    December 21, 2010

    Cute cupcakes! They look delicious. I know my 8 year old would love them as well. :)

  6. Sara
    December 21, 2010

    Those look like the best vegan cupcakes I have ever seen. Very nice job. I may just have to try these this Christmas.

  7. Helene
    December 21, 2010

    I've made vegan cupcakes before but never gluten free. That's a challenge. Looks so good.

  8. Diane-The WHOLE Gang
    December 21, 2010

    What a lucky little girl to get those cupcakes. I'm licking the computer screen now!

  9. Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    December 21, 2010

    oh they look so elegant! Great job!

  10. Tasty Eats At Home
    December 22, 2010

    Hooray for vegan birthday cupcakes! I hope these made her a happy girl.

  11. Sarah
    December 22, 2010

    I found Vegenaise at Nature's Food Patch – in the refrig section – made the cupcakes – WOW!! They ARE wonderful!! Thank you so much Carol!!

  12. The InTolerant Chef
    December 22, 2010

    Every girl deserves cupcakes on her birthday, no matter what time of year it is!

  13. Anonymous
    December 28, 2010

    I love your recipes, but am frustrated that I can't make most of them! You often include brand name ingredients (like Vegenaise) and sometimes even quite plain ingredients (like sweet rice flour) which just aren't available over here in Europe. Any chance of some recipes with no brand names, or ideas for using something different if the brand name products aren't available? Thanks!

  14. Simply...Gluten-free
    December 28, 2010

    Dear AnnonymousSweet Rice flour is also called glutinous rice flour (although it contains no gluten) if you can not find it where you are then you can use the same amount of white rice flour. I just find that the sweet rice flour smooths out gluten-free baking. Vegeniase is a no egg mayonaise substitute. You could substitute whatever brand you have there as long as it contains some sort of vinegar in it as it seems to be the combo of the oil and vinegar that make the cupcakes so moist. Hopes this helps!xo,carol

  15. Anonymous
    January 2, 2011

    What can we use instead of sugar in this very vanilla cupcake recipe?

  16. March 5, 2011

    I also would like to know what you could use in place of the sugar, as I am refined sugar free. Especially for the frosting. I use palm sugar for cakes and cookies that call for sugar, but the confectioners sugar is a different story. Could we use agave? Just curious.

    Also, in place of the earth balance, would palm shortening be okay?

    1. HI Susan,

      I am sure palm shortening would be ok instead of Earth Balance but I am not sure about agave in the frosting as it is liquid. Maybe if you added some sort of starch to it like tapioca starch so the frosting would have some body. But maybe not. Hmmm. I am going to have to play around with frosting using agave and get back to you. I have a frosting that uses agave but it uses eggs also and I am assuming you are vegan, right? Anyway, now you have me on a mission! I will report back soon!

  17. Monica
    January 4, 2012

    So is the Veganease replacing the egg?

    1. January 4, 2012

      Yes and the oil and vinegar.

  18. Pingback: Cupcake Recipes | Cupcake Recipes

  19. Sierra
    April 18, 2012

    I found that when I tried the recipe my cupcakes came out grainy and coarse. Is this all gluten free baking? I even made sure to use the sweet rice flour.

    1. Gluten Free & More
      April 18, 2012

      Hi Sierra – what brand flours did you use? If you use just normal white rice flour instead of superfine then baked goods come out grainy. You can either buy superfine rice flours or look for Asian flous at an Asian market – I like Erawan Brand. If you don’t have an Asian market close by you can buty from the internet (and it is a lot cheaper than other brands).

  20. January 29, 2013

    What is the purpose of the soaking liquid? Will the cupcakes turn out without that step?

    1. January 29, 2013

      I ask because I’d like to make these as mini-cupcakes, and cutting out a cone sounds hard with such a small surface!

      1. Gluten Free & More
        February 1, 2013

        I agree! Just skip it.

    2. Gluten Free & More
      February 1, 2013

      It just adds more vanilla flavor – you can skip that step if you want, no problem!

  21. April 28, 2013

    That recipe is great!! I just made it and am so psyched to have found a yummy cupcake recipe that is both gluten and egg free. The vegenaise is awesome! Thank you!

    1. Gluten Free & More
      May 3, 2013

      Thjank YOU Caroline! So happy you enhoyed it!

  22. Ashley
    May 31, 2013

    I live in NZ and vegenaise is not available here! (Apparently according to google) :(!! Is there anything just as good I can use instead?

    1. Gluten Free & More
      June 1, 2013

      I see you found the answer – 1/2 cup oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

  23. Ashley
    May 31, 2013

    I read in the earlier comments about substituting the vegenaise for oil and vinegar so I tried it. The flavour of the cupcake was nice but it was quite gluggy and didn’t rise much. I used half a cup of oil and 2 tbsp of white vinegar (cause I didn’t have any cider) any suggestions on how to make this better? I so wish vegenaise was available in Nz!!

    1. Gluten Free & More
      June 1, 2013

      Hi Ashley, you substituted well but if they were too mosit and didn’t rise well I would try cutting back the liquid to 3/4 cup (and possibly use rice milk instead of water if you can get that) and adding a teaspoon of baking powder as well. Let me know how that works!

      1. Ashley
        June 1, 2013

        Thanks carol! Will give it a go today and let you know how it goes :)

  24. Ashley
    June 2, 2013

    I did it again and used 2 tsp of baking powder and made a reaction between the vinegar and baking soda at the end and added it just before they went in the oven but still no luck with rising :/ I reduced the oil to 1/3 cup and used rice milk instead of water but only 3/4 cup. They were too dry this time lol I reduced the oil because the first time when I did half they were so oily, the wrappers wouldn’t even stick to the cupcake! And actually the second time the cupcake would still pull away from the wrapper :/ what should I try next? Haha I love the flavours!

    1. Gluten Free & More
      June 5, 2013

      Before I try again where do you live? What’s the altitude there? Sea level, high in the mountains? Anything you can tell me may help.

      1. Ashley Adams
        June 18, 2013

        Um I live in nz so there are mountains and ocean lol it’s not overly humid but some days it can get a little muggy. It’s pretty mild temps as well

        1. Gluten Free & More
          July 1, 2013

          Hmmm, I am at a loss. I live at sea level and have never had any trouble with these rising. My next suggestion is going to be add more flour. So frustrating! I wish I could just pop over there and have a see myself :) If I get to NZ, I will let you know :)

  25. Mishanne Healey
    September 7, 2014

    Hi! The recipe looks great and I’m really keen to make these cupcakes for my friend’s kitchen tea this weekend. The only problem is that I’m in Australia and I haven’t seen Veganaise. What would you recommend to use as a replacement? :)

    1. Gluten Free & More
      September 18, 2014

      Hi Mishanne,
      Do you have any kind of egg free mayonnaise, or vegan mayo? Just substitute that!

  26. Roxy
    November 11, 2014

    Thanks, these look great for my daughter’s 10th birthday which is three weeks away. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    1. Gluten Free & More
      December 1, 2014

      Aw great! You’re welcome Roxy.


  27. March 18, 2016

    I have made this recipe 6 times yesterday trying to get them to rise and not be gummy. Nothing I have done has made a difference. I have tried using soy milk instead of water, I have tried half soy milk and half water, I have tried adding baking powder to the recipe….any suggestions. I need this recipe for a client in 4 days, Please HELP!

    1. Gluten Free & More
      March 25, 2016

      I’m sorry if this answer is too late! But for some reason, that recipe has proved to be a little tricky. Try this as an alternative, it comes from a vegan baker I know, I hope that helps!
      1 1/2 Cup gluten-free flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt (whisked together)
      1 Cup sugar, 3/4 Cup dairy-free milk, 1/2 Cup vegetable oil, 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste, 2 Tablespoons apple cider venegar (whisked together)
      Pour wet ingredients into the dry, mix, and cook at 350F for 16-20 minutes.

      Hope that comes in useful at least for future recipes.

  28. Pingback: Grain-free P B & J Cupcakes | Gluten Free Recipes | Gluten Free | Blog

  29. Pingback: Chocolate Pavlovas Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse | Gluten Free | Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Enter your Email below to recieve a free Ebook!