Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes (Dairy-Free)
Gluten-intolerant? Celiac? Or maybe dairy or lactose-free? I feel you. There were many birthdays where I stared longingly at the party cupcakes wishing I could partake. But no more! I’ve got the absolute best gluten-free dairy-free vanilla cupcake recipe that will ensure everyone is included.
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A lightly sweet and tender vanilla cupcake baked to fluffy perfection. Topped with an airy dairy-free whipped vanilla buttercream frosting, these celiac and dairy-allergy-friendly cupcakes are the perfect handheld celebration sweet treat for any and every occasion.
Firstly, did I mention that you only need one bowl and a whisk for the batter? Secondly, the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled. In quick conclusion, and plain as day to see, this is the best and only vanilla cupcake recipe you need in your life.
As always this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free. With that said, I do test each recipe with “regular” ingredients and make notes of alternatives or swaps so that everyone can enjoy it.
**Make sure you go to the bottom recipe card for the entire list of ingredients needed.
- Gluten-Free Flour: Check to see if your blend contains xanthan gum. This can also be swapped for regular cake flour if you are not gluten-free. I used XO Baking Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour for these cupcakes.
- Dairy-Free Sour Cream: This can be swapped for dairy-free plain yogurt. You can also use regular sour cream or yogurt if you are not dairy-free. The higher the fat content the better!
- Dairy-Free Milk: I love to bake with unsweetened almond milk but this recipe will work with any type of dairy-free or dairy-full milk. Like above, the higher the fat content the better.
- Oil: Use canola or vegetable oil for best results.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract makes a difference. With that said, use what you have in the cupboard.
- Dairy-Free Butter: A must for buttery yummy frosting. Feel free to swap regular salted butter if you are not dairy or lactose-free.
As shocking as it may seem, gluten-free and dairy-free cupcakes are just as easy to make as their “regular” counterparts. In fact, the batter only requires a large mixing bowl and a whisk. Here’s how:
Step 1: Prep the oven to 350ºF and line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
Step 2: Combine all the wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
Step 3: Pour in remaining dry ingredients and again, whisk together until just combined.
Step 4: Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake. Allow the cupcakes to fully cool while you prepare the frosting.
Step 5: Cream the butter with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy.
Step 6: Add the icing sugar, salt, and vanilla extract to the creamed butter and mix until combined, fluffy, and delicious.
Step 7: Decorate the fully cooled cupcakes.
Step 8: The best part: devour them!
A classic vanilla cupcake, in my opinion, is hard to beat. If, however, you are looking for a fun flavorful twist on this cupcake staple here are a few different ideas:
Add A Filling: Jam, jelly, pudding, and/or ganache are all delicious filling options.
Frosting Flavors: Try topping the cupcakes with a unique frosting flavor. Perhaps oreo, strawberry, chocolate, cream cheese, or lemon, for instance.
Sprinkles: Nothing says party like sprinkles. Add a dash of sprinkles to the cupcake batter. You could even add sprinkles to the frosting or simply sprinkle them on top of the finished cupcakes.
Cupcake Tips & Tricks
Don’t overfill the cupcake liners. I use a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop to measure the batter into each cupcake liner. This helps keep them uniform and prevents me from overfilling. You want each liner approximately ⅔ to ¾ full.
Always make sure the cupcakes are fully cooled before frosting and decorating. Even if just a tad bit warm, the frosting will fall right off. Whomp whomp.
Room temperature ingredients, as noted in the recipe card, aren’t just a suggestion. By helping the cupcake batter fully mix and combine evenly, room temperature ingredietns will help prevent over-mixing and gummy cupcake texture.
Buttercream, in its true form, will always be slightly yellow. You can use a few drops of white-white icing color or a toothpick tip of purple gel food color to neutralize the yellow. As a result, you’ll create a bright white frosting.
How Do I Store Gluten-Free Cupcakes?
These cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Note that as each day passes, the cupcakes will further dry out. Allow the cupcakes 20-30 minutes to sit at room temperature for the frosting to soften back up a bit before serving.
Can I Freeze Them?
Yes, you absolutely can bake and freeze the undecorated or decorated cupcakes in advance. Remove them from the freezer the night before and allow the cupcakes to slowly thaw overnight in the fridge. And like above, I recommend allowing the cupcakes to sit at room temperature for 20-30 before serving to help soften the frosting.
Can I Double The Recipe?
Double it, triple it, whatever. You’ll find this recipe translates beautifully into larger quantities. However, I do advise baking cupcake trays one at a time in the oven to ensure even baking. If you want to bake a double batch, which will give you 4 dozen vanilla cupcakes, I highly recommend using this large cupcake pan.
Can I Halve The Recipe For 12 Cupcakes?
Need only a dozen cupcakes? No problem! All the measurements can easily be halved except the eggs. Since 3 eggs are hard to divide equally, use 2 eggs and you’ll be good to go. Pinky promise.
Can These Be Made Vegan?
I have not tested this recipe with a vegan alternative for eggs. With that said, my first try would be with a liquid egg replacer such as aquafaba or Just Egg. If you do try these with a vegan egg replacer, I’d love to hear about it!
Bring on all the birthday parties and celebrations! These easy and delicious gluten-free dairy-free vanilla cupcakes will have you and every guest, whether they are gluten and dairy-free or not, enjoying a soft and scrumptious vanilla sweet treat.
I’d love to hear if you make these birthday party vanilla cupcakes. If you do, tag me on social media @cakedbykatie and leave the recipe a rating and review below.
More Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Party Treats
Need an allergy-friendly dessert to bring or share at the next festive occasion? I’ve got you covered:
- Funfetti Layer Cake (GF & DF)
- Chocolate Cake (GF & V)
- Vanilla Cake (GF & DF)
- Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes ( GF & DF)
- Pistachio Rice Krispie Treats (GF & DF)
- Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF & DF)
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes (Dairy-Free)
- 2 ½ (400g) cups gluten-free 1:1 flour blend *check to see if it contains xanthan gum
*check to see if it contains xanthan gum
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum *omit if the gluten-free flour blend contains it or if using regular flour
*omit if the gluten-free flour blend contains it or if using regular flour
- 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup (160g) dairy-free sour cream or plain yogurt, room temperature
- ½ cup (120ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup (177ml) dairy-free milk, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (480g) salted dairy-free butter, room temperature
- 5 ½ cups (660g) icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- optional: purple gel food color or white-white icing color
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare 2 cupcake pans with liners for a total of 24 cupcakes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl combine the sugar, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix on high for 2 minutes.
- Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum (if using) and start to mix on low.
- While the mixer is on low slowly pour in the milk and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
- Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pans. Fill approximately ⅔ – ¾ full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes with just a few moist little crumbs.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes and then remove them to a cooling rack to fully cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 10 minutes.
- Add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.
Add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.
- Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
- If you desire a bright white frosting, dip the tip of a toothpick in purple gel food color and put it in the buttercream. Mix again on high and repeat if necessary. Use only a tiny bit of purple each time as you can always add more but you can never take it away.
- Fit a piping bag with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Fill the bag with the prepared buttercream.
- On a fully cooled cupcake, start in the center, and with even pressure begin to pipe the frosting in a circular motion moving out and then up. As you move the frosting up to build the swirl slightly twist your wrist to create the ruffle effect if desired. At the top of the swirl, release the pressure and pull off the piping bag. Enjoy!