Easy gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. These are the best cupcakes to make on a weeknight! You only need one bowl and a whisk.
The Challenge: One Bowl Gluten-Free Cupcakes
I wanted to create a recipe for gluten-free cupcakes that were as easy to make as a boxed mix. My early attempts were…interesting. The first ones came out flat. The next were too sweet and the batch after that tasted like a dry muffin. Not what I was going for in a cupcake recipe.
After several tries, the cupcakes were finally what I wanted.
These gluten-free cupcakes are:
- Soft and tender, like my gluten-free funfetti cake
- A simple, small batch recipe.
The recipe makes about dozen cupcakes. So it’s perfect for a weeknight birthday or one of those nights you just want cake. (If you don’t want to bake a dozen cupcakes, make a gluten-free mug cake.)
Gluten-Free Cupcakes: Key Ingredients
- Gluten-Free Baking Flour. An all-purpose gluten-free baking flour that contains xanthan gum or guar gum makes it easy to whip up these cupcakes in a snap.
- Granulated Sugar. Cupcakes are sweet but you don’t want them too sweet. My first tests included a full cup of sugar. These made for very tender cupcakes because sugar acts as a tenderizer but they were too sweet. Three-quarters of a cup is just right.
- Baking Powder. Makes the cupcakes light and tender. Check the expiration date on your baking powder. You don’t want to use expired baking powder. The cupcakes won’t rise as much.
- Salt. A half teaspoon of salt enhances the flavor. Use table salt, not kosher salt. Table salt dissolves easily in batter.
- Eggs. Provide structure. This recipe has not been tested with egg replacers.
- Milk. Use regular milk or dairy-free. The recipe works well with either! Milk adds flavor and helps the cupcakes to brown.
- Oil. Adds richness. If you prefer to use butter, melt butter and allow it to cool before adding it to the batter.
- Vanilla. Gives the cupcakes a nice “birthday cake” flavor.
How to Make Gluten-Free Cupcakes: Keys to Success.
- Make the Batter. Whisk together the gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. You can use a handheld whisk or an electric mixer for this step. It doesn’t matter! Doing this evenly distributes the baking powder and salt throughout the mixture. If you add the liquid ingredients right away, the baking powder can clump and the cupcakes won’t rise as well. Once that’s done, add the milk (regular or dairy-free), eggs, and oil. Whisk until the batter is smooth and you’re ready to bake.
- Fill the Cupcake Cups. Line a standard cupcake pan with paper liners. Fill each cup 2/3 of the way with batter. Don’t add more batter or the cupcakes can overflow during baking.
- Bake Until Set. These gluten-free cupcakes stay very light. Check the cupcakes with a cake tester to see if they’re done. No crumbs should stick to the tester. If you prefer to take the temperature of your baked goods, bake until the center reaches between 209 to 213 degrees F.
- Cool Before Frosting. After baking, allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about five minutes. Then remove them from the pan and place on a wire rack. This allows steam to escape, so the cupcakes don’t get soggy or gummy.
- Frost. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with your favorite frosting. I love vanilla buttercream with these but chocolate or lemon is yummy too!
The Best Flour for Gluten-Free Cupcakes
I developed this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Using a different flour blend can change the texture of the cupcakes.
The Key to Even Cupcakes
Other than a cupcake pan, you don’t need any special kitchen tools to make gluten-free cupcakes. But…if you want perfectly even cupcakes, grab a muffin scoop. (It looks like an ice cream scoop.) Fill each cup 2/3 full. Using a scoop makes this easy and less messy!
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (6 3/4 ounces; 192 grams)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 3/8 ounces; 155 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs (about 4 ounces; 113 grams, out of shell.)
- 1/2 cup milk, regular or dairy-free (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil (2 2/3 ounces; 75 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (regular or dairy-free butter replacement) (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (8 ounces; 226 grams)
- 2 tablespoons milk, regular or dairy-free, more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Whisk gluten-free flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners. Fill each cup 2/3 full. This prevents overflow during baking. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean, about 18 minutes.
Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for five minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost cupcakes when cool.
Store cupcakes, tightly covered, on the counter for up to three days or freeze for up to two months.
Make the Frosting
Beat butter until smooth in a medium bowl. Add powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Mix. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light. If frosting is too thick, add more milk.
Recipe Yield: Cupcake pans vary slightly in size. This recipe makes between 10 to 12 cupcakes.
Gluten-Free Flour: This recipe was tested with Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Using a different flour might change the taste and texture of the cupcakes.