Perfect Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Soft and full of vanilla flavor, these simple, but perfect gluten free vanilla cupcakes are just what we need in our baking arsenal.

perfect gluten free vanilla cupcakes

I love cake. And when I say that, I mean I love ALL cake. I seriously cannot think of a flavor of cake or cupcakes I don’t love. Chocolate is probably my absolute favorite, which is surprising because as a kid I didn’t like chocolate cake. But as an adult, I grew into so many flavors of cake–carrot, pistachio, spice, pumpkin, caramel, etc, etc.

But whomever says vanilla is boring hasn’t had a truly perfect vanilla cupcake. And these cupcakes here are the ultimate perfect gluten free vanilla cupcakes! They’re pillowy soft and FULL of vanilla bean flavor in both the cake and the buttercream. And what’s great about these cupcakes is they can be a blank canvas for any combination of flavors and textures you can dream up!

Ingredients for Perfect Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so soft and moist, you’d never know they’re gluten free. My family has been loving my cupcakes for years (before Celiac) and when I had to change everything to gluten free, I really thought things were gonna go downhill. But I found a great recipe that I adapted to fit my gluten free needs, using my own gf flour blend and my own special touches.

Cake Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need for the cake part of these cupcakes:

  • gluten free flour blend–I use my own all purpose gluten free flour blend. A store bought blend may be substituted (although the recipe hasn’t been tested with anything other than my blend).
  • cornstarch–I add a little bit of cornstarch with the flour, which acts somewhat like cake flour.
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • milk–I use whole milk. You may be able to get away with a dairy free milk, but I haven’t tried it.
  • cream–it’s amazing what cream does to a cake batter.
  • vanilla bean seeds and extract–for maximum vanilla flavor, I use both the seeds from a vanilla bean AND extract.
  • butter–I love the flavor butter imparts to cakes.
  • sugar
  • eggs

The Buttercream

You can play around with many different vanilla frosting ideas for these cupcakes. I’ve got plenty of options here on the blog (my signature French buttercream, an Italian meringue buttercream, or a Swiss meringue buttercream). But I thought for these cupcakes, because they’re “simple and perfect,” American buttercream all the way. Here’s what you’ll need (3 simple ingredients):

  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla–because we’re going with the whole “perfect vanilla” theme, of course I’m gonna use vanilla bean seeds AND extract for maximum vanilla flavor. But use what you have.

People often ask why there is no liquid in this recipe. I explain that it isn’t necessary because of the amount of butter compared to the amount of powdered sugar. Most American buttercream recipes require a little milk or cream to thin them due to the heavy amount of powdered sugar, which makes them really thick. And really sweet. But not this American buttercream.

unwrapped vanilla cupcake

Frosting and Decorating Ideas

These perfect gluten free vanilla cupcakes are just that–perfect as they are. But, if you want to use these as a stepping off point to something else, here are some ideas:

  • Plain–plain is sometimes anything but. The simplicity of a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream can be so satisfying.
  • Chocolate–one of my favorites–vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. Try this fudge frosting.
  • French buttercream–my signature frosting, French buttercream is the be all end all to buttercream frostings, in my opinion. And it can be flavored a million different ways.
  • Coconut–use this recipe for a flour-based buttercream frosting, and then add shredded coconut.
  • Sprinkles–I love sprinkles and there are so many kinds of sprinkles for every holiday you could ever want.
  • Whipped cream and raspberry jam–or strawberry. Or fresh fruit.
cupcakes sitting on top of muffin tin with bottle of vanilla in background

These perfect gluten free vanilla cupcakes are the ultimate in real vanilla flavor and will put store bought cupcakes to shame!

perfect gluten free vanilla cupcakes

Perfect Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Soft and full of vanilla flavor, these simple, but perfect gluten free vanilla cupcakes are just what we need in our baking arsenal.
Print Recipe
Keywordcupcakes, Gluten Free, vanilla
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time48 minutes
Servings24 cupcakes


  • 1 cup (2 sticsk or 226 g) butter, at room temperature
  • cups (550 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, or the seeds from one vanilla bean
  • cups (400 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (a store bought blend may be substituted, but hasn't been tested)
  • 2 tbsp (16 g) cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • cups (300 ml) whole milk
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tbsp (105 ml) heavy cream

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 3 cups (6 sticks or 680 g) butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups (680 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, or the seeds from one vanilla bean


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
  • Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until well combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue to cream for about 4-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and cream.
  • Add ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ½ the milk/cream mixture. Add second ⅓ of the flour and the rest of the milk/cream, finished by the final ⅓ of flour. Beat for about 5 seconds longer. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes and stir gently before scooping into muffin cups, filling ¾ full.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 28-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

For the Buttercream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a handheld mixer), beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar in increments with the mixer on low (so it doesn't fly out of the mixer). Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat for about 5-6 minutes, or until lighter in color and texture (this extra mixing is crucial to the texture of the buttercream).
  • Frost cupcakes as desired.

3 thoughts on “Perfect Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes”

  • Can’t wait to try this recipe! The cupcakes look amazing. I am always looking for a frosting that is whipped and melt in your mouth soft, and hope this one is it! Thanks.

  • Hi Kim – question about your flour blend for cakes, pastries, etc. if I’m using it to convert a “gluten recipe” is it a cup for cup equivalent to regular flour, or would you recommend using 3/4 cup of your GF blend to replace 1 cup regular flour? Thanks. (If I already posted this, apologies- it seems to have disappeared).

    • Hi, Helen! It does sub cup for cup in most recipes. However, sometimes I’ll either add a little more liquid (around 1/4 cup or 60 ml) or reduce the flour, as you said, by 1/4 cup. It just depends on the recipe 🙂

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating