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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 hand is holding a vanilla cupcake that is topped with white fluffy buttercream frosting.

Why You’ll Love These Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

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.

Light golden vanilla cupcakes topped with ruffled white vanilla frosting.

Easy Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients

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.

Light golden vanilla cupcakes topped with ruffled white vanilla frosting. The cupcake in the front has the white paper wrapper unwrapped showing the whole cupcake bottom.

How To Make Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

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!

Light golden vanilla cupcakes topped with ruffled white vanilla frosting. The cupcake in the front has a bite taken out of it.

Vanilla Cupcake Options & Variations

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 ingredients 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.

Light golden vanilla cupcakes topped with ruffled white vanilla frosting.

Common Cupcake FAQs

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!

A pale yellow vanilla cupcake topped with white frosting. There is a large bite taken out of it and it's leaning to the side against another cupcake.

The Best Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

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:

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A hand is holding a vanilla cupcake that is topped with white fluffy buttercream frosting.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes (Dairy-Free)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 1 Hour
  • Yield: 24 Cupcakes 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

An easy one-bowl recipe for soft and fluffy gluten-free dairy-free vanilla cupcakes topped with delicious vanilla buttercream frosting. Perfect for allergy-friendly birthday parties.


Ingredients

Scale

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 2 ½ (400g) cups gluten-free 1:1 flour blend *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
  • 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

Vanilla Buttercream


Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare 2 cupcake pans with liners for a total of 24 cupcakes.
  2. 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.
  3. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum (if using) and start to mix on low.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes and then remove them to a cooling rack to fully cool.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 10 minutes.

  2. Add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.

  3. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.

  4. 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.

Cupcake Assembly

  1. Fit a piping bag with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Fill the bag with the prepared buttercream.
  2. 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!
  • Prep Time: 40 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

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24 Comments

  1. Mic drop!! This recipe is hand down delicious! The cupcakes were not overly sweet and so moist!! I don’t even, dare I say it, think they needed icing! Katie needs a cookbook, I would be first in line!!






  2. Made these for my moms 65th bday, with a 5 day old newborn at home. SUPER EASY recipe and not too sweet at all.
    We are Egg Free so I subbed the 3 eggs for 1 flax egg and 2 applesauce (90g/1 kids pouch).
    I used a normal all purpose GF flour without xanthan.

    They were slightly dense so I may reduce the flour next time, and they needed 23 minutes to cook.

    For the frosting, I subbed in/replaced 1 cup for brown sugar and added extra vanilla. Splash of DF milk to help the brown sugar dissolve.






  3. Is there anything I can use in place of the dairy free sour cream or yogurt? Could I possible turn your vanilla cake recipe into cupcakes?

    1. Yes, you could use that recipe for cupcakes. Note that they will not dome on top like typical cupcakes though. They will have a flat top.

  4. I made these following the basic instructions in the intro (combine all your liquids, then add the dry ingredients) so I was surprised to see in step 4 of the recipe, that I was supposed to have kept the milk out of the liquid ingredients–oops! I just crossed my fingers and whipped the heck out of all the ingredients like I would have with a boxed cake mix. They were very thick and yielded 18 regular size cupcakes and 6 jumbos (ran out of regular cupcake papers but had some jumbos and didn’t want to run to the store.) Will definitely try them again using the method outlined in the steps (adding milk last) and see if they are still super thick. I will also try again with something other than King Arthur G-F flour–really looking for something with more of a cake flour texture. These tasted a little gritty to me, but lots of rice flour in a g-f blend is the culprit there.

    1. King Arthur blend is sooooo gritty. I refuse to use it for anything. I highly recommend Kinnikinnick or XO Baking blends for cakes/cupcakes. And thank you for pointing out the error in my instructions Kathy. I’m going to correct that now.

  5. Made these for a baby shower and everyone loved them! No one could tell they were gluten and dairy free. They were delicious!

    For future reference, how could I turn these into chocolate cupcakes as well?






  6. Absolutely delicious vanilla flavor! OMG. I’m sorry I hadn’t discovered you years sooner!






    1. I have not tested it in a bundt but it will work in a 9×13. I would check it around the 30-minute mark. You’ll want to see golden edges starting to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

  7. Just used this buttercream recipe the other day as I needed something dairy free for my daughters birthday cake-it turned out AMAZING. I’ll be honest, I haven’t loved many buttercreams in the past and this far exceeded my expectations, like I was literally piping it onto cake scraps and eating it after decorating the cake HAHAHAHAA!! Highly recommend, must try!






  8. I’ve used this icing recipe twice in the last week and it’s the best I’ve ever used. It whips up so incredibly smooth and easily spreadable. I’ve had numerous people comment that it’s the best icing they’ve ever had. Flavourful but not too sweet! Definitely my go to from now on!

  9. Hi, I want to make these as my nieces are df and gf however I can’t find df sour cream and the only plain yoghurt I can find is coconut based. I am unsure of how intense the coconut flavour will be but will this be ok. Or should I try and find something else. Thank you!

    1. Hi Emma, I would either go with the coconut based yogurt. Is it flavored coconut as well or just plain coconut? If it’s plain you shouldn’t be able to detect it. If not, you could try using unsweetened applesauce.

  10. Highly impressed I loved this more than I thought I would. I am not gluten free or dairy free but I was making these for a baby shower and I really enjoyed them. I filled them with a Strawberry compote and sprinkled some Strawberry sugar on top. Very delicious!






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