28 May Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Let me start by saying I have absolutely no issue with gluten.

Actually, I love gluten. I can’t imagine life without perfectly chewy pizza dough, crusty french bread, or fluffy cupcakes. Would that even be a life worth living?

I actually took part in a conversation this weekend about the merits of sprinkling flour on fresh fruit, just to increase gluten consumption.

Jokingly of course. But ok, maybe that was taking it a bit far. 

Seriously though, I do realize that gluten intolerance is a very real issue that causes discomfort (and worse) for many many people. Why does it seem there has been an explosion of gluten intolerance in the last few years? I think it has something to do with all the preservatives and other crapola in all of the processed food we eat. That, however is a different conversation for a completely different blog. We have fun here.

And since we like to have fun, we make sparkly cupcakes for our best {gluten free} friend when she comes in town.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Gluten free baking is intimidating. As soon as I started researching I was overwhelmed with all of the different flours and gums and weird substitutes. The lists of ingredients for some of these cupcakes were a mile long. I started to chicken out. No way was I buying all those fancy schmancy ingredients. I would be stuck with half bags of almond flour and sorghum for the next year.

And my mom would nag at me about all the space it was taking up in the pantry. Yes. That happens.

Luckily, as I was perusing the baking aisle of my local grocery store, I found a prepackaged gluten free  all-purpose baking mix from Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you, Bob.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

I used a recipe intended for regular flour and just substituted the Bob’s Red Mill. In all honesty, I can’t really vouch for the deliciousness of these cupcakes. I had never eaten a gluten free cupcake before this, so obviously they fell short for me. The texture is a little but more like cornbread than your average cupcake and they dried out more quickly, even when stored in an airtight container. I got mixed reviews from my test group (friends and coworkers). Some people said they were great and they had no idea they were gluten free, and others weren’t as impressed. Overall, I got more positive reviews than negative. I’d say Bob did a pretty good job.

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes


{Gluten Free} Vanilla Cupcakes


    For the cupcakes:
  • 3 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • For the buttercream:
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar


    For the cupcakes:
  • Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the sugar. Mix on low until well combined.
  • Add in butter, a few cubes at a time, until the mixture is well blended and resembles course sand.
  • Add in eggs one at a time.
  • Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix on medium high for 2 minutes or until batter is smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.
  • Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • For the buttercream:
  • Beat the butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
  • Carefully add the powdered sugar, adjusting speed as necessary, in 1/2 increments until icing reaches desired sweetness and consistency.
  • Use a piping bag or a large ziplock back, fitted with a large star tip, to pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes.
  • Decorate as desired.

Adapted from: Cookies & Cups


  • zosia
    Posted at 17:30h, 30 May Reply

    maybe i’m blind, but i can’t find where you wrote how many cupcakes this yield?

    could you tell me?


    • KWahlman
      Posted at 23:05h, 30 May Reply

      You’re not blind, I forgot to include the yield in the recipe. Thanks for pointing that out! This recipe makes approximately 30 cupcakes.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Chloe
    Posted at 17:30h, 10 June Reply

    I just made these and they are really good! I made them for a friend who is gluten free, but now I fell in love with them too. Gluten free or not these cupcakes are awesome 🙂

    Just one thing, the cupcake recipe never mentions adding the sugar. I didn’t realize until the end and I added it then, which worked. But this was just a bit confusing.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 17:35h, 10 June Reply

      So glad you liked them, Chloe! And thank you so much for pointing out by omission – I’m going to update the recipe right away. I’m so happy you caught it before baking…that could have been a baking disaster!

  • Morgan
    Posted at 14:38h, 11 July Reply

    I would love to use this recipe but need a substitute for buttermilk due to an allergy, any suggestions?

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 14:53h, 11 July Reply

      It is a milk allergy? The only buttermilk substitutes I know of are dairy-based.

      • Morgan
        Posted at 14:58h, 11 July Reply

        Unfortunately, yes. Do you think soy or almond milk would work, or is the buttermilk what gives it a certain density/thickness?

    • Michelle
      Posted at 17:39h, 30 July Reply

      You can make a buttermilk substitute with any milk of your choice. 2 tbp lemon juice to 1 cup “milk”. I use rice milk.

  • Veronica Miron
    Posted at 16:34h, 20 July Reply

    Hi. Can’t wait to try these. Should the butter be unsalted?

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 16:45h, 20 July Reply

      Yes, I used unsalted butter. Enjoy!

  • Autumn
    Posted at 12:40h, 30 July Reply

    Really great recipe! I didn’t have any butter milk so I subbed in a cup of vanilla yogurt and they turned out fantastic! Thanks for the recipe!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 12:43h, 30 July Reply

      Thanks Autumn! I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Antonia
    Posted at 00:01h, 07 August Reply

    I am never the one to complain when a gluten-free recipe doesn’t turn out well, I assume it’s part of the challenge of living GF. However, I felt the need to write a response to this post. The cupcakes look so delicious and I wish they tasted as great as they look in the picture. Unfortunately, the taste is not pleasant at all, and there is a strong aftertaste. I followed the recipe exactly, my guess is that it’s the flour. I have never used Bob’s Red Mill GF flour before, and this time may have been the last time. I find it incredibly frustrating to see great reviews or comments only to be disappointed. There goes my money into the garbage. Please, if you are going to write about something, be honest, if it’s delicious, then I would like to know that.

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 10:12h, 07 August Reply

      I’m sorry you didn’t like the cupcakes. As I said in the post, I personally am not gluten-free and used Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour because out of convenience. I try to be honest in all reviews of my recipes, and all comments on this blog are 100% reader generated and I have no influence over them whatsoever. Thank you for sharing your results as I’m sure some readers may agree with you on Bob’s. I’m sure you could substitute your preferred GF flour mix for more satisfactory results! And as always, thanks for reading and trying my recipe!

      • Tabetha
        Posted at 10:47h, 15 December Reply

        Hi, I just wanted to give some input on the comment above. I’m someone who has tried a LOT of gluten free products, many of which have a bad aftertaste. Sometimes family and friends had no idea what I was talking about when I would say (for instance about Trader Joe’s gf brownie mix) that something tasted fishy. I did more research and from the best conclusion I could generate, I determined that different people perceive different foods differently. That sounds like a big, “Duh!” But if you will, imagine that many of these gluten free products may include ingredients that Americans (at least) have never tried before. Our tongues can be very sensitive to certain tastes, but again, only some people will notice these really “off” tastes. It’s like how some folks have a gene that makes them sensitive to the bitterness of broccoli. And still others have a gene that makes cilantro taste like soap. I have compassion for the person who blasted this recipe because of it’s “bad taste” because they probably haven’t realized that their tasters are different from other people’s. Hopefully you can rest easy, though, that it’s just another challenge og gf baking and that there’s nothing truly wrong.

        • KWahlman
          Posted at 13:18h, 16 December Reply

          Great point, Tabetha! Thank you for reading and commenting!

    • Christina Castleman
      Posted at 15:37h, 31 December Reply

      You may want to try Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 flour. It is a flour mix, but it doesn’t have that funny aftertaste. The flour mix in this recipe has bean flour in it and that may be the off putting taste for you. I use 1 to 1 and it works great and has not after taste.

    • Michelle
      Posted at 17:43h, 30 July Reply

      It could be that you’re just not used to the flavor of GF flours, because there is such a blend of flours together, the flavors are completely different than regular wheat flour. For example, BRM’s GF all purpose baking flour the first ingredient is Garbanzo Bean flour. The first couple times cooking with it, you definitely taste a “bean” like flavor but you get used to it. The trick is to find the blend that works best for your palette, as well as your body.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 15:03h, 19 August Reply

    I had to add a note after I read the comments. Being gf I found these to be amazing!! But here’s what I recommend for the complaints about taste. I do not like Bobs gf mix at all. I blame the garbanzo beans. I used the trader joe blend and it takes exactly one package of their flour mix. Also I used almond milk in place of buttermilk without adding acid. Still worked great. They might not have gotten as fluffy but because the taste was so amazing if didn’t seem to be an issue. Thanks for a great recipe!! My son begged me not to make a gf cake for his birthday. He was convinced it wouldn’t taste as good. So I made these to see if he approved and all the drama was solved. 2 thumbs up!!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 15:41h, 19 August Reply

      Thank you for the kind review AND the great suggestion. Gotta love Trader Joe’s! They’ve finally to Austin and I couldn’t be happier. I’m definitely going to try their gf mix next time. Happy Belated Birthday to your son!

  • Brittany
    Posted at 15:11h, 04 September Reply

    Could I make cake with this recipe? two 9 inch pans? Thanks!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 16:00h, 04 September Reply

      Sure! You’ll need to adjust the baking time and keep a close eye on them though!

      • Brittany
        Posted at 15:19h, 05 September Reply

        Awesome thanks so much 🙂

  • Kelly
    Posted at 14:28h, 13 October Reply

    I discovered this recipe yesterday and immediately made these cupcakes! : ) Sarah’s comment’s about bob’s versus TJ’s was very helpful. I had TJ’s on hand so I used that. Also, your chat with Morgan was great too. I made my own “buttermilk” using coconut milk and apple cider vinegar (same amounts suggested in the link you had posted”). Personally, I think they came out great! However, I haven’t had gluten in over 5 years, and I’ve been dairy-free for 14 years – so I seem to taste things differently than others. LOL. My husband (a gluten and dairy consumer) said they tasted good “for what they are” : / Not what I was hoping for. Mine were moist and held together nicely. Only thing is they weren’t very sweet. Again, this was great for me, since I don’t like things too rich, but I wanted to frost them and pass them off to 10 year olds (nephew’s bday party). My husband insisted I not do that. haha. I will definitely keep working with this recipe and let you know what portions work out. Thanks for posting this! : )

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 21:47h, 13 October Reply

      Thanks so much for the feedback, Kelly! I’m glad you liked them. And I bet enough buttercream could have made them palatable to 10-year-olds as well! Please do let me know if you make any changes to the portions that work out well! My boyfriend’s mom is gluten-free so I’m working on some recipes to prepare when she is in town. 🙂 Thanks again!

  • kimberly
    Posted at 12:39h, 22 November Reply

    Hello! I love the glitter you show on your cupcakes – I love glitter and feel cupcakes should always have glitter!! Where did you get it and is it edible? Thank you!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 12:45h, 22 November Reply

      Hi Kimmy – The glitter I use is called “Disco Dust” and you can find it at your local cake supply store or at various places online. I usually buy mine here: http://www.countrykitchensa.com/shop/food-items/disco-dust/46/624/1581/. It is non-toxic but is not FDA approved – so if you’re baking for personal use it’s not a big deal but if you’re baking for customers you may want to run it by them to makes sure they don’t mind. Thanks for stopping by!

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  • Tricia
    Posted at 10:28h, 23 February Reply

    Thanks for this recipe! I’ve been living gluten free for years and had pretty much stopped eating any GF baked goods because there are so many bad ones out there. I used Manini’s Multiuso multipurpose GF flour in this replace in place of the Bob’s (because bean-y flours are awful!), and they came out super delicious! They are a little more dense than I would like — I prepared a 1/2 batch and barely made 12 cupcakes, let alone 15. What is the best way to get them to rise a bit more?

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 15:37h, 23 February Reply

      Hi Tricia – so glad to hear your tried these! Your cupcakes may have been a little dense due to over-beating once the liquid (in this case eggs and buttermilk) have been added to the batter. Make sure that you really only mix the eggs to incorporate, then limit mixing the buttermilk to no more than 2 minutes – you could even cut back on that time a little bit if your batter become smooth more quickly. Lastly, it’s a common complaint that GF baked goods are dense. Gluten plays a huge role in the baking process (science!) and without it, it’s extremely hard to achieve the fluffy texture of glutenous pastries. Hope this helps!

  • Sema
    Posted at 15:04h, 07 April Reply

    Hello 🙂 İ was looking for gluten free cupcake recipe and discover this. it’s really delicious and easy to make. Thank you soooo much 🙂

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 15:56h, 07 April Reply

      Thanks Sema! So glad you enjoyed!

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  • Rachelle
    Posted at 22:03h, 15 May Reply

    This was my first recipe baking gluten free, EVER. And I thought these cupcakes were wonderful for “what they are” so to speak. I used gf store bought frosting instead and that is mostly what you taste anyway. I thought the cupcakes had the same moistness as regular cupcakes, just a tad bit more grainy. Just a little like cornbread, but I like cornbread to so I didn’t mind. I even had to use a substitute for baking powder as I did not have it on hand and also substitute buttermilk and they still turned out great! Thanks for helping me with a good first gluten free baking experience!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 11:00h, 16 May Reply

      Glad you enjoyed them and I completely agree, these are great for ‘what they are’ – my palate is so accustomed to wheat flour that it’s hard to get excited over the alternative. Also, it’s fantastic to hear buttermilk works just as well – love that stuff!

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  • Ali
    Posted at 15:05h, 17 December Reply

    What about for chocolate glutin free? do you have a recipie for them too?

  • Kara D
    Posted at 12:47h, 03 July Reply

    I am a total gluten finatic and shun gluten free, but made these for my very pregnant gluten free sister-in-law’s baby shower. I loved the flavor (used trader joes gluten free flour). They had a slightly grainy texture but not to much!

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 18:14h, 07 July Reply

      Wonderful, Kara! So glad to hear it! And congrats to your sister-in-law! 🙂

  • Lara A
    Posted at 10:05h, 16 November Reply

    Just wanted to drop in as a GF eater and say that most of the recommendations for converting non GF to GF recipes have said to measure your product by weight. I believe that if the original recipe calls for 1 cup of regular flour then you are supposed to use 140 grams of GF flour. That could make a difference in the texture. If you substituted 3 cups of regular flour with 3 cups of GF flour then it would probably be a thicker batter than it should be. GF batter should be a bit thinner than regular batter. Thats been my experience anyway.

    • KWahlman
      Posted at 16:02h, 16 November Reply

      Hi Lara – thanks so much, I’ll definitely try this! Do you use this conversion for all mixes that claim to be “cup for cup”?

  • JT
    Posted at 09:37h, 07 August Reply

    I am not gluten free, but my mom is. I’ve been baking gluten free for a few years now and had some thoughts, although I don’t claim to be an expert. I feel the baking powder amt is a little low. I used 1 tsp. Also, I used 1C egg whites, which I whipped. I didn’t bother with the yolks. Doing this will help make them rise more, which mine did. I made a few other changes too, notably in using my own blend of gf flours. I really liked how they turned out. Thanks!

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  • Anne Casey
    Posted at 23:04h, 06 March Reply

    what could I sub for the butter in the frosting recipe ?

    Thank you Anne

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