Fluffy, moist and tender gluten-free vanilla cupcake made with vanilla beans and decorated with Swiss meringue vanilla buttercream. This recipe for gluten-free vanilla cupcakes is very easy to make and convenient.
Cupcakes are similar to cakes. They can actually be considered small cakes. Their small size makes them convenient for events. The first mention of cupcakes was in 1796. Back then, they were baked in pottery cups. I guess that's where cake in a mug originated. Just like Vanilla cakes, vanilla cupcakes are a classic and have been around for a really long time.
If you love to bake, learning how to make a classic gluten-free vanilla cupcake is essential as it is pretty much the foundation of all cupcakes. Simply put, you can alter a vanilla cupcake into different flavors by adding extra ingredients. Hence, if you know how to make a gluten-free vanilla cupcake, you can make almost any cupcake.
The Basic Ingredients of a Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcake
- White Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour, Brown Rice Flour: White Rice, Tapioca, and Brown rice flour will be used as the gluten-free flour mix. I have not tried this recipe with gluten-free all-purpose flour. If you did and it worked, let me know in the comment section below.
- Xanthan Gum: Binding agent to provide our gluten-free flour with structure.
- Baking powder and Baking Soda: Baking powder and baking soda will help the gluten-free vanilla cupcake rise.
- Full-Fat Milk: I used full-fat Milk for this recipe, but you can also substitute it with coconut milk if you like.
- Unsalted Butter: Make sure that the butter is at room temperature and is a bit squishy.
- Granulated Sugar: This recipe works great with granulated sugar. I tried it with caster sugar, and it worked as well. So use whatever you find in your pantry.
- Egg and Egg Whites: To make the gluten-free vanilla cupcake moist and fluffy, we will be using a whole egg and two egg whites. The egg whites will incorporate air into the cupcake batter when beaten with butter. The trapped air will then expand in the oven making the cupcakes fluffy. Furthermore, the egg whites will add moisture to the cupcakes, making them really moist and crumbly.
- Vanilla Beans: Vanilla is the star of the show here. I tried this recipe three times with different kinds of vanilla, vanilla paste, vanilla beans, and vanilla extract. The winner was vanilla beans. Nothing can beat the flavor of natural Madagascar grade A vanilla beans. Since we are not using any other ingredients to flavor these cupcakes, it is essential to choose the proper vanilla. The second-best cupcake was the one with vanilla paste. I highly recommend not using vanilla extract as the vanilla will not be as strong and as natural.
Making the Cupcakes
First, preheat the oven to 180℃.
To make our vanilla cupcakes, we will first start by combining and whisking the dry ingredients such as flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Then in the bowl of a stand-alone mixer with a paddle attachment or hand-held mixture, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium-high speed. Then we will add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the other. Afterward, add the vanilla and beat until combined.
Now, add half the dry ingredient mixture followed by the Milk and combine at low-medium speed. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until combined making sure that you don't overmix the batter.
Align a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Then fill each cupcake, making sure that the cupcakes are ⅔ full. Don't overfill the cupcakes, or your cupcakes will overflow in the oven. Finally, bake the gluten-free vanilla cupcakes for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This gluten-free vanilla cupcake tastes delicious without any frosting. However, to be fancy, we will make a Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. If you want to combine this cupcake with cream cheese frosting instead, check out our coconut cupcake recipe.
To make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream we will need the following:
- Egg Whites
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla Bean or Vanilla Paste
We will start by first separating the egg whites from the egg yolk. Pour the egg whites in a heat-safe bowl, ensuring that the egg whites don't contain any egg yolk. Add the sugar to the egg whites and whisk until combined.
Now, create a double boiler by adding a small amount of water to a saucepan and placing the heat-safe bowl on top. Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of your heat-safe bowl. At low-medium heat, whisk the egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolves. The sugar should dissolve when the mixture reaches 70℃.
Next, remove the mixture from heat and transfer it to your stand-alone mixture. Using a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and sugar at medium-high speed for about 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes pass, your egg whites should be foamy, fluffy, and have a strong peak, as seen in the picture below.
Now, we will reduce the speed of the mixture to low and add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Once you run out of butter, your Swiss meringue buttercream should have a stiff peak and a spreading consistency, as seen below.
Now you can flavor your Swiss Meringue Buttercream by adding vanilla or any flavor of your choice. You can also color it to create a beautiful frosting.
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcake
- 79 grams of White Rice Flour
- 48 grams of Tapioca Flour
- 32 grams of Brown Rice Flour
- ¾ tsp of Xanthan Gum
- 1 ½ tsp of Baking Powder
- ¼ tsp of Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp of Salt
- 200 ml of Full-Fat Milk at room temperature
- 120 grams of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
- 187 grams of granulated white sugar or caster sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 2 Egg whites
- 1 ½ Vanilla Beans or 1 ½ tsp of Vanilla Paste
Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream
- 4 Egg Whites
- 300 grams of Granulated White Sugar or Caster Sugar
- 400 grams of Unsalted Butter
- 1 Vanilla Bean or 1 tsp of Vanilla Paste
- Preheat the oven to 180℃.
- Using a stand-alone mixer or a hand-held mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy at medium-high speed.
- Then, add the eggs one at a time, making sure that the eggs are well incorporated with each addition.
- Next, add in the vanilla beans or vanilla paste and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl of your mixer followed by the Milk, and combine at low speed. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined. Make sure not to overmix the batter.
- Align a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and fill the cupcakes ⅔ full.
- Bake, the gluten-free vanilla cupcakes for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Once the cupcakes are baked, allow them to cool inside the cupcake pan for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before decorating.
Swiss Meringue Vanilla Buttercream
- Separate the egg whites from the egg yolk, making sure that the egg whites solution is free from any egg yolk.
- Place the egg whites in a heat-safe bowl, and add the sugar. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together until combined.
- Create a double boiler by adding a small amount of water to a saucepan and placing the heat-safe bowl on top. Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the heat-safe bowl. On low-medium heat, keep whisking the egg whites and sugar until all the sugar dissolves. The sugar will dissolve when the mixture reaches a temperature of 70℃.
- Remove the mixture from heat and transfer it to the stand-alone mixer bowl. Beat the egg whites and sugar using a stand-alone mixer with the whisk attachment for about 15 minutes at medium-high speed. The egg whites and sugar should be foamy, stretchy, and thick by now.
- Next, add the butter one tablespoon at a time while the mixer is running at medium-high speed.
- Finally, add the vanilla bean or vanilla paste and mix until combined. The Swiss Meringue buttercream should have a spreading consistency and stiff peaks.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag and frost the vanilla cupcakes.
- I recommend using Madagascar Grade A Vanilla Beans for these cupcakes.
- Don't over mix the cupcake batter, as this will affect how high the cupcakes rise in the oven.
- To test if the sugar has melted in the egg whites solution, rub a small amount of the mixture between your hands. If the mixture is grainless, then the sugar has dissolved. Or you can use a thermometer to measure the temperature. Once the mixture reaches 70℃, it is safe to remove it from heat.
- Decorate the cupcakes once they reach room temperature; otherwise, the buttercream will melt.