Cakes · Cupcakes · Recipe reviews

Gluten-free Vanilla Cupcakes – Recipe Review

Recently, I received a business order – 40 gluten-free unicorn cupcakes, 20 vanilla and 20 chocolate. For the chocolate cupcakes, I made the chocolate oil cake recipe and substituted gluten-free flour for the normal flour – note that gluten-free flour often absorbs more water than normal wheat flour (I discovered this through experience – halfway through a recipe and I realise I’ve made a dough instead of a batter. Hurried dash to fetch another quarter cup of water and some more oil – thankfully it thinned out nicely. To avoid this situation, I suggest you increase the liquid when substituting gluten-free flour blends.)

However, finding a good gluten-free vanilla cupcake was more of a challenge. Being a bit of a chocoholic, many of my cake recipes are chocolate, and my main vanilla recipe (a sponge) did not work well with gluten-free flour. The Internet came to my rescue – a quick search and I discovered this recipe . I made it, and on seeing the delicious, ultra-fluffy vanilla batter I was delighted. This recipe was the answer to my prayers. Or so I thought… It turned out I still had some work to do. I had used Glutagon self-raising flour (Glutagon is my flour blend of choice for gluten-free baking, due to its smooth texture and neutral taste), but I obviously hadn’t removed enough raising agent to substitute for the raising agent in the self-raising flour – the gloriously light and fluffy cupcakes flopped immediately after being removed from the oven, leaving my spirits equally deflated. -_-



The wonderfully fluffy cupcakes of my second batch 🙂

The cupcakes, despite their catastrophic collapse, tasted divine, with a smooth silky texture that I fell in love with at first bite. This made me determined to get them to rise properly even with the self-raising flour, and I tried again the next day. This time I removed all the raising agent (both the baking powder and baking soda/bicarbonate of soda). I also reduced the sugar, using 1/2 a cup instead of 2/3, and halved the vanilla extract. I also measured my flour before starting and added a spoonful of flour with each egg addition to avoid curdling. My efforts paid off. The cupcakes did not flop this time; they retained their lovely texture and delicious flavour even with reduced sugar. Clearly, if you wanted to use self-raising flour, that was the way to go!


This is a lovely recipe to use if you want gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. It makes excellent light, moist, sweet and spicy cupcakes. I do recommend that if you are using a strong vanilla extract you reduce the amount you use, to avoid an overpowering vanilla flavour. But, on the whole, these are great cupcakes which I look forward to making many times!



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