The quest for the perfect vanilla cake began as a search to create the ideal gluten-free pound cake. These vegan vanilla cupcakes, made with ten ingredients and one bowl, are naturally sweetened and gluten-free. We’ll show you exactly how to make them!

Gluten-free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

The first step is to mix the wet ingredients. Applesauce, almond milk, and avocado oil replace dairy milk, eggs, and other components.

We added a generous amount of vanilla extract to give it a BIG vanilla flavor.

The dry ingredients can be added to the same bowl to minimize the mess!

Mixing gluten-free flour is the key to creating a perfect texture for cupcakes. Almond flour has a cake-like smell and gives crumbs. They are light and fluffy, thanks to the potato starch. Cornstarch gives them structure.

We added baking powder for leavening and sea salt to add flavor.

They’re ready for eating after baking and cooling! You can eat them plain or top them with your favorite frosting, like Classic Buttercream Frosting or Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting.



  • We used almond milk.
  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or other neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Almond flour
  • 3/4 cup potato starch* (not potato flour)
  • 13 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of sea salt


  • Classic Buttercream Frosting
  • Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  • Date-sweetened Chocolate Frosting
  • Vegan Strawberry Frosting
  • Coconut whip cream


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin tin (we like this one) with cupcake liners. Cupcake liners work better than greasing the pan, as they keep the sides from getting too brown and produce a more attractive result. In a pinch, you can lightly grease the pan instead.
  • Add the dairy-free milk to a large bowl. Then, add the applesauce and avocado oil. Finally, add maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk together.
  • Add the almond flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Whisk again until all lumps are gone. The texture of the batter should be thick, similar to that of cornbread (see photo). If the batter is too thick, add a bit more dairy-free liquid milk. If the mixture is too thin, you can add more almond flour.
  • Divide batter evenly between cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 full. The recipe, as written, will make 12 cupcakes.
  • Bake in the middle rack for 25-30 mins or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. The edges should be golden brown, the tops dry, and the cupcakes will spring back when touched (rather than deflating). To avoid gumminess, it’s best to overbake the cupcakes slightly.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a cooling rack and let it cool completely.
  • When cooled, you can top the cupcakes with your favorite frosting. These cupcakes are subtly sweet and pair well with sweeter frostings such as our classic Buttercream Frosting, Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting, or Date-sweetened Chocolate frosting. Try a lightly-sweetened Coconut Whipped Cream with fresh berries.
  • It is best to consume within 24 hours of baking. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature, covered for 1-2 days, or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can freeze unfrosted cakes for up to a month.