The Best Buttery Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes + 3 Keys to Cupcake Success

The Best Buttery Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes + 3 Keys to Cupcake Success
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Cupcakes. Even before the emergence of fancy cupcake shops, cupcake TV shows and (god help us) cupcake ATMs, there was abundant love for the darling little cakes for one.

Remember looking forward to birthday parties not for the giant monstrosity of crusty-frosting-covered cake, but for the cupcakes that were served to the guests?

Parents who served cupcakes with frosting as tall as the cake garnered my respect. I thought, now that’s a sign of a good parent.

Of course, not just any frosting will do. Nor will any old cake pass muster. All three keys to cupcake success must be met in order to have the cupcake experience of your dreams.

The next time you serve these tiny frosted joy bombs, use these tips (and this vanilla cupcake recipe!) to get it right. Everyone will love you and your world will feel ever so slightly more balanced, I promise.

3 Keys to Cupcake Success

The Best Buttery Gluten-Free Cupcakes

1 – Start with a superb cake recipe.

This vanilla cupcake recipe is stellar, out of this world, moist, buttery and I’ve yet to serve it to anyone who didn’t say, “I could eat just the cake, it’s so good.” Having said that, there are millions of awesome cupcake recipes out there, so find one you love. If you’re after chocolate cupcakes, check out these Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes (or the vegan version, which is equally delish!).

2 – Top with frosting that’s as good as the cake.

Forego the crusty over-decorated cupcakes and get down to business with an honest- to-goodness frosting that tastes like something besides confectioners’ sugar. Use real ingredients, real flavorings and take as much care making the frosting as you did the cake. I love this secret ingredient Superfood Fudge Frosting on vanilla cupcakes (or right off a spoon!) and I don’t think you can ever go wrong with 2-Ingredient Mascarpone Frosting. For a delicate, old-fashioned taste, make a batch of Old Fashioned Cooked Frosting (it’s the famous red velvet cake frosting!). If you’re a cream cheese fan, you will love my Best Cream Cheese Frosting.

3 – Remember, frosting to cake ratio is crucial.

Frost those babies like you mean it! Aim for a nearly 1:1 ratio of frosting to cake, then tweak that depending upon the type cake you’re using. Skimpy frosting is just that… skimpy. It leaves us wanting. When you use a great frosting that is well-suited to the cake beneath, people want to have enough. I adjust down a bit when I make filled cupcakes, and use a touch less frosting, but otherwise, 1:1 works best, in my opinion.

The Best Buttery Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Now, go forth and make tiny cakes, cool them and top them with creamy sweetness and serve them with joy!

The Best Buttery Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

5.0 from 1 reviews
The Best Buttery Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is free from: gluten, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, corn. It can be made dairy-free by substituting dairy-free butter substitute for the butter.
Recipe type: dessert, cake, cupcakes
Serves: 6 large or 12 regular cupcakes
  • ½ cup (125g) salted butter, at room temperature (Use a good quality European butter if possible; for dairy-free, sub your favorite butter substitute; if you use unsalted butter, add ¼-1/2 t. salt to the dry ingredients.)
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (I use organic eggs from farm-raised chickens; egg quality makes a difference in your baked goods.)
  • 1 cup (115 g) Gigi’s Everyday GF Flour Blend, Gum-Free or similar gum-free blend
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I like Nielsen Massey extracts.)
  • ¼ cup milk (Use any dairy or dairy-free milk you like to use in baking.)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Use a 6-section muffin pan for big, fluffy jumbo cupcakes or a 12-section muffin pan for smaller ones. Grease your pan lightly, or line with parchment liners.
  3. Whip butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; a stand mixer is great, but you can do this by hand, as well).
  4. Add eggs, beating well.
  5. Sift in flour, baking powder and soda. (I like sifting these in with a large wire mesh sieve.)
  6. Stir until incorporated, then stir in vanilla and milk.
  7. Divide batter evenly between sections of your desired pan.
  8. For a 6-section pan, which is what I use when I make these, I use 3 scoops of batter from a #40 cookie scoop, which is 1 ½ T. batter per scoop. That’s a grand total 4 ½ T. batter per cupcake. (For twice as many cupcakes, use 2 ¼ T. batter for each one.)
  9. Bake 6 larger cupcakes 15-18 minutes. Bake 12 smaller cupcakes 12-15 minutes. Check them at the lower time to make sure they do not over-bake.
  10. Remove from oven, cool in pan 15 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Once completely cooled, frost as desired. (See my notes for frosting suggestions.)

You can find more frosting recipes and more cupcake love here!

Fluffy Dairy-Free Lemon Frosting

Thought you’d like to know…

Gluten Free Gigi

Sign up to get all my FREE RECIPES and Smart Nutrition Backed by Science wellness and nutrition ARTICLES!

Get YOUR copy of The Gluten-Free Solution: Your Ultimate Guide to Positive Gluten-Free Living today!

It’s also available for Kindle!

As someone with celiac disease and multiple food allergies, Gigi understands how food can harm or heal. Fully restoring her own health with diet alone after a 25-year health struggle, Gigi now uses her own experiences and the skills she gained as a former neuroscience researcher to share practical, easy-to-understand strategies, science-backed nutrition information, immediately useful tips and recipes to make gluten-free living liberating and positive for everyone!
  • Ashley

    Hi, do you have a calorie count for your cupcakes? THANKS!

    • glutenfreegigi

      Hi, Ashley. No, I do not provide any nutritional info for recipes, as folks tend to change ingredients/make substitutions, etc. You can calculate it easy enough, though ;) xo

      • Julia Hall

        I really love your recipes it’s very helpful I’m actually using it for my science fair project

        • glutenfreegigi

          Oh, wow, Julia! I’d love to hear more about that project! Did you know some college students in Ireland recently did that, too? They created a gf muffin based on the recommendations I provided.. fun! :)

  • Mary Motte

    I noticed no xanthan gum added to the cake besides not being in the flour? A bit skeptical but it is worth trying the recipe without the xanthan gum just to have a tender cake!

    • glutenfreegigi

      Mary, If you follow me for a while, you will learn that it is very rare that I use any gums in baking. That is because they are largely unnecessary and over-used. Many are unable to tolerate them, as they can lead to GI upset. And skeptics are welcome here, too ;)

  • Kate Coghill

    I’m wondering if you can substitute sugar with granulated white sugar with Truvia? Also is almond milk, a good dairy free milk substitute?

    I’m excited to try this cupcake recipe for my moms birthday :)

    • glutenfreegigi

      I do not use artificial sweeteners or substitutes like Truvia, so I recommend you experiment. Thanks! :)

      For milk, I am dairy-free and use unsweetened coconut milk (from carton or homemade). I am nut-free so do not use almond or other tree nut products. I do think it would be a good sub, though.

      • Kate Coghill

        Thankyou, so much! I’m excited to try this.

  • Melaniex1985

    Thank you for this recipe! I’m tired of using boxed mixes. Can I use this recipe for a small 8in Cake instead of cupcakes?

    • glutenfreegigi

      You are so welcome, Melanie! :)

      I am sure it would work; however, I have not tried it yet… what am I waiting for?? ;)


  • Rue Olp

    Hi! I will try these for my son’s birthday. Wondering if you have a great dairy free frosting recipe. While I’m an experienced baker I have not ever made dairy free frosting.

  • Sarah V

    How many cupcakes does this make? This looks very yummy by the way ^^

    • glutenfreegigi

      Sarah, as stated in the directions – use a 12-section pan and divide batter evenly among the sections. ;)


  • Davonne Parks

    We made these this afternoon. This is our new go-to vanilla cupcake recipe! (We made 24 minis and 5 regular size cupcakes from one recipe.) Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I pinned this to my GF pinterest board. Here’s a link to a photo of my results if you’re interested:

  • Jackie

    Hi Gigi, for your all purpose gluten free mix, would it be possible to substitute the rice flour for sorghum flour as it is also a ‘whole grain’ flour? Or does the rice help to stick it all together? Loving your blog! Jackie @fussyflours

    • glutenfreegigi

      Hi, Jackie.

      You have 2 options here. First, have a read of Substituting GF Flours & Starches, which will be useful in all your baking endeavors when substituting. You can find it via this link:

      Second, you could always test the recipe with my Rice Free GF Flour Blend, which is in Recipes/Bread/Flour Blends.

      (PS – no, that is not the purpose of the rice flour in the blend.)

      Glad you love the website!

  • Barbie Davis

    Oooh, This Looks Yummy!