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When it comes to gluten free cake recipes sometimes the simplest recipes are the best – and it doesn’t get much better than my easy gluten free vanilla cupcakes.

These are an absolute essential in any gluten free baking repertoire and I can’t believe I haven’t put them on the blog yet!

Sweet and fluffy vanilla cupcakes, topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting – these are perfect for parties or birthdays.

In fact, I think since the pandemic, individual birthday cakes are definitely going to be a popular option over giant, sharing cakes.

(And don’t forget if you’re looking for a vegan version of this recipe, check out my vegan and gluten free cupcakes here!)

gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe

A basic gluten free cupcake recipe

My gluten free vanilla cupcakes take things right back to basics so they’re great if you’re new to gluten free baking.

And once you’ve mastered these super easy cakes, you can then start experimenting with different flavours and toppings.

They are such a versatile bake and you can whip them up and have them in the oven in less than 10 minutes! It honestly couldn’t get any easier than that.

I had great fun making (many) batches of these to photograph, but honestly it’s the same standard recipe I’ve been making since I was a child baking with my Mum.

It’s almost become second nature to me! The only difference is these ones are gluten free!

gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe

Easy gluten free cupcakes everyone can make

It wasn’t until a few people asked me for a gluten free cupcake recipe that I realised I hadn’t shared this on my blog yet.

Sometimes I think it’s the basic recipes you use ALL the time, which you often forget to share.

I’ve made fancy versions, such as my gluten free prosecco cupcakes , tasty gluten free chocolate orange cupcakes, or even my gluten free apple crumble cupcakes.

I’ve even made spooky gluten free monster cupcakes for Halloween! But these are a basic gluten free vanilla cupcake recipe ANYONE can make.

They’re also fantastic to make with children. Kids will love watching them rise in the oven and then helping to decorate them with the colourful buttercream frosting!

gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe

How to make vanilla buttercream frosting

To make my vanilla buttercream, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 175 g unsalted butter, (at room temperature)
  • 350 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I tend to go for an ‘all-in-one’ method and beat everything together until it’s light and fluffy.

You DEFINITELY want to make sure the butter is room temperature when making any form of buttercream.

Take it out of the fridge at least an hour or two before you want to make this.

For piping, I use a 1M nozzle as I think this has the best effect.

If you don’t have a piping bag or nozzle, you can always use a palate knife to swirl the buttercream frosting on instead.

For the sprinkles I found these Dr Oetker ones that don’t contain any gluten or have and ‘may contain’ warnings.

Be aware when you’re choosing your sprinkles that some contain wheat starch so are not gluten free! Make sure you always check the labels.

gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe

What equipment will you need to make my gluten free cupcakes?

Don’t worry – you only require the very basics! To make these gluten free vanilla cupcakes you’ll need:

The ingredients are all store-cupboard essentials, do you don’t have to worry about buying anything fancy.

I use a supermarket-own vanilla extract for the flavouring, and I usually use the gluten free self-raising flour from either FREEE or Sainsbury’s.

These are both available readily in the supermarket and means you don’t have to buy any complicated or expensive ingredients.

However, if you’re using a flour which doesn’t have xanthan gum already, I’d recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon instead of 1/4 to give it a good texture.

gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe

My gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe

Let’s get cracking with my gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe! This recipe makes 12 cupcakes, and it’s SO EASY!

They are perfect for making with children and are also a great option for a birthday cake too.

If you make this recipe and love it, please do let me know by tagging me on my Instagram or using #theglutenfreeblogger. I love seeing your bakes!

And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.

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gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Gluten free vanilla cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These gluten free vanilla cupcakes are SO easy to make and have a delicious buttercream frosting. Perfect for coeliac-friendly parties or birthdays.


For the cupcakes:

  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter, (softened)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125 g self raising gluten free flour
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the buttercream frosting:

  • 175 g unsalted butter, (at room temperature)
  • 350 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Gluten free sprinkles


  1. Preheat the oven to 180'C (170'C fan) / Gas 4. Fill a 12-hole baking tin with cupcake cases and set aside while you make the cake batter.
  2. Add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. (TIP: If the butter is hard, zap it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before adding it to the mixing bowl to make it easier!)
  3. Crack the eggs into the mixing bowl and beat again for 30 seconds to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula.
  4. Sift in the self-raising gluten free flour and xantham gum, add the milk, and then beat together with the electric whisk until everything is fully combined. You want a fairly thick batter which looks light and fluffy.
  5. Spoon the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and then place in the centre of an oven and bake for 20-22 minutes. The cupcakes are done when they are well-risen, golden on top, and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool in the tray for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the tray to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  1. Add the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk on a low speed until it becomes a smooth, pale buttercream. (TIP: To avoid an icing-sugar dust cloud I tend to 'mash' the mixture with a fork until it starts to come together, then use the electric whisk).
  2. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (see notes) and, once the cupcakes are completely cool, decorate them with a swirl of buttercream. Finish with sprinkles.


  • For the frosting, it's important to use room temperature butter to get the right consistency. If it becomes very soft once beaten (especially likely on a hot day) then place the buttercream in the piping bag and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes until it's an easy consistency to pipe.
  • These cupcakes will keep for around 3 days in an air-tight container. You can also freeze the cakes BEFORE frosting and defrost and decorate as desired.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cupcake

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 0gSugar: 39gProtein: 3g

More Gluten Free Bakes

Need some more gluten free baking inspiration?

If you want to have a go at some of the other gluten free cake recipes on the blog, why not give some of these a try?

They’re perfect to satisfy any cake cravings!

If you do make this recipe please let me know! I’d love to see your photos using #theglutenfreeblogger, share them in my Facebook group or tag me on Instagram.

And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!

Like this Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes recipe?

Make sure you pin these recipe cards below for later! Do head over and follow me on Pinterest too for more gluten free recipe inspiration.

Gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe (3)

Gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe (3)

Gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe (3)

Gluten free vanilla cupcakes recipe (3)

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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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1 Comment

  1. Is there a substitute for xanthan gum? And can I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour?