Grain-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Grain Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Grain-Free Vanilla Cupcakes (vegan, naturally sweetened)

Happy Saturday!🎉
We are so obsessed with all things chocolate that sometimes we forget it’s amazing counterpart, vanilla. It has an understated elegance– though not as rich as chocolate, it is deeply aromatic and soothing in flavor. And though they do pair beautifully together, it’s sometimes nice to encounter them individually, appreciating the particular allure and flavor specific to each one.

vanilla light 1

I can’t wait for you to try these cupcakes, they are everything you would expect– moist + springy with a buttery vanilla flavor. They’re delicious alone and extra yummy with frosting-I guarantee they will disappear in seconds!

Tips For Today:
-Make sure your cupcakes are completely cooled before serving and before decorating. The inner texture will firm up during the cooling process, so it’s important to leave them unhandled until they are all cooled off.
-We used these pastry bags for this recipe, but large ziplock bags will also work fine.
-This is the closed star tip we used to create the looks below.
-I am a huge fan of AmeriColor gels for special occasions, but I do try to use dye-free food coloring whenever possible. The colors are not quite as vibrant, but you can still get a really beautiful and fun look. (Decorating tips below).
-Store any leftovers in a air tight container to retain moisture and proper texture.
-Links to our chocolate paleo icing and vanilla paleo frosting.

vanilla natural 2

Separate the frosting into 3 small bowls. Choose and add desired food coloring to each. You will need four pastry bags (or large ziplock bags). Fill three of the bags with one color each, as shown. Place your large closed star tip in the 4th bag.
Then pipe a thick strand of one of the colors into that bag. Repeat with the next two colors, layering them. Then push your frosting through the tip until you see all three colors come out swirled together. (You can also add a 4th color if desired).

To practice, pipe the little stars shown below–just push the icing through for about a second, release and pull up.
icing 3
For the hydrangea style cupcake, pipe one star in the middle of your cupcake then continue to pipe stars over the surface of the cupcake until it is completely covered. For the swirl, start in the middle, going counter clockwise. When you get to the final edge, release an pull up quickly.

vanilla light 2
Grain Free Vegan copy

Enjoy the recipe + Happy Cupcake Making!

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Grain Free Vegan copy

Grain-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

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  • Author: Lila Ruth
  • Total Time: about 45 min
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder (Hain brand is grain-free)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (regular milk will do for non-vegan version)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or melted Earth Balance
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • FOR THE FROSTING: (Link to Our Paleo Frosting Above In Tips Section)
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (Wholesome! brand is grain-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, tapioca starch, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. Add almond milk, honey, apple sauce, olive oil, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar to your flour mixture. Combine until batter is smooth.
  4. Fill each cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Remove from oven and place muffin tin on heat safe surface. It is very important to let your cupcakes cool COMPLETELY before serving or decorating as their inner texture will incur a necessary change during the cooling process.
  6. While your cupcakes are cooling, blend frosting ingredients together until smooth. Add more powdered sugar for a firmer icing, or a touch more milk for a creamier frosting.
  7. After your cupcakes are cooled, frost and decorate as desired. Tips in the post above on how to achieve the look created in our photos. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. Enjoy!!
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 20-25 min

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  1. You are completely right…sometimes we overlook vanilla. At times it seems so basic. But when you get down to it, vanilla is a wonderful flavor that works well for many occasions. Thanks for these fantastic decorating tips. I hope my cupcakes turn out as beautiful as yours!

    1. Thank you so much Noelle, I know your cupcakes will turn out gorgeous! And yes, vanilla really does work for so many occasions!! 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness your so right I get so caught up in Chocolate I completely neglect Vanilla! I’m really excited to make these! They look so delicious and perfect! I will definitely be taking advantage of those tips so thank you. I could brush up on my decorating skills a bit more! Love your page so much

    1. Oh I do too, all the time! Poor vanilla is underrated! 😉 But sometimes there’s just nothing better than a simple frosted vanilla cupcake. And thank you so much dear Natalie for your kind words!! It means so much.

  3. So I made these on a whim yesterday because it was my daughter’s first birthday. I never have much hope for gluten free/grain free stuff turning out good, but these blew me away. I left them in the oven a LITTLE long but other than that, they were PERFECT. This is now my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe. No weird and hard to find ingredients and it took me and my toddler 15 minutes to whip up. THANK you!

    1. Oh thank you so much, you are so kind to say that! I’m delighted you guys enjoyed the recipe and found it easy to make! We always love one bowl recipes, less fuss, more fun! 😀

    1. Hi Heather, thanks so much for your comment and for catching that! We’ve just gone in and corrected the misprint-I apologize for that! Tapioca adds more elasticity than potato starch and tends to works better in some vegan recipes like this one. Thank you again.

  4. Hi! The ingredients for the cupcakes say olive oil but in the directions it says melted butter? Making them now and used olive oil so hopefully that’s ok!

    1. Oh yes, olive oil is perfect and our preferred ingredient choice! Thank you so much for pointing that out, it was supposed to include the melted Earth Balance option– just went in and cleared that up, sorry about that! Hope you enjoy the cupcakes!! 😀

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