Fluffy golden Vegan Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes with sweet raspberry frosting and a soft delicate crumb you’d never guess is egg and grain free!
There is nothing more exquisitely simple than a classic vanilla cupcake. And even though we’re breaking a lot of ingredient traditions here, the first bite floating away on fluffy sweet clouds of cake and birthday memories part is in full effect.
I lost count of the number or trial half batches and bags of cassava flour and late night baking/tasting sessions around take 7, and I think even my oven lost faith for a while. But we powered through. Tweaked and changed and optimized for fluffiest cupcake crumb. Stayed true to the mission of creating a grain-free and egg-free (nut-free too if you need them to be!) recipe. So finally here they are: Vegan Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes.
Like I said, not exactly traditional. But not too crazy complicated either. Here’s the breakdown:
- Instead of all purpose flour: We are using a mix of cassava flour – grain and nut-free, but the most similar to all purpose that I’ve found – and just a little bit of coconut flour to improve the crumb.
- Instead of sugar: I tested this so many ways, but a combination of granulated and liquid sweetener worked best. This could be cane or coconut sugar for the granulated, and agave or honey or maple syrup for the liquid.
- Instead of butter: Coconut oil works best, sorry to my oil free friends but they were just too heavy with nut butter and too dry without some sort of fat source.
- Instead of milk: As many vegan cupcakes do, we are using a mixture of almond milk and apple cider vinegar. This creates a “buttermilk” like consistency and the acid of the vinegar also helps activate the baking soda for rise.
- The usuals: Gotta have ’em – salt, vanilla, and leavening (baking soda).
The beauty of vanilla cupcakes is that they are a perfect canvas for any kind of frosting or topping you want (or none at all!). Dip or drizzle with chocolate ganache. Dollop on some simple coconut whipped cream and berries. Swirl with a decadent contrast of chocolate frosting. Or make this light and summery, sweet-tart, raspberry frosting.
It is a cashew based frosting partially sweetened and colored pink with freeze dried raspberries. You do need to soak the cashews and chill the frosting so it thickens after blending, so I actually recommend making this part first. It can be a little trickier to pipe than a traditional buttercream, so a messy rustic smear works just as well.
Cupcake Baking Tips
- Err on the side of baking longer rather than under-baking. I recommend toothpick testing or pressing the middles to make sure they aren’t at all mushy. They should be very golden and domed when done.
- Fill the cupcakes 3/4 of the way or even a little more, without eggs they won’t rise as much as a traditional cupcake.
- Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting, otherwise your frosting will melt right off.
- Double the batch if you share a house/kitchen with lots of other humans, they are hard to share.
More Cupcake Recipes
- These vegan/paleo chocolate cupcakes are their dark and decadent counterpart
- Or for an oat flour vanilla cupcake, try this recipe
- These fruit-sweetened chocolate cupcakes (and there is a vanilla version) are a long time reader favorite
- And since it’s almost fall, something spiced
Vegan Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 22 minutes
- Total Time: 37 minutes
- Yield: 8 cupcakes 1x
- Category: cupcakes
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: american
Fluffy, golden, Vegan Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes with sweet raspberry frosting and a soft delicate crumb you’d never guess is egg and grain free!
- 1 1/4 cup (175g) cassava flour
- 2 tbsp (15g) coconut flour*
- 1/3 cup (80g) cane sugar or coconut sugar**
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup (105g) maple syrup or agave
- 3/4 cup (180g) almond milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup (100g) coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (150g) raw cashews, soaked at least 4 hours
- 1 cup (25g) freeze dried raspberries****
- 2 tbsp (40g) maple syrup or agave
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
- Almond milk to blend if needed
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Stir the apple cider vinegar into the almond milk and set aside.
- Whisk together the cassava flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt until lump free.
- In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup or agave, cane sugar, milk mixture, coconut oil, and vanilla (all at room temp or warmer).
- Add wet to dry, and mix to combine.
- Scoop into a cupcake pan (either grease or use paper liners) filling each almost to the top. You will get 6-8 depending on your pan.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes at 350ºF until golden brown on top and they spring back when you lightly press the center.
- Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, grind the freeze dried raspberries to a powder. Drain the cashews, and blend with the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt on high until very smooth. Add the raspberry powder one spoonful at a time to achieve desired color. Chill to thicken.
- Frost cooled cupcakes, and eat!
*You can swap it with 1/4 cup more cassava flour, but the coconut flour gives the cupcakes a much more defined crumb.
**Either will taste delicious, the cane sugar will preserve the lighter vanilla color.
***Or be lazy, buy vegan frosting, and just add the berry powder.
****Other freeze dried berries would be fine too, or you can use natural food coloring.
- Serving Size: 1 cupcake
- Calories: 455
- Sugar: 21g
- Sodium: 259mg
- Fat: 27g
- Saturated Fat: 16g
- Carbohydrates: 49g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 3g
Keywords: vegan, gluten free, grain free, birthday, vanilla, easy, healthy, cassava, cake, paleo, raspberry, frosting, cashew
My question is- would applesauce work instead of oil? Thank you for all the lovely recipes!!!! 😉
You can, but I don’t recommend it. The texture will be less fluffy and more gummy, I did test it. Also if you are going to try it, I recommend spraying the cupcake pan as opposed to using liners because they will stick to the paper. Coconut butter is a better oil-free option!
Certainly appreciate all your testing and quick response!!
Of course, hope you enjoy them!
Florence Westcott says
I would need nut free as well as coconut free, can you assist with that.
You can use another type of oil, cane sugar as opposed to coconut sugar, and then just omit the coconut flour and add an extra 1/4 cup cassava. The texture won’t be as fluffy without the coconut flour, but should still work!
I am wanting to bake a vegan and gluten free vanilla cupcake recipe for a party and am trying to decide between this recipe and your ‘vegan vanilla cupcake’ recipe that uses oat flour and tapioca starch.
I was wondering what the difference is in the final texture of the cupcakes between the two recipes, and which most closely resembles traditional gluten-filled cupcakes.
Thanks so much!
Ooh that’s a hard decision, I love them both. Personally I think these have a richer most moist texture but are probably ever so slightly more dense. The other recipe is a little lighter but do dry out faster if you are going to be baking them ahead of time. It really depends on your preference, or for a middle of the road recipe I also have this one: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9UOfOdhdbB/ that uses both almond and oat flour. Ha sorry that probably didn’t help😆 But I find texture wise those are somewhere in the middle too!
excellent. thank you. pat
So happy you like them Pat 🙂
Hello ! I don’t have casava flour, could I use regular all purpose flour? Thank you !
Yes that will work!
I used coconut milk instead and they feel kind of chewy !! Lol I didn’t think it made a difference if I used instead of almond milk! It does??
Coconut milk is higher in fat so that could make them more dense. What I’d recommend is half coconut milk half water so you get a consistency similar to almond milk!
Great – I came down into the comments to ask about swapping the milk, and here is my answer 🙂
Excited to find this recipe – I’m looking for treats for a friend who can’t do dairy, eggs, grains, seeds, chocolate or coffee,. This looks tasty and safe. (They can do nuts and fruit, fortunately)
Well I am happy you found what you were looking for on the milk questions, and I hope you love this recipe! Keep me updated on what you and your friend think 🙂
I followed the exact directions and they came out very gummy. The flavor is PHENOMINAL but I’m so disappointed in the texture. I don’t know what may have gone wrong. I used Trader Joe’s unsweetened original almond milk with the apple cider vinegar and instead of it becoming a buttermilk consistency, the vinegar settled on the top and the almond milk turned into little curds. Do you think this may have effected my batter? I’m determined to try it again!
Hmm the milk sounds fine. I do try to stir it in, but you want it to curdle like that that’s actually the goal. What brand of cassava flour did you use? And did you measure by weight or cups?
Can I use any type of freeze dried fruit for the frosting?
Absolutely! Some will have a more potent color than others, but any kind will work😊
A technical question. . I noticed in this recipe that the muffin tins are on the larger size.. is this a jumbo 6 muffin tin that you used vs standard size? Do you tend to use the jumbo size for your muffin / cupcake recipes or are some the standard size? It’s so hard to tell size from photos. I like the idea of a bigger size though, so ordered some before making one of your zucchini and chocolate recipes. 😉
Nope not a jumbo size, just normal! I don’t own a jumbo muffin pan (kinda want one though haha) so all my recipes are made in a regular size muffin pan😊
Oh I didn’t know that the standard size muffin pans came with just 6 instead of 12 holes that’s why I thought they were the jumbo ones. Well your standard muffins look way bigger than mine have in the past.. hmmm. 🙂
Can I use olive oil in place of coconut ?
Yes that will work here!
What substitute can I use for cassava flour? I have tapioca starch but I believe is not the same. Thanks!
Nope not the same unfortunately, tapioca is more refined and much stickier so it will make the cupcakes gummy. All purpose or spelt would work here though, I can’t think of any other paleo flours that would work 1 for 1. But I do have other vanilla cupcake recipes with oat flour and such too!
If I were to use spelt or plain flour here, would I still need to use the coconut flour? Or should I just use all spelt/plain flour (using the gram measurements)? Also can this be baked into a round cake in two 8”pans (I’m guessing that I’d need to double the recipe)?
Correct, you won’t need the coconut flour with spelt. And I haven’t tried this one as a cake but should be fine, you may have to add 5-10 mins to the bake time. I would double it, one batch won’t be enough for 2 8″ cakes, but you may have some extra batter. Fill both pans 3/4 of the way or so, don’t overfill them or it won’t cook through properly. Good luck Anna!
So sad these did not work. They fell apart. (yes, I weighed everything). They were WAY too sweet….and they dropped in the centers.
Sorry they didn’t work out for you😕
I have cassava flour but not the coconut..could I use whole wheat or oat flour instead of the coconut?
Coconut flour is a very unique texture that none other really replicates, you might be better off using all whole wheat instead of cassava. Whole wheat alone yields a better texture that doesn’t need the balance of coconut flour as much as cassava does. Try about 1 1/2 cups whole wheat!
Do you think vegan butter would work instead of coconut oil for a bit more flavour, or is the coconut oil important for the structure of the cupcake?
Yes absolutely! Vegan butter will work perfectly here, just make sure you either melt it before mixing or use a hand mixer to mix the batter so the butter gets fully incorporated. Enjoy Natasha!
Just made these, they are delish! Great recipe. Not too sweet, a nice chewy texture with that luscious light crumb on top. Thank you 🙂
I am so so happy you loved them Alissa!