Tender and fluffy with a perfect dome, these Vanilla Cupcakes are not only Sugar Free and Gluten Free but also Nut Free and Dairy Free, too! That makes them perfect for any group gathering especially one with kids.
These Vanilla Cupcakes have been a recipe in the making for a long time now. Everyone needs a good basic cake recipe, and I have one… but it’s Paleo (my Paleo Sheet Cake recipe). With an upcoming kids’ birthday party where at least two kids have known nut allergies, I couldn’t fall back on my usual Paleo option of using almond flour as the base.
So I had to get creative.
It might be funny to hear this, especially if you’re new to Paleo baking, but almond flour is actually REALLY easy to bake with. It’s sturdy and reliable, and it has a naturally moist and sweet flavor. It’s very forgiving.
Gluten Free Flours, however, are trickier. There are so many to choose from, and each one produces a different quality and texture. A blend of several Gluten Free Flours is almost always the way to go (I love Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour). But. I still wasn’t getting the result I wanted with just using a Gluten Free Flour blend.
The magic ingredient that gives these Vanilla Cupcakes just the right texture and lightness is cornstarch. I can’t take credit for the idea. I learned that from Sally’s Baking Addiction which, if you don’t know it already, is an amazing food blog with so much baking wisdom on it.
So the cornstarch worked. Yay!
And using just egg whites instead of whole eggs also helped to make the cupcakes lighter instead of dense. Why? Because egg whites dry out baked goods, while egg yolks contribute moisture and tenderness. A whole egg will do a bit of both, but when I used whole eggs for the cupcakes, they were too moist and dense.
The other thing I wanted to test had to do with technique. I meticulously followed the recommendations of several recipes of adding a little bit of the flour mixture first followed by a little bit of the liquid, alternating until both are used up. But I wondered… is that really necessary? Could I possibly have one less bowl to wash? Because, seriously, that is always a goal of mine.
So I made the cupcakes again for …. well, I lost track, but probably the 15th time? And after I creamed the shortening and added the egg whites, then I just added all the flour and leavening agents. My mixer was thwacking it around a bit as the dough was very tough. But then I poured in all the oat milk at once, and it was like magic. The batter was silky and perfect.
And guess what? Those cupcakes with the “just dump it all it” method actually rose higher and had a more tender crumb.
I honestly have no idea why.
But the evidence cannot be argued with. And I love it when a recipe can be made easier and simpler.
TIP: Make Sure Ingredients are at Room Temperature
Make sure the shortening is at room temperature before creaming it in the mixer. To make things easier, I usually just put the shortening along with the maple syrup in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften it up and make sure the components aren’t cold.
BONUS: How Low Can You Go?
So how Sugar Free are these cupcakes? Well, truthfully, I am happy eating cupcakes sweetened with only stevia, but when I’m planning to serve baked goods to kids who are used to eating regular sugar, then I tend to make them a bit sweeter. Plus, adding a small amount of maple syrup helps to create crystallization and makes for a really nice crumb and tenderness.
But let’s look at some numbers and see how good these cupcakes really are. In the cupcakes by themselves (let’s leave the frosting out of it just for simplicity’s sake), we’re using 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup which has 24 grams of sugar. The recipe makes 12 cupcakes, so a quick bit of math later, and these cupcakes have just 2 grams of sugar each.
Not impressing you yet?
Let’s look at the numbers for a typical cupcake sweetened with regular sugar. If there is 1 cup of sugar in the recipe for 12 cupcakes, and each cup of table sugar contains 200 g of added sugars, then each cupcake would contain 16 g of sugar. And that doesn’t include the frosting.
The American Heart Association recommends a daily consumption of added sugars of less than 25 grams per day for women and less than 36 grams per day for men. When we start looking at all of the hidden and not-so-hidden sugars that we consume throughout the day, it adds up quickly. And, let’s be honest, I’m not one to limit myself to one cupcake. If I’m making cupcakes, I’m probably going to eat 2… at least.
Maybe I’ll make a bumper sticker – Save your heart, eat Sugar Free Cupcakes!
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe:
- No Sugar
- Gluten Free
- Nut Free
- Dairy Free
- Low FODMAP
- Low Cholesterol
- Easy to make
- Healthy and delicious
Ingredients for Sugar Free Gluten Free Nut Free Vanilla Cupcakes:
- Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- liquid stevia
- maple syrup
- egg whites
- oat milk
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- cream of tartar
Notes on Ingredients:
Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks – Make sure the Earth Balance is softened before putting it in the mixer. If it’s too cold, then it won’t incorporate well with the other ingredients. I usually just pop it in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften it up.
Egg whites – You know all those egg whites you’ve been saving up from all my recipes you’ve been making that call for “eggs + egg yolk”? Well, now’s the time to use them. You need 3 egg whites or 90 grams of egg whites.
Oat milk – Using oat milk helps keep these cupcakes both nut free and dairy free.
Cornstarch – Cornstarch is truly the magic ingredient here. It gives the cupcakes this wonderful tenderness that melts on the tongue. Don’t leave it out. And I don’t recommend substituting it with any other kind of starch (potato, arrowroot, tapioca). Each starch has different qualities, and in this recipe, cornstarch really produces the right texture and flavor.
How to Make Sugar Free Gluten Free Nut Free Vanilla Cupcakes From Scratch
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners. I love these compostable liners.
Make the Cupcakes
Soften the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks by putting them in a bowl with the maple syrup and putting them in the microwave for about 15 seconds. I add the maple syrup, because I always keep maple syrup in the refrigerator, so it helps to take the chill out of the maple syrup, too.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks with the liquid stevia and maple syrup. Add the vanilla and egg whites. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
In a separate bowl, mix together the Gluten Free Flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the mixer and beat on low. The mixture will be thick – that’s okay.
Add the oat milk, and beat until smooth, starting on low and then increasing the speed to medium.
Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔ of the way up. Do not overfill. Overfilling can actually cause cupcakes to sink, because the cupcake doesn’t have enough of the liner to climb up. The cupcake needs to be able to grow and climb up the liner to support it.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before topping with frosting.
Make the Marshmallow Frosting
In a small pan, heat the maple syrup over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the maple syrup reaches 220-240 F. I can’t ever seem to get mine to heat up all the way to 240 F, but it works fine once it’s over 220 F.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt starting on low and increasing the speed to medium until stiff peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites.
With the stand mixer running on medium, slowly pour the hot maple syrup into the mixer. Beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. With the mixer running, add the cornstarch, and continue beating until the starch is incorporated and the frosting is smooth.
Use a piping tool or piping bag with a piping tip to put the frosting on top of each cupcake. I love using this piping tool for frosting. It’s so easy to use and clean (no bags involved!), and it’s the perfect size for my hands. It’s a great tool for kids to use, too.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
I love the flavor and texture of the Marshmallow Frosting, because it’s so light and smooth. But if I were to take these cupcakes to a party or gathering which would involve transporting them, I would probably opt for a sturdier frosting like this Sugar Free Vegan Chocolate Frosting.
More Sugar Free Gluten Free Nut Free Desserts:
Gluten Free Nut Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting - Sugar Free & Dairy Free
- ½ cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, 1 stick, softened
- 1 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 egg whites (90 g)
- 200 g Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- 125 g cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup oat milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 egg whites (60 g)
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks with the liquid stevia and maple syrup.
- Add the vanilla and egg whites. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the Gluten Free Flour, 125 g cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low.
- Add the oat milk, and mix until smooth.
- Fill the cupcake liners about ⅔ of the way up. Do not overfill.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before topping with frosting.
- Make the Marshmallow Frosting. In a small pan, heat the maple syrup over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the maple syrup reaches 220-240F.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt starting on low and increasing the speed to medium until stiff peaks form.
- Add the cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites.
- With the stand mixer running on medium, slowly pour the hot maple syrup into the mixer. Beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
- With the mixer running, add the ¼ cup cornstarch,and continue beating until the starch is incorporated and the frosting is smooth.
- Use a piping tool or piping bag with a piping tip to put the frosting on top of each cupcake. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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