Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Buttercream


To kick of Food Allergy Awareness Week, I thought we would tackle a big spring and summer challenge, birthday parties and barbecue potlucks. These versatile gluten-free vanilla cupcakes are free of the top eight allergens, and yes, they are even vegan!

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Buttercream

This recipe was created by Sarah Bakes Gluten Free and shared with us by So Delicious Dairy Free for an everyone-friendly treat.

Sarah uses her own homemade gluten-free flour blend (linked in the recipe below), but you can use a store-bought gluten-free flour blend or your own favorite homemade version, as desired. Just note that Sarah does use xanthan gum in her mix, so you will want to use a mix with xanthan or guar gum already in it, or add some as a separate ingredient (about 1 teaspoon in this recipe to equate her flour blend) to get similar results. Also, I recommend picking a rice flour, brown rice flour, or sorghum flour blend with starches to yield the most dessert-like results.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Buttercream Frosting

Special Diet Notes: Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, vegetairan, and generally top food allergy-friendly.

Have tree nut allergies and concerned about coconut? See this post: Are Coconut-Based Dairy Alternatives Safe for Nut Allergies?

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These amazing gluten-free vanilla cupcakes, along with a rich and creamy vegan frosting, were created by Sarah of Sarah Bakes Gluten Free and shared with us by So Delicious Dairy Free
Serves: 14 cupcakes
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes:
  • 1-3/4 cups gluten free flour blend (see Sarah's homemade blend)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup So Delicious vanilla coconut milk beverage
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • ⅓ cup sunflower seed oil (or other neutral baking oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream:
  • ½ cup dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance), softened
  • ¼ cup organic non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons So Delicious coconut milk coffee creamer
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line 14 cupcake pans with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl, stir together the coconut milk, water and vinegar. Allow to sit for 1 minute to curdle.
  4. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Beat for 1 minute. The batter will become smooth and start to thicken.
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared cupcake pan.
  6. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Place cupcakes on cooling rack and cool completely.
Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream:
  1. To make buttercream, beat together the margarine with the shortening for 1 minute.
  2. Add the sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons coffee creamer and vanilla. Beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Add another tablespoon or 2 of the coffee creamer if needed, and beat the buttercream until light and fluffy.
  4. Place in piping bag with large star tip and frost the cooled cupcakes. Best enjoyed within 1 to 2 days.
For best results on texture and taste, be sure to make the lighter flour blend by replacing the 2 cups sweet white sorghum flour with white rice flour.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Hello,
    I’m planning on making this icing for my daughter. I’m going to put it on top of a wacky cake (because it contains no milk or milk alternatives). My daughter is also intolerant to almond milk due to the thickener they use in it. Since it was so bad when she drank the almond milk, I have yet to try any other milk alternatives (because I hate to put her through any more “testing”). It is my understanding they all use thickeners to make the texture better. Can you do this buttercream recipe without the coconut milk creamer? Thanks so much for posting!

    • Hi Jessica, you can use any liquid really. If you can, I would sub in canned coconut milk (light would work fine), which tends to have less funny business, but you can use any non-acidic liquid, just adding enough to get the consistency you want (start with just 1 tablespoon).

      • Thanks Alisa,
        I asked So Delicious (via Facebook) if they have carrageenan in their Creamers and they said they have re-formulated so that the entire line of coffee creamers are carrageenan free and titanium dioxide free! So I’m going to try using the recipe as is! Very excited to see how it turns out. Thanks for posting and replying to comments.

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  3. Hi! My daughter is egg, nut, dairy, soy AND coconut free. :-/ yipes. I want to make this icing for her first birthday cake on Saturday. Can I subsitute rice milk or some other dairy substitute for the coconut milk or would it make it taste odd? Thank you so much!

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  5. Where can I find non-hydrogenated shortening, and if I can’t find any, can I use regular shortening instead? I’m mostly looking for a dairy-free frosting.

    • Hi Julie, most shortenings are dairy-free, so you should be able to use a “regular” one too with success. A few natural ones that aren’t hydrogenated are Earth Balance, Spectrum, and Nutiva.

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  7. Hi, so I’m planning on making this recipe this weekend for my friends that have dairy and gluten allergies. When I was buying coconut milk though, I realized that I accidentally bought the regular flavor and not the vanilla one. Can I just use vanilla extract to make up for that?

    Don’t worry, the bottle that has the vanilla extract nor the extract itself hasn’t been in any contact with any allergens :)

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  9. Hi! I want to do the cupcakea. But in my country you can’t find diary free butter or margarine (the margarine we can find here is the brand mazola that is not really healthy). What else can I use so it won’t change the texture?

    • You need the leavener, yes. If omitting the soda, you would need to adjust with baking powder and omit the vinegar. Other adjustments may be needed as it hasn’t been tested that way.

  10. Hi,

    I am thinking about trying out the frosting part of your recipe for my daughters birthday party next week. My question was, if you pipe the frosting, does it stay in shape at room temperature? Thank you!

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  12. Hello there,

    I’m from singapore n am interested in trying out this recipe but there is no So delicious vanilla coconut milk beverage nor the same brand coconut milk coffee creamer. May I know what I can substitue these with?



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