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Deliciously moist and YUMMY Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes with a secret ingredient to hide the floury gluten-free taste!

I have a fair few friends that are Gluten-Free, and I have been severely struggling with what the hell are they supposed to eat when I go out for breakfast, lunch, dinner.. or even just for cake or at a coffee shop.

Some restaurants are far better than they used to be, with offering a GF menu or GF alternatives, which is great! However.. some places (our favourite local cafes for example) rarely offer something GF that they actually like. Even with large chain coffee shops – they only really offer one or two GF cakes and they’re average…

I find that there may be one, or even two things that are a GF cake option, but that is rare. And even if they do exist, it has something in it that they don’t like… or it just looks unappealing in comparison to the ‘regular’ delicious cakes! This lead me to wanting to do more GF baking at home, so I can make my friends their old favourite treats!

I recently posted my Easy Vanilla Cupcakes recipe, which is of course not GF.. so I wanted to do the same cupcakes basically, but obviously ones that I can share!

I have found that cheaper GF flours are very floury in texture once its been baked, but I find that Doves Farm flour isn’t as bad as others! However… its still not 100% the same, because of the lack of gluten.

Therefore I looked into some other recipes and they add some weird ingredients that I either haven’t heard of, or don’t regularly buy.. so I went for what I already had. Custard Powder.

I found that the Custard Powder lightened the texture of these yummy gluten free cupcakes, without making it taste like custard. I use Bird’s custard powder as it makes delicious custard, and its always in my families kitchen cupboard, but any old one will do!

Once these cupcakes are baked, and you cover it in the buttercream.. it tastes as similar to normal cupcakes as I can get, and thats good enough for me! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Deliciously moist and YUMMY Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes with a secret ingredient to hide the floury gluten-free taste!
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Category: Cupcakes
Type: Cupcakes
Keyword: Gluten Free, Vanilla
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cooling and Decorating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Jane's Patisserie



  • 150 g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs (beaten)
  • 150 g gluten free self raising flour
  • 50 g custard powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • 2 tbsp whole milk

Vanilla Frosting

  • 150 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 350 g icing sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean extract



  • Preheat your oven to 170ºC/160ºCFan and line a 12 hole muffin tray with large cupcake cases/muffin cases - leave to one side for now.
  • Cream together the unsalted butter and caster sugar with an electric beater until smooth .
  • Add in the beaten eggs, gluten free self raising flour, custard powder & vanilla bean extract and beat again for about about 20-30 seconds on a medium speed – it really doesn’t take too long, you don’t want to overheat the mixture! (Add a spoonful of whole milk if the mixture is too stiff!)
  • Spoon into your cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (I baked mine for 17 minutes) or until cooked through! 
  • Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Vanilla Frosting

  • Beat the softened unsalted butter until smooth – this can take a couple of minutes. 
  • Add in the icing sugar 1/3 at a time, making sure the it is fully incorporated until moving on! I use my KitchenAid for frostings as the machine can make it so much lighter and fluffier!
  • Once all of the icing sugar is in the frosting mix, keep on beating the frosting but add the vanilla bean extract, and then the whole milk 1tbsp at a time till you reach your desired consistency!
  •  Decorate your cupcakes how you like (I use lots and lots of sprinkles!) Enjoy!


  • As I said earlier - I use Doves Farm Gluten-Free flours for my day-to-day GF baking as its more readily available then other more expensive (and better ones). You can also buy cheaper ones, but I'd recommend this brand if you can find it, as its the best supermarket one that I have found!
  • If you are GF you will already know this - but if you are baking for anyone else who is GF, then check the ingredients on everything you use!
  • These Cupcakes will last in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months!
  • I used this Muffin Tin
  • I use these Iced Jems Sprinkles
  • I used this Medium 2D Closed Star Piping Tip
  • I used this piping bag


Find my other recipes on my Recipes Page!

You can find me on:

J x

© Jane’s Patisserie. All images & content are copyright protected. Do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words and credit me, or link back to this post for the recipe.


  1. Linda on August 2, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Hi Jane, I’m making a large GF cake and wanted to make sponge in advance. Will this recipe freeze well for a couple of days? Thanks in advance x

  2. Nic McCormick on June 18, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Hi Jane,

    I’ve loved trying out your recipes – can this recipe be substituted for any cupcake recipe changing the flour to gluten free? Is the custard powder a necessity for all gluten free bakes or just part of this recipe


  3. Megs on June 17, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    Hi does it have too be vanilla bean extract or does normal vanilla work too ?

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 21, 2021 at 9:33 am

      Hey, normal vanilla will work xx

  4. Nicola on April 15, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    Hi Jane, would these be okay to add lemon zest to for lemon cupcakes?
    Thank you!x

    • Jane's Patisserie on April 17, 2021 at 2:10 pm

      Hey! Yes of course xx

  5. Louisa Dane on March 24, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Hello if yiu didn’t want to use custard powder and use xanthlan hun would you still use 50g

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 27, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Hello! No, you would only need about 1/2tsp of Xantham Gum x

  6. Dimple Solanki on March 19, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    Hi Jane can I make this with stork butter or not??

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 22, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      The sponges yes, the buttercream no x

  7. Rebecca Oakley on March 18, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    Hi there, this sounds great! Does it have to be whole milk as we don’t use it in my house and would hate to buy a whole bottle to waste it. Thanks, love your recipes! 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 23, 2021 at 3:32 pm

      I always recommend whole milk in baking x

  8. hollie on February 9, 2021 at 7:08 am

    Hi Jane,

    how would I change the quantities here for a 3 layer Victoria sponge type cake?

    thank you xx

    • Jane's Patisserie on February 9, 2021 at 9:17 am

      I usually say that one batch of cupcakes makes a decent 8″ cake – but baking time will be about 30-35 minutes!

  9. Ailise Doyle on October 21, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Hi Jane just wondering how would I have this recipe as I don’t need a full batch of 12. Thanks in advance 💖

    • Jane's Patisserie on October 21, 2020 at 7:10 pm

      You can either make 4 or 8 easily by using 1/3 or 2/3 of the recipe, or you need to split an egg in half by whisking it, to make 6!

  10. Sindy on August 23, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Can I use cornstarch/cornflour in GF Cupcakes instead of mustard powder?

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 24, 2020 at 8:29 am

      I would actually use xantham gum instead!

  11. Danielle on August 3, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Hi Jane,

    I’m made up with how nice these taste thank you for the recipe. Just one question with my ordinary cupcakes they never come away from the cases after baking but with the GF they seem to have come away from the cases a lot, is there anything I maybe doing wrong? Thanks x

    • Jane's Patisserie on August 3, 2020 at 12:11 pm

      Usually this is because they haven’t finished baking/moisture if you are using the same cases each time x

    • Nickie on January 14, 2021 at 7:10 pm

      I also had this problem with the chocolate ones, I did it twice thinking it was over mixing. I baked for the and maximum time, and even 1 minute more and it still happened. Any more more then they would have been over baked.

  12. Liv on July 18, 2020 at 11:05 am


    I was wondering if I could do a giant cupcake using my Extra large cupcake mould ? But I was wondering how much extra ingredients I would need ?
    Thanks 😊

    • Jane's Patisserie on July 18, 2020 at 12:56 pm

      Hey – that depends on the size of the cupcake mould – they really can vary so it may be a good idea to look at the quantities of my bundt cakes for reference!

  13. Mollie on June 25, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Hello Jane! I can see this recipe is a few years old and just wondered if you are aware of the custard powder still being GF or have any of the ingredients been amended since you wrote this recipe that would make it not GF anymore? Thanks 🙂

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 25, 2020 at 9:24 pm

      As far as I am aware it is (Bird’s brand) according to google – but it’s always worth checking as brands can vary and change things! And alternate is to use xantham gum! x

  14. Julie Jankowski on June 16, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Jane would this recipe work if I added gel colours to make rainbow cupcakes?
    I’ve tried loads of your recipes all with great success.

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 16, 2020 at 9:15 pm

      Hey! Yes it would! You’ll want to use good quality colours such as progel, sugar flair or wilton!

  15. Sarah on March 14, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Jane, if I wanted to make a Victoria Sponge type cake using this recipe, would the ingredients be enough or would I have to double up on them? Thanks 😊

    • Jane's Patisserie on March 14, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      Hey! I usually say one 12 batch of cupcakes makes one 8″ layer of a cake, so double up! Baking time will be roughly 30-35 minutes!

  16. Hannah on December 2, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Jane! Is it easy to turn these into cake pops? Love your gluten free chocolate cakes, they were delicious!

  17. Helen Richards on May 21, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Could Stork be used instead of butter in this recipe?

    • Jane's Patisserie on May 21, 2019 at 7:47 pm

      For the sponges, but never for the buttercream – you must use actual butter!

  18. Charlaine on June 14, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Hi, these sound great. Does this work for a larger cake…victoria sponge sized? I need to cover one in icing and I want to make sure it’s strong enough?? X

    • Jane's Patisserie on June 15, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Yes it would work!! And yeah it would be fine to cover! Just make sure to crumb coat well and such! X

  19. […] (and I had a request from my friend) soooo hello new recipe! I sort of went along the lines of my Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes and used the tactic of Custard Powder. And it worked! […]

  20. Sandra on June 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Jane, I’ve just come across your website and will try your gluten free cupcake recipes for my daughter who is allergic to wheat and gluten. I love the idea of the custard powder in them.

  21. Jemma on January 8, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    Cant wait to try this recipe out for my Mum as she is coeliac! I have tried a GF shortbread recipe out with the dove’s plain flour apart from it collapsing on itself it tasted exactly like shortbread!

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 8, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      Yeah the problem with GF flour, no matter the brand, is that it’ll make it crumbly.. the custard powder in these cupcakes stop it from happening! (Check the custard powder you use, the one I use is GF but has corn flour in it) x

  22. Verity on January 8, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    This recipe is a life saver! A family friend is coming to stay next weekend and she has a gluten intolerance. It makes me so sad and guilty that she can’t tuck in to all the scrummy baked goods I make for everyone else, and the shop bought gluten free cake just never looks that appetising. Now I can her bake these and she won’t feel left out. I might even have to steal a few myself! Thank you Jane xx

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 8, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      Aah yes, the custard powder I use does contain maize/corn but as far as Im aware we GF people can still eat that – and it really does help with the flavouring and how crumbly the cake is, makes it normal! I ate 4/12 of these cupcakes so I genuinely can recommend them!
      I hope she loves them! xx

  23. Just Jo on January 8, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Aw I feel your pain over trying to eat out when you’re newly GF Jane. Believe me, it will get better but it takes time to adapt. the good thing is GF eating is becoming so common place it’s much easier to find things to eat which are actually good than it was even just a few years ago. And I love your secret ingredient – indeed, it’s mine too! I use it in my Perfect GF Victoria Sponge recipe and it’s such a lovely cake, I can fool non-Coeliacs with it no problem 😉

    • Jane's Patisserie on January 8, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      Literally had the worst experience I have EVER had a (prezzo’s) restaurant the other day with their GF menu – it was literally fowl. But I do agree – its getting better in general!
      And yeah, I loved the taste of it in my Custard Cream Cupcakes that I made, and when I made it with just the flour it was far too crumbly, so thought it would taste nicer! And it did!
      Made me laugh that my mum took some spare into work, and they didnt believe her that they were GF! 😛

  24. Tracy on January 8, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I love Doves but can’t get it in Sweden so have to get it shipped over!

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