HEALTHY LITTLE VITTLES is a food blog created by certified health coach and published author, Gina Fontana, that focuses on gluten-free + vegan + plant-based recipes. Here you'll find simple, flavorful meals, many made in 30 minutes or less! All eaters are welcome, there is a little something here for everyone!
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These light and fluffy Grain-Free Lemon Cupcakes make the perfect gluten-free, vegan springtime dessert! Grain-free vanilla cupcakes infused with lemon extract and lemon peel and topped with a vegan vanilla frosting. Add a batch of my refined sugar-free Easy Vegan Lemon Curd to the center of the cupcakes for an extra lemon-y surprise!
It all started after I was looking for a way to use the Easy Vegan Lemon Curd I made the other day. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am all about eating it by the spoonful, but then I got the idea to use it as a fun surprise filling in these Grain-Free Lemon Cupcakes! If you’re a lemon dessert lover, these lemon cupcakes will 100% be your main squeeze this spring 😉
When I was developing recipes for my dessert cookbook, The Beginner’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Baking, I figured out the BEST grain-free flour combination. A mixture of cassava flour, coconut flour, and almond flour. The cupcakes bake so light, fluffy, and dare I say… moist- perhaps something that is sometimes hard to attain if baking gluten-free, grain-free, AND vegan. But not these cuties. They are cupcake perfection I think everyone will enjoy!
To make these Grain-Free Lemon Cupcakes also nut-free, I swapped out the almond flour for quinoa flour! If you can’t find quinoa flour in your local grocery store or on Amazon, you can certainly use the exact same amount of almond flour. Aside from the perfect grain-free, gluten-free, plant-based flour mixture, it’s important that we have the right wet ingredients to achieve the perfect cupcake batter. My go-to for gluten-free, vegan baking is almost always vegan buttermilk (flax milk + apple cider vinegar) and either avocado or grapeseed oil. And I always keep the cupcake batter naturally sweetened with maple syrup to cut back on the refined sugars, since I do use organic powdered sugar in the frosting.
You simply create your vegan buttermilk mixture by adding 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to the flax milk, or whatever plant milk you prefer. I find that flax and oat milk “curdle” the best, and letting it sit for about 10 minutes to “curdle”. Watch this quick video making vegan buttermilk on Instagram!
Then whisk together the dry ingredients: cassava flour, coconut flour, quinoa (or almond) flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and add pure lemon extract, pure vanilla extract, maple syrup, avocado/grapeseed oil, and finally the vegan buttermilk and gently fold until all of the dry is mixed into the wet, being careful not to over mix. Overtaxing the batter will create a dense batter and the cupcakes might not turn out as light and fluffy.
Spoon or pipe the batter into a lined cupcake pan almost to the top, but not quite and bake for 15-17 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely before frosting. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! 🙂
These cupcakes actually taste better the next day once they’ve completely set up, so if you’d like to bake them the day before serving go right ahead! I would frost the day of, though. These Grain-Free Lemon Cupcakes are fantastic without the lemon curd filling, my hubby actually prefers them this way, however, I liked them with the lemon curd as well. To add the lemon curd to the cupcakes, wait until they are fully cool, remove the centers of each cupcake about 1/2-3/4 of the way down with a small round cookie cutter (or knife if you don’t have one) and then pipe or spoon lemon curd into the centers. Place the cutout cupcake round back on top if desired and frost as usual!
Let me know if you like these cupcakes better with or without the lemon curd down below in the comments section, I would love to hear your thoughts! I think they are delicious with or without it 🙂 Please also giving these cupcakes a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating so that others can discover this allergy-friendly cupcake alternative! Tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest!
*You may bake the cupcakes a day ahead of time and frost the day of serving if desired! I actually liked them better the second day! 🙂