National Cupcake Day is on August 15, and you can celebrate with a classic vanilla bean cupcake that’s been made gluten-free, paleo, and AIP-friendly. These cupcakes have a light and airy texture that’s made without wheat flour. They are topped with creamy, delicious vanilla bean icing. I find that it’s hard to stop after just one cupcake!

Gluten-free vanilla bean cupcake batter

The batter for these AIP vanilla cupcakes has a long list of ingredients, but they all serve their purpose to make a light, fluffy batter that has the delicious flavor of vanilla beans in every bite.

These cupcakes are made without any wheat flour, and use a combination of cassava flour, tigernut flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour instead. These are all gluten-free flour alternatives that are great for AIP baking. These flours all have health benefits such as fiber and resistant starch, which help reduce inflammation in the gut and keep our digestive systems healthy.

The cupcakes are sweetened with coconut sugar, which is a great alternative to refined sugar. Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index, which means that it does not cause a large spike in insulin like refined cane sugar does, and it does not have as much impact on your blood glucose levels. Coconut sugar also contains trace amounts of calcium, zinc, iron, and potassium, which are all necessary nutrients. The coconut sugar makes these cupcakes a little dark in color, but they still taste absolutely delicious!

The cupcakes are wonderfully moist thanks to a combination of palm shortening and apple sauce. The palm shortening adds the fats that are needed for delicious moist cupcakes, and the apple sauce adds additional moisture without making the cupcakes too greasy, as well as sweetens the cupcakes a little. Palm shortening contains no trans fats, which means it contains no cholesterol and is a great option for baking. Look for palm shortening that is sustainably sourced and doesn’t have any vegetable shortening added to it, which is typically made from soy.

The cupcakes have a nice light crumb thanks to two leaveners: cream of tartar and baking soda. The baking soda is combined with apple cider vinegar in the batter to react and form small bubbles to make light and fluffy cupcakes.

And of course, these cupcakes are made with vanilla bean powder, which adds a wonderful natural vanilla flavor throughout the batter.

How to make AIP cupcakes

Cupcakes are very easy to make! All you need is a standup mixer, but you can even do it with a hand-held mixer. All the ingredients are mixed in one bowl: the dry ingredients are mixed together first, and then the wet ingredients are added and mixed until well combined. Make sure that the palm shortening is completely mixed into the batter and not in lumps.

Transfer the batter to your cupcake molds and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, or until the cupcakes are fully baked.

You can prepare the vanilla bean icing while the cupcakes cool. Once they’re completely cooled, add the icing and they’re ready to serve!

AIP vanilla bean icing

These cupcakes are topped with a creamy dairy-free vanilla bean icing made with just a few ingredients: palm shortening, coconut oil, maple syrup, tapioca starch, and vanilla bean powder. Using vanilla bean powder instead of vanilla extract adds beautiful brown vanilla specks throughout the icing in addition to great flavor.

The icing comes together in one bowl with a mixer and is very easy to make. Make sure to store the cupcakes below 75 degrees Fahrenheit so that the coconut oil doesn’t melt and the icing doesn’t soften. This is why it’s important to wait until the cupcakes are completely cooled down before putting the icing on, so the icing doesn’t start melting on the cupcakes.

If your icing gets too soft while you’re mixing it together, just place it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so until it thickens. Then re-mix to fluff it up again before icing your cupcakes.

Storing cupcakes

These cupcakes will keep well at room temperature below 75 degrees for up to 2-3 days before serving. If you are in a warmer climate, you might need to place them in the refrigerator and take them out an hour before serving.

More AIP dessert recipes

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes



12 servings

12 servings

Prep Time

40 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes

Passive Time

1 hour

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For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/4 300 cups ml Cassava flour
  • 1/2 120 cups ml Tigernut flour
  • 1/4 60 cups ml coconut flour
  • 1/4 60 cups ml tapioca flour
  • 1 1/2 360 cups ml coconut sugar
  • 1 14.787 tbsp ml The Myers Way® Gelatin
  • 1 4.929 tsp ml baking soda
  • 1 4.929 tsp ml cream of tartar
  • 1 4.929 tsp ml vanilla bean powder
  • 1 1/2 360 cups ml organic unsweetened lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 120 cups ml unsweetened organic apple sauce
  • 1/2 120 cups ml palm shortening
  • 2 9.858 tsp ml apple cider vinegar
For the icing:
  • 1 240 cup ml palm shortening
  • 1/4 60 cups ml solid coconut oil
  • 1 14.787 tbsp ml tapioca flour
  • 2 29.574 tbsp ml maple syrup
  • 1/2 2.4645 tsp ml vanilla bean powder
  • 1/2 2.4645 tsp ml powdered stevia optional



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard 12 cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together the four flours in the bowl of a standup mixer. Add the coconut sugar, gelatin, baking soda, cream of tartar, and vanilla bean powder, and mix to combine.
  3. Add the rest of the cupcake ingredients and beat on low speed until the shortening is well combined with the rest of the batter.
  4. Divide the batter between the cupcake tin, filling each almost to the top.
  5. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.
  6. Combine all the ingredients for the icing in a clean bowl and beat over low speed until completely smooth. If the mixture becomes too soft, place the bowl in the fridge for a half hour to firm up and then re-mix to whip it up.
  7. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a piping tip at the end and decorate the cupcakes. Store cupcakes below 75 degrees Fahrenheit until ready to serve.