Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Aug 21 2012 by
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The last 3 weeks have been a haze of cupcakes – all of which were major fails!  I had cupcakes that if thrown could be a lethal weapon.  I had cupcakes that fell apart into a crumbly mess if you even looked at them.  Then of course there were the ones that tasted like dirt.  Yes, dirt.  Not even good dirt.  They all sucked and I gave up on my cupcake quest.  Then I managed to make the perfect Creamy Vanilla Frosting.  How ironic that I had the perfect frosting and no cupcake to go with it.  The fates were laughing at me!  I decided to give it one more try and low and behold – the perfect cupcake to go with my perfect frosting was born!  And it is a perfect cupcake.  It’s moist, airy, delicious and was so easy to make.  I love a happy tasty ending!



  • 1 cup garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tbsp plus 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut nectar or brown rice syrup
  • 5 tbsp Naked Apple Butter or applesauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch and salt.
  4. In a small bowl add the oil, coconut nectar, apple butter and vanilla.  Mix well.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine.  Now add in the hot water and continuing mixing until the batter is smooth.
  6. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into each prepared muffin cup.
  7. Place the cupcakes in the oven on the center rack and bake for 15 minutes, rotate the muffin tin and bake for another 8 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let the cupcakes sit, in the muffin tin, for 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Nutritional Info:

Makes approximately 12-14 cupcakes.

Serving size 1 cupcake.

Nutrients per serving:  Calories: 155, Cal. from Fat: 49, Total Fat: 5.5g, Sat. Fat: 4.5g, Carbs: 24g, Fiber: 1.5g, Sugars: 12.5g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 18.5mg, Chol: 0mg


While these cupcakes are best when eaten fresh, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

A quick note about substitutions – try at your own risk.  It took me 3 weeks to perfect this recipe and I tried all sorts of flours and combinations.  If you substitute any ingredient please be aware that you might not have the same results as the original recipe produces.

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  1. Chickpea flour, interesting! These look awesome and I bet they taste delicious. Too bad I have none of this flour :(

    • Sarah says:


      You can probably pick up chickpea flour at your local grocery store. It’s become VERY popular. It’s really good in gluten free baking and I love using it in our eggless omelet – so yummy! Hope you enjoy the cupcakes.


  2. Rose says:

    Nice work on the cupcakes! 3 weeks is a long time to perfect these cakes that’s why I would follow your recipe to the letter. I hope I make them perfectly!

  3. Nicky says:

    Hi. These look lovely. Always looking for healthy recipes for the school tuckshop I run. I’ve never seen brown rice syrup or coconut nectar in south africa. Can I use honey or stevia or xylitol? How would I substitute these? Is it ok to use homemade applesauce. I have just cooked and blended apples before or used pureed tinned apples. I find they make the cupcakes a bit wet.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Nicky,

      Honey would be the best substitute when our recipes call for brown rice syrup or coconut nectar. Stevia and xylitol have completely different properties to liquid sweeteners and probably won’t work well in the recipes. In some cases homemade applesauce would work just fine but it would very much depend on the specific recipe and for this recipe it would not work out well. As long as you are not specifically making a ‘vegan’ recipe then I would just stick with honey.


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