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Vegan Gluten-Free Cupcakes

Best Vegan + Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting

  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This is the BEST Vegan Vanilla Cupcake recipe! It produces cupcakes with a fluffy, light texture, sweet vanilla flavor, and decadent frosting to top it all off. They're my favorite for celebrating someone special or satisfying a sweet tooth...and as a bonus, they're vegan, grain-free, paleo, and refined sugar-free!



For the chocolate sweet potato frosting

  • 2, 16 ounce sweet potato* (~2 cups total)
  • 1 cup vegan dark chocolate (refined sugar-free) [use code ELAINE for 15% off], melted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegan, soy-free butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

For the vanilla cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil 
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups super fine blanched almond flour
  • 3/4 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt


For the chocolate sweet potato frosting

  1. In a blender combine the hot cooked sweet potato (skin already removed), melted chocolate, vegan butter (or coconut oil), cocoa powder, vanilla and salt.
  2. Blend on the highest speed until smooth and creamy. If the mixture has trouble blending you can add a tablespoon more of melted butter or coconut oil to get it going. You can also use a mini spatula to scrape down the sides of blender and push the frosting toward the blades.  I blend on low speed and very slowly increase to a higher speed once it gets going. 
  3. Place the frosting in your refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the frosting to harden.

For the vanilla cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 12 cup muffin tray with avocado oil and line with paper baking cups.  Grease the inside of the paper baking cups as well. Set aside. 
  2. Add maple syrup, applesauce, avocado oil, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. 
  3. To the wet ingredients, add almond flour, potato starch, arrowroot starch, maple sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk until no clumps remain.  
  4. Pour the batter into the muffin tins filling them 7/8ths of the way full.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.  
  6. Remove from oven and allow the cupcakes to sit in the muffin tin for 20 minutes.  Gently move the cupcakes over to a wire cooling rack and allow them to fully cool to room temperature before frosting.

To decorate

  1. Cut a tiny hole in the bottom corner of a plastic bag and place a piping tip through the corner. Use a mini spatula to transfer the frosting that has been chilling in the refrigerator into the plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag and squeeze gently to pipe the frosting through the piping tip onto the cupcakes. Start on the perimeter of the cupcake and circle around moving inward after each circle.
  2. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator to prevent the frosting from melting. 
  3. Decorate with dye-free sprinkles or unsweetened shredded coconut if desired. 


Instead of chocolate frosting, use my Vegan Vanilla Frosting (great for piping) or Refined Sugar-Free Vanilla Blender Cashew Icing (great for spreading overtop the cupcakes but doesn't pipe well).

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven

Keywords: vegan paleo cupcakes