Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes

Last week was my parents’ anniversary. To celebrate I got them a cheesy present and made dessert; it’s what I do. I figured a cake would be a bit much for 3 people so I went with cupcakes using a secret ingredient I picked up last month at the store.

I’ve had coconut flour before but didn’t bake much with it. It’s really high in fiber so it makes a great cake batter. In most paleo recipes I’ve seen using it, the main structure comes from coconut flour and eggs so that’s what I copied.

The texture of these was perfect—very similar to angel food cake. Surprisingly there wasn’t much coconut flavor to them at all. You could swap any extract for vanilla and have a tasty cupcake I would bet. If you wanted to make these strictly paleo, substitute a low-glycemic sweetener like palm sugar in for the cane sugar.

Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients(Makes a dozen cupcakes):

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a dozen cupcake holders.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix until it forms an even batter.
  3. Scoop equal amounts of the batter into each cupcake well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch.
  5. Remove from the oven. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.

I cut the recipe in half when I made these and got 6 cupcakes, which was perfect because we’re only 3 people. It’s a really easy recipe that anyone starting out gluten-free baking could do without problem.

If you like this recipe, you might also like paleo chocolate cupcakes.

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105 Responses to Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes
  1. elise
    January 16, 2012 | 10:10 am

    first off, happy anniversary to your parents!

    second, whats with paleo? its all over the place and i dont get it. i thought it was “the caveman diet” but obviously not since they didnt have coconut flour and coconut sugar while foraging the woods.
    [im not trying to sound snarky, i really dont understand it]

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 16, 2012 | 11:24 am

      It’s all about eating nuts and fruits and vegetables and meat–all stuff that can’t be eaten in their raw states because when we were evolving that’s likely all that our diet consisted of so the theory is that it’s what best fuels our diets. I by no means follow a paleo diet(it’d be really hard to be paleo + vegetarian) but I do like to try out a few of the baking recipes since all paleo stuff is gluten-free and dairy-free already.

      • Amber K
        January 16, 2012 | 3:02 pm

        Thanks for the explanation, I was curious too!

    • Scott
      March 4, 2012 | 10:29 pm

      Paleo is about mirroring the Paleolithic period of man. Basically, the diet is based on scientific studies that show that our brains evolved most following the evolution of fire which was then used to cook meats, the most available food source that provided the highest amount of calories, protein, and fat stores for the least amount of effort. Compared to gathering fruits and nuts, stalking a paleolithic version of a deer, provided far more resources and fuel to the body with a lot less total expenditure of calories. The Paleo diet avoids any processed foods or foods from the Agricultural period, meaning grains, bread, etc. The use of things like Coconut Flour, sugar substitutes, etc. are considered quasi-paleo and are meant to be used sparingly. Basically, it is understood that most people on Paleo have not followed the diet their entire life and still have cravings for the breads, sugars, and saltier foods of today’s modern diet. That is where the quasi foods come in. They are not strictly paleo, but are recognized as a healthier option for when you want to edge away from Paleo. The trick is to not use these on a daily basis, because, yes, they are not Paleo. If you have questions about Paleo, Mark’s Daily Apple is a great resource and Amazon has some great resources by Loren Cordain, who is widely known as the person who started Paleo.

  2. meesch
    January 16, 2012 | 10:22 am

    These look really delicious – and I love those cupcake wrappers! I can never find cute cupcake liners that don’t make my cupcakes look like kids birthday party cupcakes!

    -meesch
    http://www.aperfectkindofday.com

  3. Lee
    January 16, 2012 | 10:47 am

    I’m going to try these. I bought coconut flour a few weeks ago on a whim and have no idea what to do with it.

  4. Allie@LiveLaughEat
    January 16, 2012 | 11:01 am

    I’m gonna be on the look out for that coconut flour. I have yet to experience the magic of coconut flour + eggs. I always have to make 1/2 or 1/4 cakes in this house. Next time I’m going with cupcakes for sure.

    • Erin
      July 23, 2012 | 8:37 am

      Try making a paleo zucchini bread. The one I made uses 6 eggs and a 1/2 cup of coconut flour, along with other yummies. Its almost like eating a custard, it is so light and delicious!

      I am going to make these cupcakes for a going away party that I am throwing in a week. Yahoo!

  5. Annette
    January 16, 2012 | 11:54 am

    I have never used coconut flour before, but now I will be looking for it. It sounds great!

  6. BroccoliHut
    January 16, 2012 | 1:23 pm

    This is the second recipe I’ve seen today that uses coconut flour. Guess I’ll just need to hit up Whole Foods today to try it for myself!

  7. Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama
    January 16, 2012 | 1:59 pm

    It looks like you nailed the texture with these. They look great!

  8. Tara
    January 16, 2012 | 2:08 pm

    I love coconut flour, but really bad at making up my own recipes with it, so I gotta try these cupcakes. What did you use to frost them?

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 16, 2012 | 2:19 pm

      I didn’t really use a recipe which is why i couldn’t post one, but it was basically butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and coconut milk mixed to the right consistency and piped through a Ziploc bag.

  9. Enz
    January 16, 2012 | 2:11 pm

    These look great. Which frosting recipe did you use?

  10. Wannabe Chef
    January 16, 2012 | 2:20 pm

    I didn’t really use a recipe which is why i couldn’t post one, but it was basically a buttercream made out of butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and coconut milk mixed to the right consistency and piped through a Ziploc bag.

  11. Tara @ such.different.skies
    January 16, 2012 | 2:35 pm

    Evan this is just plain awesome! Do you think the eggs could be replaced with chia gel?
    Tara

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 16, 2012 | 2:37 pm

      With this recipe I don’t think so since the eggs are so intricate to the structure of the cakes.

  12. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    January 16, 2012 | 2:51 pm

    Interesting that you say there wasnt that much coconut flavor. That’s actually a bonus b/c lots of people don’t like it as much as the avg blogger does :)

    I have coconut flour too and rarely use it…need to try these.

    Your muffins and my cookies from yesterday were neighboring squares on FG. Congrats :)

  13. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    January 16, 2012 | 6:35 pm

    Yes! something to do with the coconut flour I bought months ago and can never figure out how to use. I can pretty much guarantee my frosting won’t look as pretty though.

  14. Steph@stephsbitebybite
    January 16, 2012 | 7:12 pm

    These sound so good! I’ve wanted to try gluten free baking but have been so worried that my treats will turn out like rocks. I think I’m going to have to try this!

  15. Russell van Kraayenburg
    January 16, 2012 | 8:22 pm

    Suddenly I want cupcakes.

    So is the paleo diet the new thing? Does this mean I’ll have friends that won’t be able to eat my food because it isn’t paleo? You’re too trendy when it comes to food. I’m just saying. It’s hard to keep up with ; )

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 16, 2012 | 8:26 pm

      I could never do paleo or any other low-carb diet unless sugar suddenly became a good source of protein.

      I must seem like the pickiest eater in the world, but I swear I will eat anything anyone makes for me so long as it’s gluten-free and vegetarian.

  16. Paige @ Running Around Normal
    January 16, 2012 | 8:59 pm

    Mmmm Evan these sound fantastic! I love using coconut flour, but I find it goes rancid really quick? Or maybe the store I buy it from just sells old crap.
    Either way, I think I might get over it to try these out:)

    • Amanda L
      October 21, 2012 | 10:35 pm

      You can actually keep the coconut flour from going bad by keeping it in the freezer.

      This recipe looks awesome! I’m excited to try it. Our family is paleo but it’s hard to find nut-free baked goods recipes for things like birthday parties, etc.

  17. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca)
    January 16, 2012 | 11:48 pm

    I have been wanting to use Coconut Flour for something ever since I saw it at Bulk Barn. I will have to pick some up and give these a try! They look really good, and I love the look of the frosting. What kind of tip did you use?

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 16, 2012 | 11:49 pm

      I used a Ziploc bag with a corner cut out :-)

      • Erin @ Big Girl Feats
        January 17, 2012 | 2:39 pm

        I try to do that when frosting cupcakes and end up with frosting ALL over the bag (and my hands). I need to learn your technique!

  18. Best Cupcakes In NY
    January 17, 2012 | 12:15 am

    Lots of good information in your posting, I would like to tweet your blog post so I can visit again in the near future.

  19. C&C Cakery
    January 17, 2012 | 12:20 am

    I have a friend who’s totally paleo – he’s a little Thai man who could bench press you and your entire family. Frightening, I know. I’m totally making these for a celebration after his Cross Fit competition. I would love to see more paleo recipes if you have any!

  20. Kathy
    January 17, 2012 | 1:49 am

    I’ve actually read somewhere that because coconut flour adsorbs so much liquid, only so much is needed to make a whole cake or batch of cupcakes! I need to stalk my grocery store aisles to look for some coconut flour…

    http://daily-iphoneography.posterous.com

  21. sophia
    January 17, 2012 | 2:59 am

    Aiyah, Evan! I wish I had this recipe before I kind of force-used up all my coconut flour on random, not-so-delightful recipes.

    Well, at least my friend would love this recipe! She has a sweet tooth but she’s into Paleo these adays. I’ll send her this recipe and she can bake these for me out of gratitude. Haha, problem solved. :-]

  22. Hannah
    January 17, 2012 | 4:47 am

    Oooh! Ooooh oooh! I ate my entire bag of coconut flour just as coconut “cream” mixed with soy milk and sweetener, and never quite got around to baking with it. Back to the store for me! :D

  23. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit
    January 17, 2012 | 8:46 am

    I’m a huge fan of coconut flour cupcakes. Huge! I love everything about them. These look so great, I bet your parents were super stoked to enjoy them :)

  24. Sarah@The Flying ONION
    January 17, 2012 | 10:16 am

    This is the second blog that I’ve seen use coconut flour this week. I’m taking it as a sign and adding coconut flour to my grocery list for next week. ;)

    DELICIOUS looking cupcakes! :D

  25. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers
    January 17, 2012 | 11:05 am

    Yum!! What did you uise for frosting? I want to give these a try, I love angel foodcake and if there anything like that, these will go on my treat rotation!

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 17, 2012 | 11:12 am

      I used a mix of room temperature butter, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and a little coconut milk

      • Lauren
        December 7, 2012 | 9:14 pm

        Could you post the recipe? These look delicious!

        Thanks
        Lauren

  26. Julia
    January 17, 2012 | 2:47 pm

    How many can I eat before these are considered bad for me? I’d double the batch, not halve it. And then I’d probably consume all of them in a couple days. They look REAL good!

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 17, 2012 | 2:58 pm

      I wouldn’t be surprised if these were better than most protein bars out there.

  27. Ela
    January 17, 2012 | 3:11 pm

    It’s amazing how little coconut flour you need for a recipe, isn’t it!

    I haven’t yet figured out a great way to make things without eggs, but I haven’t yet experimented much either.

  28. Sarah
    January 17, 2012 | 3:39 pm

    Yum! I KNEW I should have picked up coconut flour the last time I saw it but didn’t know what to do with it. Now I do:-).

  29. Amy
    January 17, 2012 | 10:23 pm

    These sound awesome! I am going to have to try coconut flour soon, as I have a bag and haven’t opened it yet! Your cupcakes are lovely :)!

  30. Jen
    January 18, 2012 | 11:40 pm

    This looks great! And no oil? I assume the coconut milk makes up for that. Could I sub in honey and stevia maybe for the sugar though?

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 18, 2012 | 11:47 pm

      Yes I would just make sure to use less to adjust the sweetness

    • Julie
      May 13, 2014 | 8:01 pm

      Jen any advice for using honey?

  31. Stephanie Wilson
    February 10, 2012 | 4:44 pm

    These are baking as we speak (er, type!)…I will let you know how they turn out in a few minutes! ;) So far the smell is euphoric!!

  32. […] worthy recipe for both girls to share with their friends. It wasn’t long before I found a Paleo appropriate cupcake. I tested the recipe in a half portion, which also worked very well. The only change I made to it […]

  33. […] sure to look up ways to keep it as Paleo as possible. First things first, I took this recipe from The Wannabe Chef as I was looking for a way to make some goodies for my little one. She LOVES cookies and I realize […]

  34. Jessica
    March 29, 2012 | 4:06 pm

    I’ve seen coconut milk used a lot in Paleo recipes. My (stupid) question is, are you using the stuff in the can? Or the coconut milk in the refrigerator section – like Silk brand?

    • Wannabe Chef
      March 29, 2012 | 5:42 pm

      Not a stupid question these days. I’m using the kind from a can, and I would bet most paleo recipes unless they say otherwise do, too, since the carton kind tends to have added ingredients that aren’t technically paleo.

  35. Rebecca Jeanne
    May 24, 2012 | 12:37 pm

    These look great! I want to make a cake for my husband’s graduation party in a couple of weeks, but we went Paleo this year. If I were baking in a 10×15 pan, do you think doubling the recipe would be sufficient?

    • Wannabe Chef
      May 24, 2012 | 1:24 pm

      I would triple the recipe just to be safe. I think doubling would make a rather thin cake.

      • Rebecca Jeanne
        May 24, 2012 | 1:28 pm

        Thank you so much! I will test it out this weekend. :)

  36. Amanda
    June 6, 2012 | 5:58 pm

    Don’t mean to be a downer – and certainly not hating…but I’m a follower of the Paleo diet and these aren’t paleo. Cane Sugar is not allowed. I use Date molasses as a sugar substitute and it is quite good! I’ll be trying this recipe using Date Molasses!

    • Amanda
      June 6, 2012 | 5:59 pm

      Sorry! Just read your note on that :)

    • Christen Suratt
      July 15, 2012 | 7:43 am

      Coconut sugar works great in baking…just saying :)

  37. Kaenat
    July 1, 2012 | 1:20 pm

    I made these yesterday and they were a big hit!

    I used a chocolate frosting made of cocoa powder, honey, vanilla extract and coconut oil…YUMMY!!

    Thanks so much for the recipe.

  38. […] the vanilla cupcakes were all gone, I was feeling empty inside. Well, not totally empty—just a little snackish. You […]

  39. Chanelle
    July 19, 2012 | 5:51 pm

    Do you think i can replace the cane sugar for honey or maple syrup?? These are things i have in my paleo pantries already!

    Thanks

    • Wannabe Chef
      July 19, 2012 | 7:16 pm

      Yes, just cut back on the coconut milk by about a tablespoon or two.

  40. Lilli
    July 23, 2012 | 2:34 pm

    Hi – these look delicious and I’m going to make them since it’s my daughters birthday – and her wish was a rainbow cookie cake! Since my husband and I are paleo – these look like a perfect option for us… My only question is – how did you make the frosting? I’m searching your blog, but I can’t find the recipe…

    Thank you!

    • Wannabe Chef
      July 23, 2012 | 2:56 pm

      The frosting was not paleo; just a standard buttercream made with butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little coconut milk.

  41. Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes | Cupcake Recipes
    September 22, 2012 | 1:09 pm

    […] Wannabe Chef Pin ItShare Posted by admin in All Vanilla Cupcake Recipes and tagged with Baking Soda, […]

  42. […] by this recipe by The Wannabe Chef, these cupcakes were super moist and had the most subtle […]

  43. Nicole
    December 15, 2012 | 10:55 am

    Can you pretty please let me know what recipe you used for the vanilla icing? Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing are my favorite–and even better if they have colorful sprinkles on top :)

  44. shandra
    December 17, 2012 | 5:41 pm

    I loved this recipe soo much! These were the second coconut flour vanilla cupcakes I tried, and there turned out beautifully! I made them for my high school Foods course, they were part of my English Tea Menu. :)

  45. 12 Months Of Recipes | The Wannabe Chef
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  46. kristin @ paleo plus one
    January 2, 2013 | 12:32 am

    this was very good! i doubled the recipe and used maple sugar instead of cane sugar to make a cake. it was plenty of batter for a single layer cake. i topped it with whipped ganache and my guests loved it. they aren’t even paleo. thanks for this! i was nervous making it because it took a whole dozen of our expensive free range eggs, but it was definitely worth it!

  47. Kevin
    January 7, 2013 | 1:17 am

    Is the batter supposed to be really thick, like cookie dough? I thought it looked too thick so I added more coconut milk until it looked like cake batter. They turned out pretty good but didn’t rise very much. Maybe I should have not added the extra liquid?

    • Wannabe Chef
      January 7, 2013 | 12:22 pm

      The batter is typically a little thicker than regular cupcakes but shouldn’t be as thick as cookie dough. I would add water next time to thin the batter out a little and keep them light enough to rise. Gluten-free desserts typically don’t rise as much as wheat desserts do though.

  48. Lacey
    January 13, 2013 | 8:46 pm

    Well, these are in the oven and smell delicious. My batter did turn out very thick – not quite like cookie dough but easier to roll into balls than pour! I am doing a small test batch like that and then may add more coconut milk for the rest of the batter. My newly diagnosed celiac daughter is looking forward to some treats after a rough month.

    Thanks for the recipes and the site!

  49. Therese
    January 25, 2013 | 4:33 pm

    These just came out of my oven and all I have to say is OMG – these taste unhealthy! Couldn’t be any better. I love them! :) Finally a good recipe with coconut flour!

  50. Tiffany
    January 28, 2013 | 12:00 am

    Would you have the nutritional info for these, minus the frosting?

  51. Jenn
    March 6, 2013 | 4:20 pm

    I just made these and they were driving me nuts because they were a crumbly dough…..I came to ask if that was normal.

    After reviewing the ingredients I noticed I doubled everything BUT the eggs lol!!!!

    SMH.

  52. NOVAmom
    March 9, 2013 | 8:14 pm

    Something went horribly wrong for me. I just tried my first one – very excitedly, as they LOOK great! – and I would say the flavor and texture both lie somewhere in the vicinity of a wet sponge. I’m a type 2 diabetic, so I didn’t want to use sugar and instead used a mix of liquid stevia and unsweetened applesauce, which may have been my downfall. I also used unsweetened almond milk instead of coconut milk. They are very pretty, but I couldn’t even choke down one cupcake, and my husband had the same reaction :/ If I try these again, I might just go for the 1/2 cup of sugar, although m not sure that was the culprit in ruining the texture.

  53. Hannah
    March 22, 2013 | 11:10 pm

    Just finished the batch and threw them away. Tasted liked sweet eggs. Very gross.

  54. Cheri
    March 28, 2013 | 9:26 pm

    Hi! I was so excited to try these for Easter and made ahead of time. Followed everything EXACTLY and the cupcakes won’t come out the liners…. Wen I finally separate, half the cupcake says with liner, while the remainder feels uncooked. The top was dark and almost overdone,… I let them sit a bit longer and when checked again, it looks like they’re leaking. There is a pool in the cupcake pan, then liners are “greased” through. Waaahhhh!! What the heck?

    • Wannabe Chef
      March 28, 2013 | 9:31 pm

      Hmmm I can’t say I’ve had the problem of them sticking to liners or being unevenly cooked before. I would make sure if possible that your oven has an even and accurate temperature in the center. The oil separation is a natural process that happens when the cupcakes sit out too long so the best way to prevent that is to keep them refrigerated until ready to serve fresh.

      • cheri
        March 30, 2013 | 3:22 pm

        Thanks. Don’t know why either. Very weird, lol. Oven less than 6 months old & already tested out the baking over Christmas with 20+ dozen cookies so really lost. Been in fridge but still can’t get out of the liners! BUT the bite that was left was really yummy! So will keep trying & see what happened. thanks!!! Happy Easter/Passover!

  55. Erica
    April 21, 2013 | 11:10 am

    could I do it with just egg whites?

    • Wannabe Chef
      April 21, 2013 | 11:42 am

      I haven’t tried it but I don’t think the texture would work without the yolks.

  56. […] Recipe courtesy of The Wannabe Chef. […]

  57. Brittany
    June 7, 2013 | 11:25 am

    Do you use canned or carton coconut milk?

  58. […] recipe, as that would have the liquid proportions already determined for me.  I found a decent one here, and used it as a […]

  59. Bradley
    July 11, 2013 | 12:00 am

    The recipe is no longer a paleo recipe when u use sugar because it is processed

    • IraBraceloff
      July 18, 2013 | 4:57 am

      The recipe looks great also it would taste good. I also have the same doubt as Bradley whether this comes under paleo as processed sugar is used.

  60. Christine - The Grain Free Kitchen
    August 28, 2013 | 11:27 am

    This is a fabulous recipe. I add organic blueberries and use it for blueberry muffins, add soy/wheat free chocolate chips and orange zest and make orange chocolate chip muffins etc. It is my most repinned pin on pinterest! Tried & true and my kids go bananas for anything I create from this recipe. I have successfully used local raw honey and organic coconut sugar to sweeten instead of the cane sugar. Great recipe!

  61. Kristen
    September 1, 2013 | 5:27 pm

    I just made these and I am waiting for them to cool. Like others that have made this said the batter came out thicker than expected. Mine look no where as cute as yours and I need to wait for them to cool to really determine but I took a small bite and not that bad. Gotta say nothing beats the old fashioned fattening cupcake but these tasted pretty good and I am skeptic on paleo desserts. Thanks!

  62. Kristen
    September 1, 2013 | 5:54 pm

    Ok I see why they became thick…I halved the recipe but still used the same amount of flour for the 12 cupcakes lol. The second batch turned out better. The others ones did not taste too bad but these I am sure will be better. Just started a paleo challenge through my crossfit box and this recipe helps and unless most recipes not a lot of expensive ingredients.

  63. Leah
    October 26, 2013 | 2:34 pm

    Do you think I could sub regular milk for the coconut milk? I need to double the recipe and only have one can! Thanks!

    • Wannabe Chef
      October 26, 2013 | 3:21 pm

      You definitely can, they’ll just be a lot less rich if it’s 2% or skim milk.

  64. Charlee
    November 15, 2013 | 10:14 pm

    I just made these and they caved in. Not sure what happened. The flavor was good, but it had an eggy finish and the texture was a bit more sponge-like. I followed the recipe as written but can’t figure out what went wrong. Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

    • Wannabe Chef
      November 16, 2013 | 4:27 pm

      Hey, Charlee! Sorry to hear that. Only thing I can think of is that coconut flour is very finnicky so if the proportions are off even slightly it can change the taste/texture. Sounds like it might have needed a Tablespoon more coconut flour. Or if the eggs were extra large you might only need 3 instead of 4.

  65. […] Recipe at thewannabechef.net […]

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  67. Mary
    March 25, 2014 | 1:10 pm

    Thanks for this recipe! I can’t wait to try! I am partly-paleo (85%) and it’s great :)

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  69. melodee
    April 10, 2014 | 7:08 pm

    How do you make the frosting? I am going to make these this weekend well the chocolate ones

  70. Haile
    September 20, 2014 | 12:34 pm

    Do you think I could use coconut sugar?

    • Wannabe Chef
      October 1, 2014 | 4:11 pm

      Hey Haile! I can’t say I have experience with coconut sugar. From what I know, it won’t be as sweet but it should still work in the recipe. If the grains are really coarse, you might want to pulse them in a food processor to help it dissolve in the baking process.

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