Celebrating a 2 year old milestone with Gluten-free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes


I have a beautiful granddaughter named Aiobhann who just celebrated her second birthday. Aiobhann has some pretty severe allergies like eggs, dairy and gluten so finding treats for her party is not always that easy.

The good news is that we have an amazing gluten-free, vegan bakery in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood called Bunner’s Bake Shop. I have tried many of their baked treats over the past 2 years and I am so surprised at how delicious they are. They make a cinnamon bun that is the best I have tried anywhere. Imagine my delight when I was wandering around my local bookstore and found out that they had produced a cookbook filled with all of the wonderful Bunner’s treats that we love.

When it was time to choose a dessert for Aiobhann’s party I decided to be adventurous and to bake some cupcakes from the book.


I found reading the recipe a little daunting, at first. I ran around to some local health food stores to find the exact ingredients as I did not want to take any chances on having them turn out well. Fortunately, I was not the first person to ask for these ingredients and the sales people were very helpful.


The most important thing was that Aiobhann got to have some yummy treats that she could eat and share with the entire family. She is not the only one with food allergies but the cupcakes were a hit with everyone. They have a rich moist flavour and denser texture than a cake mix but I think it makes them taste better.

I made this batch with the Bunner’s Frosting recipe. If you are not concerned about them being vegan you could substitute cream cheese or traditional vanilla buttercream frosting. I do plan to try more recipes from this book and share them with my grandchildren. After all, isn’t that what Grandmothers are supposed to do?


Gluten-Free Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes


1 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill garbanzo and fava flour
¾ cup potato starch
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. arrowroot starch
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. gluten-free baking powder
1 ½ tsp. sea salt
¾ tsp. xanthum gum
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup agave nectar
¾ cup rice milk
½ cup + 1 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
½ cup canola oil
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 batch vanilla buttercream frosting (see recipe below)

(You will need 2 batches of frosting if you are piping it on in big swirls)




Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 18 muffin cup with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, both starches, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, xanthum gum, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, milk, applesauce, oil, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, thoroughly mix the batter, then let it sit for about 10 minutes to rise.

Pour the batter into each muffin liner and fill to 2/3 full. Bake for 20-24 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted to the centre comes out clean.

The cupcakes will be lightly golden on top.

Cool completely at room temperature before frosting with vanilla buttercream.

Cook’s note:

These cupcakes are best eaten the same day or the following day. If you are not concerned about the vegan icing, you can substitute for a vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting from your own recipe.

Recipe from Bunner’s Simple & Delicious Gluten-Free Vegan Treats by Ashley Wittig & Kevin Macallister


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Makes 4 cups


½ cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (I stick) at room temperature
½ cup Earth Balance Shortening Sticks (1 stick), at room temperature
3½ cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 to 5 tbsp. canned coconut milk or soy creamer


Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening until completely smooth and fluffy.

Slowly add the sugar, mixing well. Stir in the vanilla and then 3 tbsp. coconut milk, adding the milk as needed to achieve a nice, spreadable consistency.

Whip the frosting for several minutes, until fluffy. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.

If refrigerated, bring to room temperature and give it a good stir with a frosting spatula or butter knife before spreading.

Cook’s note:

The frosting is very dense and a little tricky to spread but it tastes very much like regular buttercream without butter.

Recipe from Bunner’s Simple & Delicious Gluten-Free Vegan Treats by Ashley Wittig & Kevin Macallister