These Gluten Free Maple Cupcakes are the ultimate Fall dessert! They're moist, fluffy, and topped with a luscious Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. No one would guess these cupcakes are gluten-free!
I made these maple cupcakes as a variation of my vanilla cupcake batter. Instead I've swapped the orange zest and Dried Orange Slice garnish for maple syrup, maple extract, and a Brown Butter Cream Cheese frosting.
I must say, these gluten free cupcakes are pretty dreamy! I think it's a tie between these and my Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts as this year's top Fall dessert recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- These maple cupcakes don't taste gluten-free! Just like my Gluten-Free Vanilla Orange Cupcakes, my kids couldn't tell these were gluten-free. That's the beauty of using a quality cup for cup gluten-free flour blend.
- Ready to frost in just 1 hour. The maple cupcake batter is prepped in just 15 minutes, with a 15 minute bake time. These cupcakes are a go-to for last minute desserts, hosting, and after dinner treats!
- Just 10 ingredients (including salt)! Gluten-free baking doesn't have to be complicated. These cupcakes need just 10 ingredients, many of which are likely already in your kitchen.
Tools You'll Need
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Muffin tin
- Muffin cups
- Piping bag (for frosting!)
This recipe starts by creaming sugar, unsalted butter, and maple syrup together. This whips small pockets of air into the batter and helps keep these maple cupcakes soft and fluffy.
Whole eggs are essential to moist gluten-free cupcakes. They also help provide structure, making these cupcakes bakery-worthy!
Gluten free all-purpose flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder make up the dry ingredients. Double check that your baking powder is fresh!
The final moisture and flavor in this cupcake batter comes from whole milk, maple extract, and vanilla. I highly recommend whole milk - the additional fat helps make the most tender crumb.
- Maple extract substitution - If you cannot find maple extract in your grocery store, don't worry! Simply omit it, or substitute with additional vanilla extract.
- Unsalted butter substitution - I highly recommend baking with unsalted butter, but salted butter will work in a pinch. If substituting, omit the added kosher salt.
How to Make Gluten Free Maple Cupcakes
- Cream the butter and sugar. Place the softened butter, granulated sugar, and maple syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs. One at a time, add the eggs, and mix until well combined.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the gluten free all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk together the remaining wet ingredients. In a measuring cup, mix together the milk, vanilla extract, and maple extract.
- Finish the batter. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Add ½ of the milk mixture, mixing until just combined. Repeat with another ⅓ of the flour mixture and remaining milk mixture. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture, and mix until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Fill the muffin cups. Divide the maple cupcake batter evenly among the muffin cups.
- Bake. Place the maple cupcakes in the oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the muffin springs back when gently pressed in the center or a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan, and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Top with frosting. Fill a reusable piping bag or disposable zip top bag with bottom corner snipped off and top with my Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and enjoy!
- Switch up the frosting. My family LOVES these cupcakes with my brown butter cream cheese frosting, but you can't go wrong with my Chocolate Salted Caramel Frosting or a simple Cream Cheese Frosting.
- Top with toasted pecans or candied pecans. If you've made my Dairy Free Overnight Oats with Pumpkin, you may love the flavor of toasted pecans. Or, make your own candied pecans for a final sweet crunch.
These maple cupcakes will keep best when stored covered at room temperature. I'd recommend enjoying them within 2-3 days. You can also refrigerate your maple cupcakes for longer storage, but refrigeration will make them more dense and less fluffy.
If desired, you can also freeze these cupcakes! If planning to freeze, leave them unfrosted and wrap each individual cupcake in a tight layer of plastic wrap. Place them in an airtight bag or container together, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature on the counter. Once soft again, frost as usual with my Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting!
Gluten free cupcakes can collapse for a couple of reasons, but the most common reason being the batter was mixed for too long. Once you've added the dry ingredients, the key is to mix until just combined.
For best results, fill each muffin cup about ⅔ of the way full. Filling muffin cups fuller is another common cause of cupcakes sinking in the middle. In order for the batter to rise well and create a nice domed top, it needs the sides of the muffin cup for structure. If it is too full, it won't be able to rely on that structure.
When baking with gluten-free flours, it is important to focus on incorporating enough moisture in the batter. In this maple cupcake recipe, the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and butter all add moisture and are key ingredients. Without them, the cupcakes would be very dry and crumbly. No thank you!
Tips and Tricks for Success
- Measure your flour accurately. A very common mistake home bakers make is incorrectly measuring the flour. If you have a habit of measuring your flour by digging the measuring cup into the bag, you're likely using up to 30% more flour than called for. This results in dry, crumbly baked goods. Instead, measure flour by spooning and leveling it. Master measuring flour correctly with this simple visual tutorial.
- Soften the butter ahead of time. This is essential to making soft, fluffy, moist cupcakes. Skipping this step will completely change the texture!
- Follow the recipe. Although many of my savory recipes have room for substitutions, when baking, it is always best to follow the recipe to a T. Changing even just 1 ingredient can completely change the ratios and science of the recipe.
More Recipes You'll Enjoy
Gluten Free Maple Cupcakes
- ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 3 eggs
- 2 ½ cups gluten free all-purpose flour 1:1 ratio
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 15 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
- Place the butter, granulated sugar, and maple syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the gluten free all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. In a measuring cup, mix together the milk, vanilla extract, and maple extract.
- Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add ⅓ of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined, and add ½ of the milk mixture, mixing until just combined. Repeat with another ⅓ of the flour mixture and remaining milk mixture. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture, and mix until just combined, again scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Place the cupcakes in the oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the muffin springs back when gently pressed in the center (you can also insert a toothpick in the center, and pull the cupcakes from the oven when the toothpick comes out clean). Let the muffins cool in the pan for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan, and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- If desired, top with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting, or your frosting of choice!