White Wedding Cupcakes, Gluten Free


I was thinking about making a fancy gluten-free wedding cake but I feared the graduated layers might look more like a leaning tower of buttercream. 

I’m a little bit scared of heights and tall cakes with tiers make me a little uneasy. I prefer my cakes to be at fork eye level.

Wedding cupcakes are a great alternative. They’re small. They travel well. And  generally they don’t lean. I worry about carrying the cakes I make from the kitchen to the photography table – I cannot even imagine transporting a tiered cake in a car. But cupcakes? That I can handle.

Pretty little dressy white cupcakes can be yours in a flash. You can whip up the cupcake batter and bake them one day and add the buttercream frosting the next. The flavors in the cake only get better with a day of rest.

I’d suggest making multiple batches if you need a bunch (more than 18). Doubling up a recipe involves changes to ratios and that is always tricky. And unless you have a huge oven or a zillion muffin tins, it’ll be easier to make one batch at a time.

This is how I do it.  Mix up a batch. Bake. Eat one because you can’t wait. Rest. Make another batch. Eat one. Rest. Repeat. You get the idea.

These cupcakes, while perfect for a wedding would also be great for any special occasion or just because you like white cupcakes. Some of you have been asking questions about cake baking and particularly about Swiss meringue buttercream. These tips might help.

  • For a flatter top cupcake, fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 full. These particular cupcakes need to have flat tops so the buttercream can be applied all the way to the edges inside the liner. Usually I suggest 2/3 full which gets you a nice dome, but not for this recipe.
  • Make sure you separate the eggs while they are cold – you’ll be less likely to get any yolk in the whites. Since you are heating the whites for the buttercream, you can start with eggs from the refrigerator. No need for them to be at room temperature like they ought to be for the cake batter. Be sure there is not a speck of yolk in those whites or it won’t whip.
  • Whip until there are huge giant glossy mountain peaks and the bottom of the bowl is cool enough to leave your hand on it. Apply some ice cubes to the outside of the bottom of the bowl to cool it off if need be. If your whites are perfect and the bowl is still hot or very warm, and you add the butter right away, the resulting buttercream will be all melty. Barely warm to the touch is what you want the bottom of the bowl to feel like before throwing in the soft butter.
  • Don’t forget to change to the paddle attachment after the whites are whipped and before adding the very soft butter chunks to the whipped whites. It will indeed kill those lofty whites almost immediately, but don’t fret. It’ll be icing in no time. While the mixer is running, add the butter in pieces and let the mixer keep beating it on almost the highest setting and don’t look. Really. Don’t.
  • It’s darkest before the dawn. Or some such idiotic thing like that. As soon as you add the butter and are using the paddle, the buttercream will look like a science project gone awry. But patience my baking grasshoppers. Patience. Just let that mixer rip. And look away. The next sound you hear will be buttercream.
  • The mixer noise changes when buttercream shows up. It goes from a slush slush slush ick to thud thud thud slap. That’s the buttercream. Now add in flavor .
  • Crank the air conditioner down to sub-zero.  Make sure your kitchen is not 100 degrees when making the Swiss Buttercream. The icing will quickly become a liquid puddle. If you have to – mix it up and quickly set it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. After piping, refrigerate the cupcakes until about 30 minutes before serving them if it is very warm outside (or inside).
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White Wedding Cupcakes, Gluten Free
White cupcakes are great for special events or parties. Be sure to find a grease-proof white-ish liner to complete the look. When I serve these we always feel like we should get dressed up and use some fancy dishes. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we don't. Sometimes we eat leftovers for breakfast. What? You never ate a fancy cupcake for breakfast?
  • 145 grams unsalted butter, soft room temperature (10 tablespoons)
  • 175 grams superfine granulated (baker's) sugar (7/8 of a cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 whole extra-large egg plus 2 extra-large egg whites
  • 200 grams AP GF flour (100 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 50 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (1½ cups)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 145 grams whole fat or low fat (not nonfat) milk (3/4 cup)
White Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 4 extra-large egg whites (separate while cold)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 200 grams granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 287 grams unsalted butter, very soft room temperature (almost 2.5 sticks)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure orange extract (it looks clear)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • something shiny and white
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Place fancy schmancy white liners in muffin tins (16-18 cupcakes). Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) fluff up the butter with the sugar until it looks light and fluffy - almost like frosting. Add the vanilla, almond and orange extracts and mix. Add the egg and whites mixing until fully incorporated. You may have to scrape down the sides, but make sure the egg is mixed in thoroughly. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add to the butter/egg mixture on low until just mixed in. Add in the milk and mix just until incorporated. Remove from stand and using a silicone spatula, fold the batter to make sure all the dry stuff is mixed in. Fill liners about ½ full. Bake about 16-18 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out without crumbs. Don't let it get brown or golden because you want a white cupcake. Cool for a minute and remove cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. In a stand mixer bowl place 4 extra-large egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Make sure those egg whites don't have a speck of yolk in them or they will not whip. Place bowl over a pan with simmering water and stir until temperature reads 160 degrees. Keep the heat on medium to medium low. It should take just a few minutes. Once the mixture is 160 degrees, place the bowl on the stand mixer and with whip attachment beat until whites attain really high glossy peaks and bottom of bowl can be touched by your hand and it isn’t hot (see tips in post). Switch to paddle attachment and while on medium speed add pieces of butter until all of it is incorporated. Turn to high and mix until buttercream comes together. It will go through a stage where it appears curdled and looks like a wreck. Just keep going. You will hear it thump before you notice that it has changed to a decent looking buttercream. Add the almond, orange and vanilla extracts. If the buttercream is melty, refrigerate for about 10 minutes. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator but serve at room temperature for best flavor.
  1. Right after piping (if you wait the decorations might not adhere) sprinkle with shiny sugar or pearls of your choice.


  1. My boyfriend’s sister is getting married next week and this would be the perfect recipe to share with all the relatives for pre-wedding festivities and dinners because most of his family eats gluten-free. Love how pretty it is!

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Julia – congratulations to the boyfriend’s family and to you! Hope everyone has a wonderful time and if you make the cupcakes, enjoy!

  2. hi, these are lovely! quick question… which piping tip did you use?

  3. They look delicious!:)

  4. foxinthekitchen says:

    Those are some of the prettiest cupcakes I’ve ever seen! Thanks for sharing your expert baking tips. I plan to put them to good use.
    Shared on my Facebook page 🙂

  5. I just made these. We cut the recipe in half and it worked out wonderfully. The buttercream was delicious! I really appreciate the recipe, but more so, I appreciate how well you walked me through it. Yes, I may have cried if I had not read carefully and understood that the buttercream would go through stages while it was being whipped and beat into shape. The end result was marvelous! Thanks again!

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Claire – that’s wonderful to hear. And so glad you knew the buttercream would turn around. I’t pretty pathetic when it gets to that stage, isn’t it? It looks like a terrible wreck. And then, like magic, it gets all fluffy and pretty. Enjoy the cupcakes, and again, thanks for letting me know.

  6. I actually had trouble with the cupcake recipe 🙁 I followed your directions beginning with fluffing the butter and sugar which it didn’t really fluff any. Then I added the extracts next the eggs and at this point the batter was looking separated or curdled? Anyways, I finished out with the rest of the ingredients filled cupcake liners half full.. Baked till they came out clean, cupcakes fell in the middle and had awful texture.. Good flavor tho..my daughter said they had the texture of moist cornbread. Any ideas on what went wrong?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Emily – sorry the recipe didn’t work for you, that must have been frustrating. To trouble shoot a recipe I recommend reviewing the list of ingredients you used to make sure they match the recipe exactly and then re-reading the instructions. Softened butter, for example should not be melty and will still be a little chilly, but you can indent it with a finger easily. Baker’s superfine sugar is different from regular granulated sugar. When you beat those two together with a mixer the result will look like frosting with it increasing in volume and looking quite fluffy. Curdled sounds like the butter was very warm and the eggs cold? Sounds like the butter separated. It is good to separate the eggs when cold, but all the ingredients should be room temperature (room temp for baking means everything is about the same temp and a bit chilly – like a room that is about 65 degrees). Butter that is very warm will separate and will not mix in well with anything. I’m guessing the texture problem was a result of the butter not incorporating. If you’ve ever made homemade frosting with butter and powdered sugar – the initial butter/sugar mixture will look like that. Hope that helps.

  7. Love the cupcake liner,where can I buy those?

  8. the flour can i use gluten free all purpose only?


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