Vanilla Bean Quinoa Flour Cupcakes with Maple Coconut Frosting

Baron had his 40-something-ish birthday last week.

As usual, I promised to bake him cupcakes.

Peña colada cupcakes.

Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong.

Things turned a little too…er…experimental.

The first attempt was with fermented chickpea dough.

Looking like normal cupcakes on the outside, the middle evaporates leaving only a mucousy piece of pineapple.

Then there was a mix of coconut and almond flour that ended up going into a loaf pan in an attempt to prevent waste.  Inedible.

Getting back to basics was crucial in order to save Baron’s cupcake dreams.

cupcake 4

Settling on a basic vanilla bean cake with maple syrup frosting (his favorite), I got back to work.

Using my quinoa flour chocolate cupcake recipe as a guide, I finally got good results.

vb cake inside

It’s sweet and moist.  With only a slight hint of quinoa since discovering a new technique to remove the saponins.

vb cupcake3

The frosting’s nut-like undertones remind me a bit of coffee when combined with maple syrup.  It’s a fabulous basic frosting.

Right in the knick of time.

I’m always convinced I’ll stumble upon genius when I’m experimenting.  But, really… fermented chickpea dough cupcakes?

What was I thinking?!

Note: This recipe was shared with the following blog communities: Make Your Own Mondays,  My Meatless Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Allergy Free WednesdayWellness WeekendGluten Free FridaysHealthy Vegan Fridays, and Thank Goodness It’s Quinoa (TGIQ).

Vanilla Bean Quinoa Flour Cupcake with Maple Coconut Frosting

Makes: 12 cupcakes,  Cook time: 30 minutes (clean toothpick), Prep time: about 15 mins, Oven Temp: 325 degrees F


  • 1 and ½ cup quinoa flour (grind your own in a coffee grinder on a “fine” setting)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • ¾ tsp. xanthan gum
  • 6 pitted medjool dates, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 3 TBSP maple syrup (vegan and gluten-free)
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 Degrees F. Fill a large muffin pan with 12 paper cupcake liners (they hold moisture better than foil or silicon).  Lightly oil liners.
  2. Soak medjool dates in 1/2 cup hot water for about ten minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine quinoa flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In medium bowl, mix together applesauce, non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.  Split open the vanilla bean with a knife and scrape the seeds out of the inside.  Add to the liquid ingredients.
  5. To create a syrup, blend the medjool dates and their soaking water.  I used my immersion hand blender.  Add the semi-firm coconut oil and blend until it’s completely combined.  Add oil-date mixture to the wet ingredients and stir well.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well.  Batter consistency is important.  You want it to be pourable and fairly wet.
  7. Drop by 1/3 cup into cupcake liners.
  8. Cook for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Nutrition information: Serving Size: 1 cupcake. Calories: 250,Carbohydrates: 26.8g, Fiber: 2.8g, Protein: 3.6 g, Fat:15.1 g

Maple Coconut Frosting

Frosts: About 22 cupcakes


  • Two 15 ounce cans of Extra Thick Coconut Milk (I use Trader Joe’s with xanthan gum and no sweetener added)
  • 5 TBSPs plus 1 tsp. Grade B, 100% pure organic maple syrup (vegan and gluten-free)


  1. Refrigerate coconut milk for 24 hours.  Open the bottom of the can with a can opener and pour out the coconut water and save for smoothies.  Scoop out the remaining cream.  It should be about a cup of very thick white cream.  Place it in a glass bowl.
  2. Lightly whip with a hand blender on low or medium low setting.  Add maple syrup and whip just to blend.
  3. If your cream begins to get choppy rather than creamy, it is too warm.  Stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes, and re-whip.
  4. Frost cupcakes with a piping bag or knife.  You’ll have some frosting leftover.  Freeze any leftovers and re-whip when ready to use.
  5. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator.  Best served at room temperature.

Nutrition information: Serving Size: 1.5 tablespoons, Calories: 25.8,Carbohydrates: 3.5 g,  Fat:1.21g

Nutrition information for 1 cupcake with 1.5 tablespoon frosting:  Calories: 275.8, Carbohydrates: 30.3g, Fiber: 2.8g, Protein: 3.6 g, Fat:16.31 g

Please note: Nutritional information is not guaranteed and will vary based on the ingredients used.

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33 responses

  1. These look so good! Can I use coconut nectar in place of dates? I can’t eat dates. Or what do you recommend?thank you! You’re website is amazing!,

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  5. I made these for valentines day and they came out amazing! Everyone who tried them loved them (including my non vegan gf family)! Thanks so much for posting this! I’ll definitely be making these again!

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  7. Wow!! I just saw these featured on Healthy Vegan Friday and had to come over. I am totally PINning this recipe and hope to try it soon (worth breaking the diet a little bit). And I think I bought almost identical cupcake holders, so I truly can make mine look as festive as yours!!

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  11. these look yummy! I am excited to try them. I am back to eating vegan after some holiday extravagances (that you witnessed) and I actually missed vegetables.

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  13. Hmmm.. I still don’t understand why I need to log into my wordpress account to comment on someone’s wordpress blog. Have you ever heard of that before? Anyway, not sure if you’ll get the comment that I just tried to submit before I had to log in, so I’ll say it again. I’m eager to see your post on removing the saponins from the quinoa, as the only way I’ve done it before was just rinsing it with water in a strainer. Hoping you have a way to do that without making it wet, as I just ground my own quinoa flour today to make (bitter tasting) crackers. :-) Your cupcakes look beautiful and very tasty.

    • Hi! Ha, I’ve had the exact same issues when commenting on other blogs. I’m going to look into it. I certainly don’t want it to be hard to comment. Thank you for your persistence! Yup, I rinse and then bake briefly. Keep an eye out for my post, it’ll be up within the hour. Thanks for reading!

  14. Hey, I’m really looking forward to seeing how to remove the saponins from quinoa and still leave it dry to grind it! I just made quinoa flour for the first time today to make crackers, but I think that might be what made them taste bitter.

    • Hi! Yes, the wet to dry thing is the tricky part. I rinse and then bake it at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts. Stay tuned…My post on the topic will be up in less than an hour. =)

  15. They sound great. But I have problems with quinoa. Can I use another flour such as millet instead? Please let me know.


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