Gluten free vegan lemon pistachio cupcakes

Gluten-free vegan recipe: Lemon pistachio cupcakes

I can’t believe I’ve had this blog all this time and I haven’t posted anything under the Food category until now! I’m gluten-free and vegan and a total foodie, although uprooting my life and then being on lockdown have me posting less than I planned. I’ve got a gluten-free vegan guide to Barbados on my to-do list for when I can get back outside after coronavirus lockdown!

Anyway, the point is I’ve been baking up a storm, and I know I’m not the only one. I’m big on baking cupcakes (great for sharing, easier to achieve with a dodgy oven in a rented flat), so I thought I’d share one of my favourite recipes.

I love to make these cupcakes for parties and used to take them to the office to share with my gluten-free and non-gluten-free colleagues. They’re always a hit.

Gluten free vegan lemon pistachio cupcakes

The recipe is adapted from one I have saved on my Pinterest board. Pinterest is where you’ll find the gluten-free vegan recipes I use or want to try. If I’m feeling uninspired it’s the first place I look for ideas.

Recipe: Lemon pistachio cupcakes

Ingredients (US cup measures)


2 3/4 cups gluten-free plain flour

1/2 cup ground polenta/cornmeal

1/4 cup ground pistachios

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups coconut milk

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

1/3 cup of oil

2 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 tsp lemon essence

Lemon icing

2 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp coconut milk

2 tbsp lemon juice

Ground or sliced pistachios to decorate

Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F. Prepare a muffin tray with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice and coconut milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a separate mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Stir in the polenta and ground pistachios.

Take the bowl with the lemon and coconut mixture and add the sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla essence, lemon essence and lemon zest. Stir then pour into the larger mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix, just stir until the flour is coated.

Note: The mixture should be runny for the gluten-free flour to absorb the liquid and make a moist cake. Don’t forget the xanthan gum (as I have done on occasion — the polenta will make the cakes fall apart without it!)

Pour the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 18-20 minutes. Check that a cake tester or fork inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean — if not bake for a few more minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow the pan to cool for a few minutes, then transfer the cakes to a cooling rack.

While the cakes are cooling, in a clean dry bowl mix the icing sugar with the coconut milk and lemon juice to make a thick glaze. When the cakes are cold, spoon on the icing and then sprinkle on the ground pistachios. I often also add dried rose petals for a Middle-Eastern twist. The cakes can be stored for several days, if they last that long!

What’s your favourite cupcake recipe?

4 thoughts on “Gluten-free vegan recipe: Lemon pistachio cupcakes”

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Absolutely, it’s important to treat ourselves right now. Baking is a fun way to keep occupied 🙂

  1. Wow, these look so delicious. And I love vegan recipes!! I haven’t had a cupcake in forever and these sound (and look) perfect. The only thing I’ve baked during quarantine is bread, haha. I’ll have to share this recipe with my sister and convince her to bake this with me! Thanks for sharing.

    Much love always,
    GABBY |

  2. Yum! This looks pretty delicious. Pinned for later. I’m still learning how to bake and haven’t made a lot of cupcakes yet. But, my fave ones to eat are chocolate, lemon, blueberry, and strawberry cupcakes.

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