+ Well Nourished | Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

These healthy and nutritious grain, gluten, nut and sugar-free vanilla bean cupcakes are light and moist and will fool gluten lovers any day.  Packed with fibre and protein, you simply can’t go past these beauties for a nourishing guilt free treat.  Better still, they are so quick and simple to make and being nut free, they are perfect for kids parties and school lunch boxes too.  The variations mean that you can’t get board of these delights.  I love all of the different flavour variations, what’s you favourite?

Makes 8 large or 12 mini cupcakes 

425gram can cannellini beans drained and rinsed well
5 large eggs (or 6 small eggs) see note below
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla powder
50gram butter softened at room temperature
85gram (1/4 cup) raw honey or brown rice syrup (see variations)
40grams coconut flour (please weigh this, as it really needs to be exact)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon  baking powder, gluten free


  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃.
  2. In a powerful blender or food processor, puree the rinsed beans, eggs, and vanilla until very smooth and set aside.
  3. Next, mix together the butter and honey or brown rice syrup until very well combined.
  4. Add to the pureed mix and combine well.
  5. Now add the coconut flour, sea salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.  Mix until combined and spoon into paper-lined cupcake moulds immediately.  The batter does have a slightly thick but airy consistency that is unusual if you’ve never worked with coconut flour before.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes for large and 15 minutes for mini cupcakes, or until lightly brown on top and springy to touch (like a regular cake).
  7. Cool and top with your preferred icing (recommendations below).

Thermomix Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃.
  2. Mix the beans, eggs, vanilla, butter and sweetener for 1 minute, speed 7.
  3. Add the coconut flour, sea salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and mix 10 seconds, speed 4.
  4. As per above method.

Don’t scrimp on the eggs or let the batter sit for too long.  Not enough eggs and delaying getting it in the oven will result in a much heavier batter and cake.


Substitute the honey for 70 grams of brown rice syrup and ¼ to ½ teaspoon of pure stevia powder (optional).

Substitute the coconut flour for 100 grams of almond meal (though now obviously not nut free).  I have also substituted for 40 grams of wholemeal spelt flour with success (no longer gluten free if you substitute with spelt).

Substitute the butter with ghee or coconut oil.

Lemon or lime cupcakes
Add the zest of one large lemon or lime to the egg/bean mix.

Orange cupcakes
Add the zest of one large orange to the egg/bean mix.

Blueberry cupcakes
Add ¼ cup of fresh or defrosted blueberries, mixed through the batter very gently at the very end.

Chocolate chip
Add a ¼ cup of dark chocolate chips (I love the Green and Blacks 85% cacao chocolate).  As I’m a bit of a stooge when it comes to my kids eating chocolate, I often just push a square of chocolate into the middle or place on top of the cupcake (this also saves me the effort of icing)!

I usually like baked goodies straight out of the oven, but these are actually best eaten the next day, especially if you think you can taste the beans or egg.  They are best stored in the fridge and can also be frozen in an airtight container or snap-lock bag.

Icing suggestions
Remember to make sure the cupcakes are completely cold before icing.

Fructose free vanilla icing (gluten free too)
50grams of butter, softened at room temperature
A pinch of pure stevia powder
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla bean powder
Beat together until light and fluffy.

Cream cheese icing
50grams cream cheese or quark
20grams butter, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Beat together until light and fluffy.

Cashew nut cream (dairy and gluten free)
½ cup raw cashew nuts
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup or maple syrup (optional)
Soak the cashews in water for 3-4 hours.  Strain and then process with the rest of the ingredients until smooth.  You can add more or less water to the nuts to achieve the desired consistency.  If you aren’t organised enough to soak the cashews, then boil them gently for 5 minutes, then process.

Vanilla cream
Carton cream whipped until light and fluffy
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat ingredients together and place on top of the cupcake.  You can also slice the top of the cake off, top with cream and replace the cake top with a slice of strawberry (like a butterfly cake).

“I made your vanilla bean cupcakes today and WOW!!! We loved them! Just wondering if I should tell my 2 daughters that they’re actually eating beans, ha ha!”
Kerry (via Facebook)


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Vanilla Bean Cup Cakes photographed with my Nans’ Golden Wattle cookbook and old scales.
Image 5
Party time – iced with raspberry and cream cheese icing.

  • nat

    cannelini beans?!

    • Yes that’s right! Try it, you’ll be surprised. Super easy too! G x

  • Geri

    Just tried these as an experiment for a gluten and fructose intolerant visitor and my teenage daughter was mortified to see beans going in. I battled to find rice syrup so used honey for now and swapped coconut flour for natural almond meal, the batter was quite runny but they cooked up great although I think I could have left them in a bit longer cause they didn’t rise as nicely as they are in the picture. I’m pretty sure even my teenager will eat these with a bit of icing on the top. Thanks G

    • Thanks for your feedback Geri. The almond meal is a heavier flour, the coconut flour is much ‘lighter’ so that may be why they didn’t rise so well. They taste good either way though.

  • I’m having a well nourished Sunday morning, broth is on, cup cakes in the oven, looking good. Love your variations with flavours, ideal for keeping the kids happy. Thanks G.

    • Sound like the perfect start to a Well Nourished week! Thanks for the feedback. G x

  • Rosanne O’Brien

    Another winner at the O’Briens thanks again Georgia x

  • Nat

    I had these the other day with the cashew nut icing and they were delicious! I loved the texture. Will do again. Ta G x

  • THERMOMIX METHOD – I blend the beans etc as above at speed 8-9 for 10 seconds. Set aside. I don’t wash the bowl, I just insert the butterfly add the butter and sweetener and whip 1 minute, speed 4. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times. Remove the butterfly. Add the rest of the ingredients, scrape the butter mix from the sides and mix speed 5 for about 20 seconds (again scraping the sides mid way during the mixing, just make sure it’s evenly combined).

  • Gen montgomerie

    Hi George,
    Really enjoying reading your recipes! So keen to finally try these cupcakes… Just wondering what speed u mixed in thermomix after you added remaining ingredients once removing butterfly?
    Xx Gen Montgomerie

    • Thanks Gen. Have updated the TM method now. I’m very experimental with the TM which is why I’ve been a bit hesitant to include a method in the post itself. When mixing a cake batter I generally just turn on the speed to 4 or 5 and watch through the lid to see it come together. Once it’s all combined, I stop it. Less is always best when mixing any cake batter. G x

  • Sally

    Hi Georgia, I’m keen to give these cupcakes a go but my kids can’t tolerate the high amine level in coconut flour or almond meal…do you think it would work if I substitute with spelt or just plain? – Sally x

    • I can’t see why spelt wouldn’t work. I’d add enough to achieve a loose (fairly runny) batter. Don’t scrimp on the eggs or change any other part of the recipe. It won’t take any where near as much flour as a regular cake so I’d add it a tablespoon at a time. Let me know how it goes? G x

  • Sally

    Success! Finally got around to making these, I ended up using plain self raising and they worked out great, topped them with the creamed cheese icing, delish! Tim ate two soon as I iced them and the kids argued that since they were so healthy they should be allowed two also! Thanks Georgia x

    • Great Sally. Thanks for your comments and improvisations. Did you use the same quantity of SR flour as coconut or more? It’s good for other readers who may also prefer to avoid coconut flour. G x

      • Sally

        I used exactly the same as coconut flour, 40 gms which was 1/3 cup exact. Next on my list is your chic chip cookies 🙂

        • Thanks for that Sally. Just great for others wanting to substitute also. G x

  • Danni

    I just made these this afternoon and they were delish! The kids loved them as did hubby and me. I was not confident as the batter didn’t taste great but once cooked they were so moist, light and fluffy.

    • That’s great Danni. Yes good point, the batter isn’t a good reflection of the end result. You will find they will be even nicer the next day. Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. G x

  • Sarah

    Love the idea of cupcakes with beans – gold! My kids and I are vego so we eat a lot of legumes and in particular I’m always looking for opportunities to turbo charge their iron intake. Do you know where cannelini beans sit in terms of their iron content?

    • They are definitely a source of Iron and an awesome snack for kids veto or not. Being vego, you just need to make sure you prepare (soak), ferment or sprout all grains, nuts, seeds and legumes to reduce the anti nutrients that bind to these important minerals. G x

  • Sally

    Okay. These are AWESOME! They were my sweet treat baking for this weekend and I have to admit, I was highly dubious. I was even telling my husband we could just drown them in icing if they were horrible. They are beautiful though and don’t need icing at all.

    I didn’t have baking powder, so subbed 1/4 tsp extra bicarb + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. My blender also didn’t do a good enough job on the butter/honey blending, so I slightly warmed them over a bowl of hot water to bring them together.

    Do you think these would freeze okay?

    • Hi Sally, yep I think a lot of people are put off by the ingredients (and even the batter tastes ordinary). So pleased you like them. Yes they freeze really well. Should add that to the recipe – one of my first on the website so I wasn’t so onto it back then!! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Really appreciate your feedback, G x

  • Anouk

    These are great. I have made them a couple of times and even the fussy kids that come over tuck in.
    Have you tried making these as one big cake?
    I am thinking of using it for my daughter’s birthday cake.

    • Thanks Anouk, I’m sorry, I haven’t made them as a cake but I can’t see why they wouldn’t work. You’ll just need to keep a close eye on them when cooking. Love to hear how they go? Gx

      • Anouk

        The big cake worked! It was really yummy and well received by most of the kids. I also made my own food colouring as in the I Quit Sugar Kids Cookbook (i.e. spinach juice for green, beetroot juice for pink, watery tumeric for yellow, etc.) and coloured coconut to make a rainbow decoration. All worked wonderfully.

        • Ah how wonderful, thanks for letting me know. Thrilled and yes it’s amazing how many ‘nature’ given colours are possible. G x

  • Katri

    I made these yesterday and can’t believe how moist and delicious they are! Next time I’ll try some of the flavor variations.
    My fussy 5 year old cupcake loving daughter didn’t even flinch when cooking with beans, knowing we were making cupcakes. We topped it with the whipped cream icing with a drop of food colouring and she was in the same heaven as when eating sugar laden cakes.
    Thanks so much for sharing your gift and wisdom!

    • I’m so pleased you and your daughter loved them and thanks for taking the time to comment. Love whipped cream with them too. I sometimes make butterfly cup cakes with this recipe, works a treat, G x

  • Maryanne

    Hi Georgia, I started following your website through Facebook a couple weeks ago while I was on holidays. I was so excited to get back from holidays to start making your recipes, as I have been wanting to change the way I cook for a while.
    Last night I made the Anzac biscuits, which were fantastic!!
    This morning I made the toasted muesli and then made the parfait, my husband the fussy eater ate it WOW he normally refuses to eat yogurt, and it was natural. For dinner I made the chicken & almond curry which was also Amazing!! This will become a regular meal for us coming into winter!! Was so inspired after this I made the vanilla bean cupcakes tonight and what a surprise they were!
    I made the cream cheese icing for those! I can’t wait to do more of your recipes!!! 🙂 Thank you!!!!

    • Thanks Maryanne so much for your feedback and support. I love hearing about winning over fuss pots especially!! I hope you continue to enjoy my recipes and healthy inspiration. Have a great weekend,G x

  • Monique

    Hi Georgia, can I replace the butter with coconut oil for the fructose free vanilla icing (and do i substitute with same amount?). Thanks, Monique

    • Hi Monique
      I’m not sure coconut oil will hold as well as butter. For dairy and fructose free I’d go with the cashew nut icing. Alternatively, sub the butter with creamed coconut – which has a a firm nut butter like consistency (not to be confused with coconut cream). G x

  • Nikki

    Hi, I am intolerant of eggs. Do you think this would work with a flax or chia egg? Thank you!

    • Oooh, I’m a bit hesitant with this but never say never. Perhaps try a 1/4 batch. I have been both surprised and disappointed with egg replacement (especially when there are so many eggs and no gluten binders). Perhaps you could replace some of the coconut flour with arrowroot too? Love to know how you go Nikki. G x

      • Han Oush

        I only had 3 eggs so also added 2T of flax soaked in 6T of water and a 5cm piece of banana, plus decreased the coconut flour to 30g and added 10g of arrowroot starch. The texture is just like the recipes I’d normally use eggs + coconut flour so I’m claiming it worked! Don’t know what they’re meant to be like with all eggs though, or whether it would work with only flax eggs, but thought I’d let you know of my tweak anyway!

  • Julie

    These are fantastic. Thank you for your beautiful and informative website, Georgia. I have one fussy child who has been happy to eat these! However, I made the mistake of going overboard and giving them every day for lunch for a few weeks (I let my excitement cloud my judgement) and they have gone off them. But I will bring them out again further down the track and in the meantime I will try something else on your website.

    • Hi Julie, I missed your comment somehow, so sorry for the late acknowledgement. Yes I have done the same in the past with my kids – they used to love my toasted muesli but after relying on it for breakfast, both have gone off it. Variety is the spice of life (and important to keep kids interested). G x

  • Andrea

    Can I freeze them with icing on? Does cream cheese or cream freeze well?

    • I haven’t done so myself, but can’t see why they wouldn’t freeze well. G x

  • Nikki

    Hi Georgia, I’m planning on doubling this recipe to make a ladybird birthday cake for my daughters 2nd birthday. Do you think a double batch will fit into the thermomix ok? Thanks so much.

    • Haven’t tried it, but from memory, I think it should be fine G x

  • Jess

    This is the second time I have tried this recipe. The first attempt they were very eggy – I think large supermarket eggs are bigger than the real free range ones. Second attempt they were great with eggs from the farmers market. Glad I tried a second time, and they were nicer the next day. Will be a regular in our house!!

    • Glad you tried them again too. Funny, they are the only cake I make that is better the next day. Enjoy G x

  • Jenna

    Hey Georgia!!

    Excited to try these out! I just wanted to check – I’m not too concerned with being gluten free, so can I substitue coconut flour for wholewheat flour? And regular baking powder?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hi Jenna, I haven’t tried them with flour, but I’m sure they’d be fine (perhaps double the quant though). Enjoy and love to know how they go G x

  • Jess

    These are brilliant thankyou! My kids and hubby loved them.

  • Anna

    Made these with butter beans instead of cannellini beans by mistake and they worked out really well. Great recipe!

  • Julie

    Yum Georgia! Another one of your recipes saved to favourites. I only had chickpeas and thought it might be an overpowering flavour so I added a tablespoon of maple syrup and the rind of a mandarin, delish! I coated them with a 2 minute concoction of melted cacao butter, cacao powder and a desert spoon of rapadura sugar. When I’m more organised I will try your vanilla icing, thanks 🙂 Julie

    • Beautiful adaptations Kelly, thanks for your feedback G x

  • Mandy Hunt

    Thanks so much for the recipe. My girls are not feeling well today and this made their day. How delicious. So great to have a nut free, ours was dairy free as well treat. Yum!!!!

  • Leanne

    Lovely recipe, but do you really need a tablespoon of vanilla powder? I used that amount but they were very dark in colour.

    • Hi Leanne. No you don’t need to add this much. I just love vanilla so you’ll find most of my recipes heavy handed. Adjust as you like G x

      • I put in 1 heaped teaspooon of vanilla powder and it was great.

  • I have to say this is a wonderful recipe. I used lemon rind in mine and I also used 50 grams spelt flour. They were amazing!. Thanks so much i will be using this recipe alot and making different versions. So excited i found it! x

    • Thanks Sue, yes it is so versatile, Thanks for your including your variation too G x

  • Sarah

    Hi Georgia, just wondering how you made the raspberry cream cheese icing? Many thanks,

    • Hi Sarah – I just blended the liquid (from defrosting frozen berries) with cream cheese and a little sweetener (maple or rice malt syrup) – form memory G x

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