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Fluffy Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting (Paleo, AIP)

By June 7, 2022March 30th, 2024AIP, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Paleo

These Paleo Lemon Cupcakes are so light, moist, and sweet that you won’t believe they’re gluten free, nut free, dairy free and egg free! The vanilla frosting is rich and creamy but has no dairy or refined sugar. Easy to make and everyone will love them.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting with bit close up

You might be thinking, how can these lemon cupcakes taste so good without any dairy, eggs or nut flour? But trust me they are incredible!

The combination of cassava and tigernut flour, olive oil, lemon, unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup and full fat coconut milk creates six fluffy, light, citrusy cupcakes you will love.

Even though they are made without eggs they are super moist and tender.

They are topped with a delicious dairy free vanilla frosting that’s super easy to make.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting on wire rack

Ingredients For These Paleo Lemon Cupcakes

The ingredients come together very easily without a lot of fuss and the cupcakes bake in just 20 minutes.

Nut Free and Gluten Free Flours –  The combination of tigernut flour, cassava flour, and coconut flour creates a light and fluffy texture. I recommend WEIGHING THE FLOURS. It’s actually easier than measuring and always comes out perfectly.

Coconut or Maple Sugar – Either one is good, the coconut sugar will make the cupcakes a little darker than the maple sugar.

Olive Oil – The olive oil gives the cupcakes a pleasant fruity flavor and keeps them nice and moist. Unlike coconut oil it’s easy to use, no melting and cooling required, just pour into your measuring cup.

Organic Unsweetened Applesauce –  This makes the cupcakes moist and soft with a natural sweet taste. Buy applesauce in 4 ounce containers if possible.  You won’t have to measure it and you’ll only open the one you’re using.

Full Fat Coconut Milk –  Use coconut milk as the liquid in the recipe to add a nice richness. You won’t even taste the coconut flavor.  Makes sure it’s full fat not light.

Gelatin – In this recipe the gelatin is used as a binder. It’s mixed together with the other dry ingredients. So simple, you don’t have to make a gelatin egg.  For vegan use a flax ‘egg.’

Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest – Use fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest for a fresh citrusy taste. A microplane is great for making the lemon zest.

Other ingredients – The remaining ingredients are basic cake ingredients; vanilla extract (for flavor), baking soda, and salt.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting close up

Diary Free Vanilla Frosting Ingredients

The frosting comes together really quickly in just one bowl and can be made in advance but it will harden a lot in the fridge due to the coconut oil.  When ready to use re-whip it with your hand mixer and it’ll be perfect!

Palm Oil and Coconut Oil are the base of the frosting. Make sure the palm oil is at room temp and the coconut oil is soft but not at all melted. If  it’s really hot in you kitchen, chill the coconut oil until it’s just spreadable.

Used refined coconut oil if you want to avoid any coconut flavor, but for texture, virgin will work well too.

Since coconut oil melts at 75 degrees, store the cupcakes in the refrigerator and let come to room temperature to serve.

Tapioca or Arrowroot –  Either one works as a thickener for the frosting.

Maple Syrup – I like the mild sweet flavor of maple syrup. Honey will work too but has a stronger taste.

Vanilla Extract – For a naturally sweet taste.

Lemon Zest – Sprinkle on top of the frosting for a zingy lemony taste. (optional)

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting cooling on wire rack

Tips for Making Paleo Lemon Cupcakes

Weigh the flours. I highly recommend using a scale to measure the flours so it comes out perfectly. If you use a measuring cup, don’t pack the flour in. Take a spoon and add the flour to the cup, then level off.

Sift the dry ingredients. Tigernut flour and the other dry ingredients often have lumps. It’s best to sift them together after weighing or measuring.

Mix the coconut milk thoroughly before measuring. If it’s partially solid put the can in a pot of hot water to melt, then mix and measure.

Use cupcake liners to make it easy to remove from the pan.

Fill each cupcake liner to the top. They won’t be rising very much.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting close up with cupcakes behind

Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I appreciate your feedback so much. Let me know what you’re eating this summer. ♥

If you like this recipe, try these other delicious nut free desserts:

Paleo Blueberry Coffee Cake (AIP, Nut Free)

Paleo Carrot Cake with ‘Buttercream Frosting’ (AIP, Nut Free)

Fresh Lemon Bars

Lemon Cream Pudding with Strawberry Sauce

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Fluffy Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting (Paleo, AIP)

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  • Author: Ingrid DeHart
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Tender, moist, and sweet cupcakes that are gluten free, nut free, refined sugar free, dairy free & egg free!



Lemon Cupcakes

Vanilla Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line cupcake pan with 6 cupcake liners.
  2. In large bowl mix tigernut flour, cassava flour, coconut flour, coconut or maple sugar, sea salt, baking soda and gelatin. Stir to combine.
  3. Mix in lemon zest.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the olive oil, unsweetened applesauce, vanilla, coconut milk and lemon juice until well combined.
  5. Add to the flour mixture and mix until combined. The batter consistency will be thick
  6. Fill each cupcake liner to the top, dividing the batter evenly.
  7. Bake in middle rack of oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
  8. Allow cupcakes to cool a few minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  10. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
  11. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the shortening and coconut oil until smooth and fluffy. Add maple syrup and beat on low until combined, then add tapioca, vanilla and sea salt and beat until creamy.
  12. Frost cupcakes immediately, OR store frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use. Frosting will harden in the fridge, but you can let it sit for 5 minutes at room temp, then re-beat before frosting the cupcakes.
  13. Frost cupcakes using a piping bag or with rubber spatula. Garnish with lemon zest if desired.
  14. Store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


For vegan use a flax egg. To make a flax egg, mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with 2 1/2  tablespoons of water. Mix together, and let sit in for 15 minutes to set up and thicken.

The recipe can be doubled to make 12 cupcakes.

If you don’t want to make the icing the cupcakes are delicious plain.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Snack
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Paleo, Nut Free, AIP, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free,Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free

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