Simple vegan lemon cupcakes with a tangy lemon buttercream are soft and light and full of lemon flavour. These cupcakes are perfect for all occasions, are really easy to make, and are dairy-free, egg free and vegan.
I absolutely love lemon desserts, and lemon cake has to be one of my all time favourite flavours. The lemon gives baked goods a light, springy flavour that doesn’t feel heavy and these cupcakes in particular have the most beautifully soft texture – you’re going to love them.
We don’t shy away from lemon in this recipe, using both lemon juice and zest in the recipe and then topping things off with a big swirl of vegan lemon buttercream which is the perfect balance of tangy and sweet and pairs wonderfully with these simple little cupcakes.
This recipe is a combination of my vegan vanilla cupcakes which are one of my most popular recipes, along with regular dairy free lemon cupcakes. I love those cupcakes, but I really wanted a version that was also egg free.
Just like all my vegan cupcake recipes, these lemon cupcakes are made with simple, everyday ingredients that you may just have on hand, ready to go.
- Plain flour – known as all purpose flour in the US.
- Baking powder – gives the cakes rise.
- Bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda in the US, this is essential for a light and fluffy cupcake due to the reaction with the acidic lemon.
- Canola oil – you can use any light tasting oil here. Coconut oil would also work and would give these cupcakes a subtle tropical taste.
- White sugar – for sweetness and flavour.
- Vanilla – enhances all of the flavour.
- Dairy-free milk – you can use any you prefer, I like to use either almond, soy or oat milk.
- Lemon – of course it wouldn’t be a lemon cupcake without lemons! We’re using both the fresh juice and the zest for maximum flavour.
This recipe is honestly so easy, you just need some bowls and a whisk. No electric mixer required! *However, full disclosure you will need an electric mixer if you want to pair them with the lemon buttercream frosting.
You’ll also need a muffin tray or cupcake pan (what’s the difference really?) and some cupcake liners.
I recently bought a USA Pan cupcake tray which is what you see in the pictures of this post and while it was a little more expensive than by Kmart one that I’d been using previously, I love it so much and find it’s absolutely non-stick and cooks the cakes so evenly without any dark edges.
To make the cupcake batter, you’ll start by mixing together the dry ingredients in a small bowl, then mixing together the remaining ingredients except the milk.
Then it’s just as simple as adding the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with the milk until a batter forms.
This batter will thicken as the bicarbonate of soda reacts with the lemon juice. Be careful to only mix until everything is just combined as you don’t want to end up overworking it as this is what can cause our cupcakes to become dense.
I always find the process of spooning the batter into the lined cupcake pan is so much simpler if you have a cookie scoop! Make sure to fill them about ¾ full before baking in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
Move to a wire rack and let cool completely before finishing with a big swirl of vegan lemon buttercream frosting and some extra lemon zest for colour.
You can also add a little bit of fresh lemon like I did for my photos, however I wouldn’t leave it in there if you weren’t serving them straight away.
More vegan cupcake recipes:
Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
- 1 ¾ cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¾ cup dairy free milk
- 1 batch
vegan lemon buttercream
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with 12 patty cases.
- In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the white sugar, canola oil, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice until combined. Slowly add dry ingredients, alternating with the dairy free milk until cupcake batter just comes together, being careful not to overmix.
- Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only ¾ full before placing them in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until lightly springy to touch. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Make the buttercream and place into a piping bag, I used a 2D tip, and pipe buttercream on cooled cupcakes. Top with extra lemon zest.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.