A classic vanilla cupcake recipe that is completely vegan, dairy-free and egg-free. Topped with a creamy vegan vanilla buttercream frosting, this is the only cupcake recipe you will need for birthdays and special occasions.
There are some recipes that you just need to have in your back pocket, and I truly believe that a reliable vanilla cupcake recipe is one of those.
While I have my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe which has long been my go to, I have always wanted a vegan version that was equally reliable. When making cupcakes for a birthday or celebration, there is always a chance that someone may have food intolerances and that can make things tricky, so this is a handy recipe to have.
In my last two offices I have had colleagues who were vegan, and being dairy-free myself I understand what it feels like when everyone else gets cake for their birthday and you end up with a slice of the standard orange almond cake that seems to be the only allergy friendly cake that bakeries make, or worse, nothing because it’s just too difficult.
That is when I started adapting my cakes to find a vegan option that still tastes like cake should. This is exactly that. It’s the perfect vanilla cupcake that just happens to be free from eggs and dairy. It has also been taste tested by vegans and non vegans alike and gets a giant tick of approval from all.
So what makes this vanilla cupcake recipe so good?
There are a couple of key ingredients so let’s run through.
- Vinegar. This is mixed with the dairy-free milk to create a homemade buttermilk. This gives the cupcake a light, soft crumb.
- Baking powder AND bicarbonate of soda. Without eggs to help with lift, we need to add both to give the cupcakes rise so they don’t end up dense.
- Oil. Oil is moisture and the addition in this cake keeps everything soft and light, and provides the perfect base to hold a rich buttercream frosting.
The cupcakes are topped with my vegan vanilla buttercream. This buttercream is so good it has its own post which is consistently one of the most popular recipes on Eight Forest Lane, so don’t just take my word on that!
How to make vegan vanilla cupcakes
These cupcakes come together so quickly. You just need a few bowls and a mixer to take the hard work away from your arms and your cupcakes will be going in the oven in about 10 mins.
- Make your buttermilk by mixing vinegar with your dairy-free milk.
- Sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
- Mix canola oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until combined.
- Add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk until cupcake batter comes together.
- Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only ¾ full and bake.
- Make the buttercream and pipe it on the cooled cupcakes.
Yes I am simplifying the process here and you will find more detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom which absolutely you must read through before trying these for the first time, but this is not an intimidating recipe and is perfect for those not super confident with baking.
And yes piping is a skill, but if you invest in a tip such as a 1M or 2D and make sure you have a nice stiff buttercream and allow yourself time to practise, you will surprise yourself with how profesh your cupcakes look in no time.
Vanilla cupcakes are simple but perfect for any occasion, especially when you are baking for a group and are not sure what flavour to make. You also have the option to get creative with decorating and can easily match the cupcakes to a theme by tinting the frosting whatever colour you want.
I have a lot of cupcake recipes on my blog, but the reason I always come back to cupcakes is that they are so easy and quick to make and decorate and even store. Making a full size cake can be a lot of work so if you are short on time, cupcakes can make it feel like you went to a lot of effort when really they came together without too much fuss.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup dairy-free milk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 ¾ cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup sugar
- pinch of salt
For the buttercream:
- ½ cup (125 grams) dairy-free butter
- 3-4 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free milk
- pinch of salt to taste
- food colouring optional
- sprinkles optional
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with 12 patty cases.
- In a small bowl combine white vinegar and dairy-free milk. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat canola oil, sugar and vanilla until combined. Slowly add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk until cupcake batter comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only ¾ full before placing them in the oven for 18 minutes or until lightly springy to touch. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Make the buttercream. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat dairy-free spread for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Add in 3 cups of icing sugar and beat on medium until combined. As mixture thickens, add in vanilla and dairy-free milk. If frosting is too thin, add in an extra ½-1 cup of icing sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Add pinch of salt to taste if frosting is too sweet.
- Tint the buttercream with a few drops of food colouring, I used 3 drops of Americolour Violet gel colouring. Place buttercream into a piping bag, I used a 2D tip, and pipe buttercream on cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles.