5 In Cupcakes/ Recipes

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

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.

vegan vanilla cupcakesThere 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.

vegan vanilla cupcakes on standSo 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!

close up of vegan vanilla cupcakesHow 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.

  1. Make your buttermilk by mixing vinegar with your dairy-free milk.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.
  3. Mix canola oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk until cupcake batter comes together.
  5. Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only ¾ full and bake.
  6. 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.

4 vegan vanilla cupcakesVanilla 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.

For more vegan cupcake recipes, try my chocolate cupcakes, ‘snickers’ cupcakes, or cookies and cream cupcakes.

close up of vegan vanilla cupcakeIf 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.

Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Sally


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
  • 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.


Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days, and up to 3-4 days in the fridge.
Dairy-free milk. I have used oat milk, almond milk, vanilla almond milk, and soy milk in this recipe and all produce a perfect cupcake.
Most sprinkles are not actually vegan. If you are making this for someone who is, please check your labels and make sure you are using a vegan friendly brand.
Americolor gel food colourings do not use any animal products so are fine for vegans, but again ensure you check the labels as some brands may not be suitable.
I use Nuttelex Buttery to replace butter in most of my recipes as it is vegan and gives a 'buttery' flavour without being greasy. As this is an Australian product, the closest US alternative I believe is Earth Balance. Otherwise any dairy-free spread will work.
Want chocolate frosting? Try my vegan chocolate buttercream instead.
Not from Australia? Check out my US Conversion Guide

Save it for later:

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Vegan Vanilla Buttercream

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    August 26, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    These are such pretty looking cupcakes! I love the delicate touch of the colourful sprinkles as well! Can’t wait to try them. Cheers

  • Reply
    August 26, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    These are so pretty! Such a great idea, I know quite a few people who can’t eat dairy and would love these!

  • Reply
    August 25, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Love the idea of a dairy-free buttermilk – so genius!! A great recipe that can be used in so many different ways – I know all my vegan friends will absolutely love these cupcakes!

  • Reply
    Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
    August 25, 2019 at 10:56 am

    After seeing these on Instagram the other day, I whipped up a batch for my best friend who is a vegan. We both enjoyed them immensely 🙂 Thank you so much, Sally!

    • Reply
      August 25, 2019 at 11:08 am

      I am so happy you both enjoyed these!

    Leave a Reply