This is the ultimate vegan vanilla cupcakes recipe! Super easy to make, soft, sweet, fluffy, moist, and full of vanilla flavor, these vanilla cupcakes will be your favorite cupcake recipe, vegan or not! Topped with a delicious dairy free buttercream and easily made gluten free as well!
Why you’ll just LOVE these easy vegan vanilla cupcakes:
Your parties and celebrations just got so much more delicious with these easy and ultra moist vegan vanilla cupcakes!
Made from scratch and only using one bowl, these undetectably healthy cupcakes are the perfect treat for a birthday, party, or any time celebration!
If you’ve ever thought that vanilla cupcakes are boring, your mind is about to be changed drastically.
These easy undetectably healthy vanilla cupcakes are anything but boring. One bite, and you’ll see that these cupcakes are:
- Full of “buttery” vanilla
- Just the right amount of sweetness
- Light yet decadent
- Absolutely irresistible
These vegan vanilla cupcakes are the perfect healthy birthday dessert for both kids and adults. Not only are they all of the above, but you’ll never know that these cupcakes are allergy friendly (aka they can be made free of the Top 8 Allergens), dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free, egg free, vegan, and nut free.
And I’ve even been told by several people who do not regularly consume vegan baked goods that they’d never know these cupcakes are vegan. These are the best vanilla cupcakes, whether you’re vegan or not!
Vegan vanilla cupcake ingredients
The ingredients you need for these cupcakes are super simple. For these vegan vanilla cupcakes, you’ll need:
- Cake flour: you can also use gluten free flour, but more on that below!
- Granulated sugar: to make these cupcakes refined sugar free, swap in coconut sugar.
- Leavening agents
- Vegan buttermilk: this is a combination of dairy free milk and apple cider vinegar.
- Vegan butter: room temperature is key! I recommend using Flora Plant Butter for the best results.
- Unsweetened applesauce: this swaps out eggs that would be used in a classic vanilla cupcake recipe.
- Vanilla extract: I also add in vanilla powder for the specs of vanilla bean seeds in the actual cupcakes.
We’re going to be using a lot of vanilla. In fact, this recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract in the cupcake batter. Using any less is probably the reason why you think that vanilla cupcakes are boring!
Recommended cupcake equipment:
If you have a cake stand mixer (I just got one!) you can use that. You’ll use the paddle attachment for the batter and the whisk attachment for the frosting. But rest assured that I spent many years baking with just a hand mixer and a bowl, and that’s really all you need.
You’ll just need a bowl and a rubber spatula for the batter, along with a hand mixer for the vegan buttercream frosting.
For piping bags and tips: I use the Wilton closed star tip if you’d like to get the same frosting look as I do.
How to make homemade vegan vanilla cupcakes from scratch
As I mentioned earlier, making these vegan vanilla cupcakes is super easy and simple. The full written recipe and ingredients are down below in the recipe card. However, we’ll go over the basics here. Please also note that the recipe video is slightly different in method from the written instructions. These cupcakes have been further improved upon, so the written instructions are the most accurate!
First, we’ll go over how to make the vegan cupcake batter, then the vegan buttercream frosting!
In the final section, I’ll go over some tips for the cupcakes. If you’re just learning how to pipe frosting onto cupcakes for the first time (or are a beginner), definitely check out the YouTube video because it will give you a visual tutorial on how to create those swirls!
The cupcake batter
The cupcake batter is made in just a few simple steps. You’ll first start with the prep steps, including weighing out your ingredients, preheating the oven, preparing your cupcake pan, and making the vegan buttermilk (super important for fluffy cupcakes!).
Super important baking tip: please weigh out your ingredients rather than using cups! I’ve given both measurements in the recipe card, but the most accurate results will come from weighing your ingredients, especially your flour. The reason being is that 1 cup of flour can yield anywhere from 125 grams to 170 grams of flour, which is a massive difference. This all depends on whether you’re spoon & leveling, or scooping your cup (don’t do the latter!). Using gram measurements will ensure your flour is truly the accurate measurement rather than just guessing!
- Whisk the dry ingredients: this is the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Then you’ll set this aside.
- Cream together the wet ingredients: much like making a cake, you’ll cream together the vegan butter and sugar first. The butter will turn lighter in color, and the sugar should start to dissolve into the butter. Then add in the applesauce and vanilla. There’s also the option for adding vanilla powder, which I highly recommend! It will make these cupcakes taste like Georgetown Cupcake!
- Add in the dry ingredients and vegan buttermilk in increments: This should be done in two stages, half of each added first, then mix, then add in the remaining. Please also note that you mix only until the dry ingredients have JUST incorporated into the vanilla cupcake batter!
- Bake the cupcakes! Fill each cupcake about 2/3 of the way full. This will yield you about 12 cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes just until lightly golden on top, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack.
Easy vegan buttercream frosting
Before we frost, make sure that the vegan cupcakes are entirely cool before frosting. We don’t want any of our vegan buttercream frosting slipping off the cupcake!
You can make the frosting while the cupcakes are cooling, just make sure that you’re waiting until the cupcakes do not feel warm at all to touch.
Next, you’ll need the vegan butter softened. You should be able to make an indent into the vegan butter with your finger tip, but it will still feel slightly cool.
Another important tip for making vegan frosting is sifting the powdered sugar. This will ensure that there are no clumps when it comes time to frosting the cupcakes. This will make the frosting not only look more elegant, but will also prevent it from clogging the piping tip.
I have several different amazing dairy free frostings to use for these cupcakes: classic vanilla frosting, classic chocolate frosting, vegan white chocolate frosting, vegan hazelnut frosting, vegan raspberry frosting, and more! Be sure to check out the cake and cupcakes recipe page for a list of all the different types of frostings you can use for these vegan cupcakes.
Can I make these vanilla cupcakes gluten free?
Yes, these vegan vanilla cupcakes can easily be made gluten free. If you’d like to make gluten free vanilla cupcakes, simply sift together gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour with a little arrowroot powder (exact measurements are in the recipe card) or cornstarch. This will give the texture of cake flour.
How can I make my cupcakes more moist?
These vegan vanilla cupcakes are definitely designed to be moist, but to ensure that these cupcakes retain their moisture, here are a few tips:
- Weigh out all ingredients: like with the flour, making sure you have enough of the wet ingredients is also super important.
- Keep the oven door closed: this makes sure that the warm air stays in the oven and continues to heat the cupcakes.
- Allow the cupcakes to sit in the tin post baking: just for 5 minutes to lock in the moisture!
- Cover the cupcakes after they’ve cooled if you’re frosting them the next day: make sure that you’ve covered the cupcakes entirely before storing, so that the moisture doesn’t escape!
Can I make these cupcakes ahead of time?
You can absolutely make these healthy vanilla cupcakes the day before serving. Simply make the cupcake part the day before. Once the cupcakes have fully cooled, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap on a cooling rack or plate (I recommend the cooling rack to keep the air still filtrating). Store in a cool area overnight.
The next day: unwrap the cupcakes and make the buttercream. Frost and serve!
Freezing: you can also freeze these cupcakes unfrosted for up to 1 month. When ready to serve, simply allow the cupcakes to thaw at room temperature for 2 hours. Frost and enjoy!
Recipe tips & tricks:
Make sure all wet ingredients are room temperature: using room temperature wet ingredients will prevent a vegan cupcake from becoming gummy or under-baked (despite sitting in the oven for a long period of time!). Give yourself an hour or two for the ingredients to come to room temperature before beginning to bake!
Refined sugar free option: to make these vegan vanilla cupcakes entirely refined sugar free, swap in coconut sugar for both the cupcake and the frosting. With the vegan frosting, you’ll need to turn the coconut sugar into powdered sugar by pulsing it in a food processor. An extra step, but so worth it if you’re looking for a healthy cupcake!
Don’t over mix the batter: I know we all get eager to make sure our batter is entirely mixed, but don’t over mix, or this will create gummy cupcakes rather than light, fluffy, and tender cupcakes.
Keep the oven door closed: Whatever you do, keep that oven door shut while baking your cupcakes. Many don’t realize that the oven temperature drastically changes when you open the door. Have you ever opened your oven door and felt a rush of warm air? That’s because the warm air is so drastically different in temperature from the cool, so it seeks an equilibrium (this is getting scientific, I’m so sorry you didn’t come for a science lesson but it needs to be explained!), so the heat transfers to the cool, leaving the oven not at the 350F that you set it at. This will ultimately cause an uneven bake.
If the cupcake liner isn’t peeling off: allow the cupcakes to rest in the tin for 5 minutes post baking. Then transfer them to the cooling rack to fully cool.
Add in vanilla powder for extra vanilla flavor. If you want to get fancy like Georgetown Cupcakes (ugh, miss working there! It was so much fun!), you can add in some vanilla bean pod seeds or vanilla paste for that speckled vanilla look! Plus the taste is so “buttery” without adding any dairy!
You are just going to absolutely LOVE these easy vegan vanilla cupcakes! These cupcakes are perfect for:
- Bridal showers
- Birthday parties
- Engagement parties
- Just because!
If you make them, be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others may find this recipe.
Happy cupcake baking!
More vegan cupcake recipes you’ll love:
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This is the ultimate vegan vanilla cupcakes recipe! Super easy to make, soft, sweet, fluffy, and full of vanilla flavor, these vanilla cupcakes will be your favorite cupcake recipe, vegan or not! Topped with a delicious dairy free buttercream and easily made gluten free as well!
*Please note! The recipe has been further improved from the time the video was released! The written recipe is the latest adaptation. Enjoy!
- 1 cup (110 grams/mL) dairy-free milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) cake flour or sifted gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour (if doing gluten-free, add in 1 tsp arrowroot powder)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar or coconut sugar (see Notes)
- 1/4 cup (67 grams) vegan butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract + 1/8 tsp vanilla powder
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 cup (226 grams) vegan butter, softened (I recommend Flora Plant Butter)
- 2 (260 grams) cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2–3 tbsp dairy-free milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Plant-based sprinkles, optional
- Read through the instructions before beginning, and make sure to measure out all ingredients.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 12 cup-cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Prepare the vegan buttermilk by whisking together the dairy free milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. If using a stand mixer, make sure you’re using the whisk attachment. Otherwise, you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer.
- Make the cupcake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda until combined. Set aside. Add the vegan butter to a large bowl or a stand mixer bowl, along with the sugar. Use a hand mixer or the stand mixer to cream together until the sugar has almost dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add in the unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract (and optional vanilla powder), and cream again until combined. Sift in half of dry ingredients and half of the vegan buttermilk mixture, and use the stand mixer or hand mixer to mix together on medium speed. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture, and mix only until the dry ingredients have JUST combined.
- Bake the cupcakes: Use a large cookie scoop or a spoon to fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way full. Place the cupcake tin into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean. Another way to test this is the tops of the cupcakes should be lightly golden and the cupcake should spring back at a light touch.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely before making the vegan buttercream frosting.
- Make the vegan buttercream: When ready to frost, creamy the vegan butter until thick fluffy, and lighter in color; then sift in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, while beating the frosting. Add in 1-2 tbsp of dairy free milk to help the buttercream become more moveable rather than thick. Add in the vanilla extract and beat to combine.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes: Spoon the frosting into a piping bag with frosting tip, and frost each cupcake. Alternatively, you can smear the frosting on with a butter knife. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired and enjoy!
- Storage: Store any uneaten cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze these cupcakes unfrosted for up to 1 month.
Sugar:You can use coconut sugar in place of granulate sugar, just note that the cupcakes will be slightly darker in color, but still delicious!
Make ahead:To make one day ahead, prep the cupcakes by following steps 1-5 the day before. The next day, allow the vegan butter to come to room temperature and follow the remaining steps.
Please read through the blog post for all cupcake tips & tricks!
Keywords: vegan vanilla cupcakes, gluten free vanilla cupcakes, healthy cupcakes, vegan cupcakes, vegan cupcake frosting