Deliciously tender and fluffy vegan vanilla cupcakes with a decadent dairy free chocolate buttercream frosting that taste just like a classic vanilla cupcake recipe! Just one bowl and gluten free, no one will know that these cupcakes are vegan!
Your parties and celebrations just got so much more delicious with these easy and ultra tender 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!
Why these are the best vegan cupcakes
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.
Have I sold you yet? 😉
Vegan vanilla cupcake ingredients
So what is in these vegan cupcakes that makes them so incredibly delicious?!
For these vegan vanilla cupcakes, you’ll need:
- Cake flour or gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour (if using gluten free 1-to-1 flour, make sure to add in a teaspoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch to get that similar tender texture that comes from cake flour)
- Sugar or coconut sugar (coconut sugar will give these a more amber color rather than yellow, but still delicious!)
- Leavening agents
- Dairy free milk with apple cider vinegar (this creates a vegan buttermilk)
- Coconut oil
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Vanilla extract
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 equipment for vegan cupcakes
Of course, if you have a cake stand mixer (I just got one!) you can use that. 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.
Then if you’d like to get fancy like I do, and pipe the frosting on rather than smearing it (of course, you can smear the frosting on! It’ll still look beautiful!), then I recommend a pastry bag and frosting tip.
I use the Ateco 829 open star tip if you’d like to get the same frosting look as I do.
How to make vegan cupcakes in one bowl
I made a YouTube video on how to make vegan vanilla cupcakes if you like video tutorials like I do, but I promise making these healthy cupcakes is actually quite easy!
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 vanilla cupcake batter
One of the most important parts about the batter is that you whisk together the ingredients. I also recommend (read *strongly* recommend) sifting the flour before beginning.
This will ensure that the flour isn’t clumped, and the whisk will ensure that the dry mixture contains the leavening agents evenly distributed. The same holds true if you’re making vegan gluten free vanilla cupcakes instead of just vegan vanilla cupcakes.
Also, make sure that your wet ingredients are room temperature. This is imperative for baking, but even more so for vegan baking. Because vegan baking ingredients are not entirely 1-to-1 with more conventional baking, we need to make sure that we do everything we can to get them as close as possible to the outcome of those conventional ingredients.
This is done by using room temperature wet ingredients, such as vegan buttermilk, dairy-free yogurt, and unsweetened applesauce, for your vegan vanilla cupcake batter.
Once the batter is folded together, fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way full, and bake!
You’ll know when the cupcakes are ready by seeing if they’re lightly golden on top, and they spring back at a light touch.
Making a vegan buttercream
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.
Then of course, you can sprinkle on some vegan sprinkles to make your vegan vanilla cupcakes even more elegant!
Final cupcake tips, tricks, and FAQs
Sift the dry ingredients: I know I said this above, but it is imperative that you sift the flour, whether you’re making regular vegan cupcakes or gluten free vanilla cupcakes. This will give you that tender cupcake texture that will make anyone think these vegan cupcakes are anything but vegan!
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!
Can I make these gluten free? Yes! If you’d like to make gluten free vanilla cupcakes that are vegan, 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.
Refined sugar free? No problem: 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.
Don’t open the oven door! 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.
To ensure that your oven temperature remains even while you check on your cupcakes, simply turn on the oven light to see when they’re safe to remove!
Let the cupcakes sit in the cupcake tin for 15-20 minutes. This simple tip actually allows the cupcake liner to pull cleanly off the vegan vanilla cupcake!
Add in vanilla bean paste or pod seeds 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!
Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting! I mentioned this in the above section, but just make sure that your cupcakes are completely cool before frosting. You shouldn’t feel any warmth whatsoever when you touch the top. If it’s warm, you risk melting the vegan buttercream, which will slip and slide off the cupcake!
I hope that you absolutely adore these easy vegan vanilla cupcakes as much as I do! If you make them, be sure to leave a comment on how they went, as well as giving it a rating so that others may find this recipe.
Happy cupcake baking!
More healthy vegan cupcakes:
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If you make something from The Banana Diaries, I would love to see your creations! Make sure to leave a review in comments section, as well as giving it a rating so that others may find the recipe. Also, follow along with me on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook for more vegan recipe inspiration!Print
The BEST Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
Deliciously tender and fluffy vegan vanilla cupcakes with a decadent vegan buttercream frosting that taste absolutely heavenly! One bowl and gluten free, no one will know these vegan cupcakes are healthy!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 14 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
*Please note! The recipe has been further improved from the time the video was released! The written recipe is the latest adaptation. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar (see Notes)
- 1/4 cup vegan butter or coconut oil, softened
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- 1 cup dairy-free milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups 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
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups vegan butter, softened (I recommend Miyoko’s or Forager Project)
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup cacao powder
- 2–3 tbsp dairy-free milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Plant-based sprinkles, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 12 cup-cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- If using a stand mixer, make sure you’re using the whisk attachment. Otherwise, you can use a large bowl and a hand mixer.
- Add the softened coconut oil or vegan butter to a large bowl or a stand mixer, along with the unsweetened applesauce, sugar, and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer or the stand mixer to cream together until the sugar has almost dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add in the dairy free milk mixture and vanilla extract, and cream again until combined.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and use the stand mixer or hand mixer to cream together until all of the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Be sure not to over mix and simply mix until it becomes a batter.
- Use a large cookie scoop or a spoon to fill each cupcake liner about 1/2 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.
- When ready to frost, creamy the vegan butter until thick and fluffy, then sift in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, while beating the frosting. Add in cacao powder and continue to cream. 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.
- 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!
- Store any uneaten cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can use coconut sugar in place of granulate sugar, just note that the cupcakes will be slightly darker in color, but still delicious!
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.
Keywords: vegan vanilla cupcakes, gluten free vanilla cupcakes, healthy cupcakes, vegan cupcakes, vegan cupcake frosting