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Everyone loves a classic sweet treat and these Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes fit the bill! They are tender, fluffy, and simply irresistible! Make them for parties, potlucks, or when you just want something sweet and simple. They are so easy to whip up and they bake in just 20 minutes!
If you love simplicity and sweets, then these Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes might be for you! They are a favorite recipe from my dessert collection and my go-to for celebrations or when someone needs a pick-me-up.
They bring smiles every time! Especially, with a tall cold glass of cashew milk or chocolate hazelnut milk.
You can enjoy them plain, topped with fresh fruit, jam, or your favorite frosting. I topped these with my homemade Vegan Buttercream Frosting but they go well with my Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting or Vegan Chocolate Frosting. They are perfect with vegan sprinkles, too!
️🌟 This is a quick overview with step-by-step photos. For the complete ingredient amounts and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card below.
- Soy Milk - it yields a consistency that is very similar to dairy buttermilk when vinegar is added. You can use any non-dairy milk, just note that it won't thicken much, but the recipe will still work.
- Sugar - any brand that is organic will ensure that it's vegan and not filtered through bone char.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - If you don't have it, you can use fresh lemon juice.
- Canola Oil - I had the fluffiest results with canola, but any neutral-flavored oil will work such as avocado, sunflower, grapeseed, vegetable oil, or refined coconut oil (measure coconut oil in its liquid state).
- Vanilla Extract - pure extract tastes the best, but you can use imitation vanilla.
- Apple Sauce - it yields a tender and moist crumb. You can also use plain non-dairy yogurt. I like the So Delicious brand.
- Vegan Butter - This is used for the frosting of your choice. I highly recommend using stick butter for successful results. The tub variety is softer and contains more moisture.
How to make the best Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
Once you have your ingredients prepped, you're ready to go. This is what you will need to do.
- Whisk the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together in a medium sized bowl.
- Add the oil, applesauce, vanilla extract, and sugar. Whisk to combine well.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine well.
- Now add the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients.
- Whisk gently until just combined.
- Pour mixture into each liner evenly about half way full.
- Place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes until lightly golden. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.
Tips and Tricks
Your vegan vanilla cupcakes will turn out perfectly if you follow the recipe exactly. Here are some tips to help you along.
- For uniform results, make sure to fill the liners evenly with batter.
- If your oven runs too hot/cool, it can yield undesired results. I highly recommend an oven thermometer to ensure the temp is accurate.
- Let the cupcakes completely cool before frosting them. If you're using sprinkles, add them right away after frosting so they stick well.
- Don't overfill the liners or the batter will spill out and stick to the pan.
- Avoid scooping flour directly from the container using a measuring cup. Instead, use a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level excess off using a butter knife. Avoid packing or tapping flour into the cup.
- Don't overmix the batter or too much gluten will develop, resulting in dense and chewy cupcakes.
- Don't overbake or the cupcakes will turn out dry. Check for doneness around the 20-minute mark.
- Use room-temperature ingredients. Warm ingredients will bond together much easier and yield a smooth batter. This will help maintain the proper structure while baking.
Cupcakes are freshest the same day, but they will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature. Store them in an airtight container without frosting. You can also store them in the fridge the same way for 3-5 days, with or without frosting.
YES! They freeze beautifully for about 2-3 months without frosting. Just wrap them individually in wax paper in an airtight container or Ziploc to keep them fresh. To thaw, leave them out at room temp for 20-30 minutes.
The type of cupcake pan you use can yield varied results depending on the material. Even the color of the pan will yield different results. So, it's best to find one suited for your preference.
Here is an informative article sharing Expert Tips for Bakers. It explains the difference between materials and color. I prefer to use this high-quality Aluminized Steel Pan for wonderful results.
More vegan cupcake recipes to try
If you love cupcakes, you may want to try a few more of my tried and true vegan cupcake recipes.
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Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 ¾ cups cake flour (sub all-purpose)
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup soy milk or preferred milk
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (sub fresh lemon)
- ⅓ cup canola oil or any neutral-flavored oil (avocado, sunflower, etc.)
- ¼ cup applesauce , unsweetened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Frosting (choose your favorite)
- 12 Cupcake Liners
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- Preheat oven to 350 ° F (177 ° C). Place 12 muffin liners in a standard muffin pan.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together. Set aside about 5-7 minutes to create vegan buttermilk (it will thicken and curdle slightly).
- Now add the oil, applesauce, vanilla extract, and sugar to the buttermilk. Whisk to combine well.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine well.
- Now add the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk gently until just combined. Don't overwork the batter or it can cause dense and chewy cupcakes that won't rise well.
- Pour mixture into each liner evenly about ½ the way full (an ice cream scoop works great for this). Don't overfill.
- Place in the oven on the middle rack for 18-22 minutes until lightly golden. To check for doneness, lightly press the surface - It should spring back.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let them cool for 5-10 minutes before touching. Now gently remove the cupcakes and transfer them to a cooling rack. Let completely cool before decorating with frosting.
- You may have batter leftover for 1-2 more cupcakes. I usually toss the remaining because you can't let it sit for too long due to the vinegar activating in the batter. If you want to bake the leftover, you can use a 6-slot muffin tin and bake at the same time as the larger one.
- If your oven runs too hot/cool, it can yield different results. I highly recommend an oven thermometer to ensure the temp is accurate.
- Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are not expired. Fresh baking agents are important for a successful baking experience
- Measuring Flour: For accurate results, don’t scoop the flour with a measuring cup directly from the flour container. Instead, scoop the flour out of your container with a spoon and then into a measuring cup. Don’t pack or tap the cup. After filling, lightly sweep a butter knife across the top to remove the excess flour.
- Yields 12-14 cupcakes.
- Nutritional info doesn't include frosting. This will vary depending on which one you choose. The information will be on that recipe card.
Can I use this recipe for a cake? If so, are there any different instructions or cooking time?
Do you think I could sub unsweetened applesauce for the 1/4 cup of oil? If so should I alter any other ingredients?
Hi Emily, I haven't tried an oil-free version yet. I'm afraid to take a guess at ingredients and amounts because it may not turn out for you. I'd love to hear how they turn out if you give them a try 🙂
I made these cupcakes for a birthday and they were better than my standard non vegan.. thanks so much for making it easy to cater for vegans
Hi Angela, so happy to hear this! Thank you for making them 🙂