Last updated on December 5th, 2022 at 10:08 am
Light, fluffy and so delicious, these vegan vanilla cupcakes might be the simplest cakes you ever make. Made in 4 easy steps, these tender cakes are perfect for birthdays or any celebration. Got 30-minutes? Then you've totally got time for this.
This recipe was originally posted 12 February 2019 and updated with process images and revised instructions March 31, 2021.
Why You'll Love These Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
While I love my vegan chocolate cupcake recipe and my pineapple cupcakes (they're just so lovely and Summery), there is something light and delicate about a vanilla cupcake. They are just so pretty! This is my favourite vanilla cake recipe. Wait, no...my vegan pound cake recipe is pretty good. Let's call it a tie?
The cakes are:
- Light and fluffy,
- So simple to make - you won't even need a hand-mixer
- Made from easy to find ingredients - you probably already have them all and
- Reliable - this is a simple recipe that just works.
What You'll Need
The ingredients for these vegan vanilla cupcakes are completely fuss-free. You probably already have them in your kitchen.
All-purpose flour. I use regular flour for these cakes but you could use cake flour for a super light and fluffy version. I prefer reaching in to my pantry and just grabbing some flour but if you have cake flour, feel free to use it. You can also use your favourite gluten-free flour.
Apple sauce. A natural binder for the cupcakes, apple sauce is light and deliciously sweet (but don't worry, the cakes won't taste like apple). If you don't have apple sauce, use the same amount of vegan yoghurt.
Vanilla. The star of the show! Use the best quality vanilla you have and make sure it's extract, not essence.
Oil. I use oil instead of butter in my cakes so often - see my vegan chocolate cake recipe. It makes for a really fuss-free recipe, just add and stir. The cakes emerge from the oven moist and delicious. Use a neutral flavoured oil like sunflower, vegetable or grapeseed oil.
Dairy-free milk. I find a thicker dairy-free milk works best for baking like soy, oat or cashew.
How To Make Vanilla Cupcakes
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Making these vegan vanilla cupcakes couldn't be simpler.
Step 1: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and the sugar.
Step 2: Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk to a thick batter. Don't over-mix!
Step 3: Fill lined a cupcake tray two-thirds of the way up with the batter and pop in the oven for 18-21 minutes.
Step 4: Remove from the oven to cool before frosting. So easy, right?
Whether you're celebrating a birthday or just need cake fast, these delicate vegan vanilla cupcakes are sure to please. Quick, easy and totally delicious they are the simplest of the simple cupcake recipes.
Tips For Making Perfect Cupcakes
Measure your ingredients properly either by weight or spoon your ingredients in to a measuring cup and level them off with the back of a knife.
Don't over-mix your batter. Whisk until the ingredients are combined and just smooth - over-mixing will give your rubbery cakes.
To avoid mess, transfer the batter to a pouring jug to fill the cupcake moulds.
Use an oven thermometer to get an accurate temperature.
Only fill your cake liner two-thirds of the way up. Cupcakes don't have a muffin top - they should sit in a dome just at the lip of the cupcake liner.
Use room temperature butter in the buttercream to avoid lumps.
Sift the icing sugar (confectioners sugar) before adding it to your buttercream to avoid lumps. Add it a cup at a time.
Totally. Bake the cakes, allow them to cool completely before freezing them in a freezer-proof container for up to 2 months. To thaw, remove them from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for a few hours. Frost the cakes now to serve.
Store the cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Yes! My favourite store-bought gluten-free flour is Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour. You could also try my homemade gluten-free flour mix - I use it in my coconut gluten-free vegan pancakes with banana. It's a great all-rounder.
You can. The batter will make an 8-inch round cake. Remember to line your pan well and bake the cake for 25-30 minutes.
There are a few possibilities for sinking cakes. 1. Did you peek? Cakes need enough time to rise and build structure underneath so they don't sink. Opening the oven too soon interrupts this structure-building process. 2. Your baking powder is no longer active. Baking powder is at its best for 3-months after opening. 3. Your oven is too hot meaning the cake will rise fast but may not get the time to develop structure underneath.
Ready to do some more baking? Try these other easy vegan baking recipes:
Want more plant based-goodness?
Simple Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
For the Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 and ¾ cups / 235g all-purpose flour use cake flour for an extra light cake
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cups dairy-free milk almond or soy work best
- 1 cup / 195g granulated sugar fine , I use raw caster sugar
- ⅓ cup / 80ml sunflower oil
- ¼ cup / 60ml apple sauce
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Vegan Buttercream Frosting
- ½ cup vegan butter room temperature
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar up to 3½ cups (sifted)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 2 tablespoon soy milk
For the Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 177° C (350° F) and line a 12 pan cupcake tray with cupcake liners (paper or silicon).
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the apple cider vinegar, dairy-free milk, sugar, oil, apple sauce, and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry and gently whisk until smooth. Don't over-mix or you'lll end up with rubbery cupcakes. Better a few lumps than to over-mix the batter.
- Spoon the batter in to each about ⅔ of the way up. I transfer my batter to a jug and pour them from there for less mess. I am a messy-Bessy so this is helpful.
- Pop the cakes in to the oven and bake for 19-23 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of a cake. Remove from the oven and after 10 minutes remove the cakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely.
For the Vegan Buttercream Frosting
- Add the butter to a stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) or a large bowl using a hand-mixer and cream it for 2 minutes on medium to high speed.
- Turn the mixer to low and one cup at a time, add the sifted icing sugar (confectioners sugar) to the butter, beating for around 3 to 5 minutes in between each cup. Add the vanilla, salt and dairy-free milk and continue to beat until thick and creamy. Add more sifted sugar if needed.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag (or a large zip lock bag with a corner snipped and a frosting nozzle fitted) and pipe on to the cakes once they are completely cooled.
- Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for 3 days.
- Measure your ingredients properly either by weight or spoon your ingredients in to a measuring cup and level them off with the back of a knife.
- Don't over-mix your batter. Whisk until the ingredients are combined and just smooth - over-mixing will give your rubbery cakes.
- Use an oven thermometer to get an accurate temperature.
- Only fill your cake liner two-thirds of the way up. Cupcakes don't have a muffin top - they should sit in a dome just at the lip of the cupcake liner.
- Use room temperature butter in the buttercream to avoid lumps.
- Sift the icing sugar (confectioners sugar) before adding it to your frosting a cup at a time.