The Best Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

So here it is. This is my recipe for the most perfect, bestest in the westest, (and eastest) vegan cupcake… Strike that. This is my idea of the most perfect cupcake. Period. Vegan or not, this is a damn good cupcake. When I served these to a group of strangers, one girl declared that it was the best cupcake she had ever eaten… and then I told her it was vegan. Surprised? Grin.

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I came up with this recipe after doing a Vegan Vanilla Cupcake Off where I compared the 3 top vegan cupcake recipes to each other to determine which one was the winner.  The results were that there were no clear winners, so I had to do the only logical thing I could think of.  Make batch after batch of cupcakes, until I made my own winner. This recipe is everything I look for in a cupcake, light fluffy, sweet-vanilla deliciousness, simple to make, and even simpler to eat.

I guarantee… ooo risky, but I’m gonna do it, I GUARANTEE that if you make these cupcakes, that they not only will be devoured, but not a single soul will know they are vegan without being told so.

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Preheat your oven for 350 F (180C). Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners, or lightly grease the pan.

In a big bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.

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In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.

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Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk that up. Whisk until the batter just comes together, don’t over mix it or your cupcakes will be sad cakes.

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Evenly divide batter among the  liners. Bake 18-20 minutes until the tops are slightly golden.

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Like this. Omnomnom.

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To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer. Wait until the cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting. Use a piping bag, a butter knife or just a plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner to frost your cakes.

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The Best Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1¼ Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup plus ⅓ Cup White Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • ⅔ Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or other Non-Dairy Milk)
  • ⅓ Cup Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider or White Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Frosting:
  • ¼ Cup Non-Hydrogenated Shortening (I used Earth Balance Shortening)
  • ¼ Cup Vegan Margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Almond Milk (or other Non-Dairy Milk)
  • Sprinkles for decoration (optional)
*Makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes… Unless you are one of those people who like more frosting than cake. (Hey, I don’t judge!). In which case you might want to double the recipe. If you have leftovers you can always freeze it in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours before you want to use it.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven for 350 F (180C). Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners, or lightly grease the pan.
  2. In a big bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.
  4. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk that up. Whisk until the batter just comes together, don’t over mix it or your cupcakes will be sad cakes.
  5. Evenly divide batter among the liners.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes until the tops are slightly golden.
  7. To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer. Wait until the cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting.
  8. Use a piping bag, a butter knife or just a plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner to frost your cakes.

Bon Appetgan

Sam.

 

Comments

  1. Gigi says

    hi! I was wondering if i can use 1/2 a cup of Earth balance butter instead of 1/4 earth balance butter + 1/4 earth balance shortening :)

    • says

      Hi Gigi,
      You can, but the results will be a much softer frosting, that may melt a bit depending on the temperature. Adding the shortening helps stiffen and strengthen the frosting. If you want to go for it anyways, keep your ingredients cold. Make sure to frost the cupcakes only when they are 100% cool, and keep the cupcakes in a cool place once frosted (if you don’t eat them all immediately). Enjoy!

  2. Sydney says

    I tried a regular cake recipe last night, but with substitutions The end result was a cake so bland and dense that I had to throw it away. The logical part of my brain finally clicked into thinking, maybe I should just look up a vegan recipe. All of the other ones I found said they had a “deliciously dense cake” which I didn’t want, I wanted a normal, light fluffy cake. I made these after seeing the good reviews. I’ll be giving them to a large group of omnivores this afternoon, for Valentine’s Day.

    • says

      That’s wonderful Sydney! Yes, I love dense cakes too, but sometimes that’s just not what you are looking for, especially for a vanilla cupcake in my mind. So glad you found the recipe, I hope everyone loves them. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • says

      Hmm…. I haven’t perfected the recipe yet, but I would try adding 1/3 cup cocoa powder to the dry, and adding 1/3 cup of non-dairy milk, or water to the wet. I’m not 100% sure they will be awesome though as I will have to work on the recipe. So no guarantees! But if you try them let me know how they work out.

  3. JA says

    Hi Samantha
    Just discovered your site & baked your vanilla cupcakes. (I’m on a quest to make the ultimate vegan vanilla cake). I thought this was a good recipe but a tad too sweet for me, so I’ll dial back the sugar next time. BTW do you think this recipe could be made gluten free? Didn’t make the icing this go round as I wanted to perfect the cupcake before moving on. Thanks again for a solid cupcake recipe.

    • says

      Thank you so much JA. I think you should be able to cut back on the sugar without changing the recipe too much. I am not very experienced with gluten free cooking, but I know one of my favourite vegan chefs Chloe Coscarelli will use a gluten free all purpose flour and add 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum for a batch of cupcakes. I haven’t tried this myself yet, so I don’t know how good well it works out. If you try let me know how it goes.

  4. Anonymous says

    These are baking now! I’m making these for my cousin’s birthday, she’s not vegan but I am! :) I filled each case 2/3 full, but was only able to make 9 cupcakes! I scraped the bowl as well. Perhaps my 2/3 gauge is a little off. Can’t wait to see how they come out!

  5. Drewbie says

    Made these today for my wifes Thirtieth birthday. These were super easy and very tasty. I used half the oil and added applesauce to shave a few calories. Thanks for the great recipe and I am bookmarking your page! We fed them to five omnivores and they had no clue they were vegan.

    • says

      Haha! I love tricking omnivores. It’s ridiculous to me when people think vegan baked good would taste gross… Because I know so many people that like their cupcakes to taste like egg? Don’t think so! So happy you love the cupcakes and that your alterations worked too. Thanks for coming back and leaving your review Drewbie!

    • says

      Hi Jen! Hmmm this should be no problem. I have heard other people have tried this with success. One recipe for these cupcakes (12 cupcakes worth), should make 1 layer of 2″x8″ cake. Make sure you fill the cake pan about half to two thirds full, but not more full than that, so it doesn’t overflow in the oven. The temperature of the oven should be the same but you will probably have to cook it longer, maybe 25 minutes? Just keep an eye on it and you will know its done when a tooth pick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let me know how it turns out for you. Enjoy! :)

  6. Terese says

    Loved the cupcakes. My daughter is the vegan and we made these cupcakes together. She brought them to school and they were a big hit. Thanks!!

  7. Rosie says

    Every time I bake these cupcakes the rim around them turns out to be hard, while the rest of the cupcake is perfectly baked. Is there something that I’m doing wrong?

    • says

      Hmmmm… It may be that your oven runs a little hot, or is extra hot at the top. You could try moving the cupcakes to a lower rack or try reducing the temperature a bit. My cupcakes to get a bit chewy around the edges after a day or two but they should be soft and fluffy when they are fresh. Let me know if that helps!

  8. lydia says

    I was so excited when I came across this recipe! I need bday cupcakes for my little guy with egg allergies. They look great and the ingredients is easy and on hand. When I added my wet to dry there was not enough to make the batter smooth. It was more like dough. I followed exactly… any tips. The final products were flat, hole down the middle but were light and what I could salvage out of the liner was good. Can you confirm the sugar was 1/2 and 1/3 cup! Thank you! Yours look awesome!!

    • says

      Hi lydia. Oh no! That’s such a bummer. I’m pretty sure the recipe is correct. I have followed my own recipe multiple times (yep I do that) and have heard of others successfully making these cupcakes. It’s sounds like there wasn’t a problem with the sugar quantity but the dry to wet ratio. Could you have perhaps forgot or miss-measured a wet ingredient? Or added too much flour? When you mix the wet and dry the batter should be soft and light. Let me know how it goes. :)

  9. Jess says

    hey I find the apple cider vinegar flavour rather overpowering, it takes away from the vanilla flavour even when I cut back on it, is there something else that can be used instead? I imagine it’s to activate the baking soda and help the muffins rise and become fluffy, would it be possible to substitute baking powder which already has an activating agent, or add cream of tartar instead?

    • says

      Hi Jess!
      Huh. I find that the apple cider vinegar flavour cooks right out and you can’t taste it all. Apple cider is usually very mild, and also has health benefits which is why I opt for it, but you could use any vinegar. Try finding one that has the least amount of flavour or try lemon juice. You’re right it’s about the acidity, think volcano experiment from science project days. The reaction makes the cupcakes light and fluffy.

    • Anonymous says

      Maybe a citrus juice such as lemon, lime, or orange would give the needed acidity???? It would probably be tasty too!

    • says

      Nope not at all! It acts like normal frosting. If it was very hot it might melt, but my cupcakes hang out on the counter for a few days perfectly happy… If they last that long. Haha

    • itdoesnttastelikechicken says

      Yes, absolutely. Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar will work just fine. Just don’t use balsamic…gross! Haha.

      • Angela says

        Haha. I am currently baking with balsamic vinegar as that’s the only one I have in the house ;)
        It’s the vinegar I use for my legendary chocolate cupcakes ;)
        I shall let you know how it goes but the batter tasted great hahaha

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