Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

By Jessica Hylton -

Super Moist Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes are topped with a delicious homemade whipped buttercream frosting and colorful sprinkles! These light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes are perfect for birthdays, bake sales, and more.

Vegan vanilla cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles.

What Makes these the Best Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes?

Do you have a go-to baking recipe that is perfect for literally any occasion? For some people that’s their favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, or their fudgiest brownie recipe, but for me, it’s these Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes. I could right you a long list of reasons, or maybe even an essay, on why I love these vegan vanilla cupcakes. I’m really that passionate about them. However, I’m sure you’d like to get into the kitchen, so I’ll spare you and share this more concise list instead:

  • They’re Quick: You can have these vanilla cupcakes baked and frosted in just about 45 minutes. Also, most of these ingredients are pantry staples, so you whip them together on fairly short notice.
  • They’re Simple: No need to worry about picky eaters when you have these cupcakes on hand. After all, who can turn down a vanilla cupcake? They’re so classically delicious!
  • It’s a 2-Bowl Recipe: One for the cupcake batter and one for the buttercream frosting! Or, you can use one bowl total, and wash it in between ventures. Whatever you feel like doing. Either way, we’re cutting down on dishes today!
  • They Can Be Customized: Sprinkles. Vegan chocolate chips. Caramel sauce. Sliced Strawberries. The options are endless when it comes to add-ons – vanilla complements so many flavors! Get creative and have fun. 🙂
Ingredients for vegan vanilla cupcakes.

Notes on Ingredients

For the Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Vegan Buttermilk: Combine apple cider vinegar with soy milk (or other vegan milk) at room temperature to create a homemade vegan buttermilk! This gives the cupcakes an incredible texture. You could also use lemon juice.l
  • Sugar: Brown sugar or cane sugar both work really well in this recipe.
  • Flour: I like to use all-purpose flour, but you could try using gluten-free flour if needed.
  • Baking Soda: To help the cupcakes rise up nice and tall.
  • Salt: I like to use sea salt in these cupcakes.
  • Vegan Butter: Melted and cooled.
  • Vanilla Extract: They are vanilla cupcakes, after all!

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • Powdered Sugar: Add this in bit by bit so that it doesn’t fly everywhere. I recommend sifting it first.
  • Vegan Butter: Softened, see more info in the tips section.
  • Vanilla Extract: For extra sweet vanilla flavor.
  • Vegan Milk: This amount can be adjusted depending on how you want the texture of the frosting to turn out.
  • Sea Salt: Only add this if you’re using unsalted butter.
Three cupcakes with vanilla whipped buttercream frosting.

How to Make Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.

This is a great recipe to start with if you don’t do a lot of baking, because it’s so easy. First you’ll mix the cupcake batter together, and then while the cupcakes are baking/cooling, you’ll whip the frosting together. Finally you’ll decorate, and then you can treat yourself!

Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to make the best vegan vanilla cupcakes:

Preheat the Oven to 350°F/180°C: Line muffin cups with cupcake liners or foil bake cups.

Make the Vegan Buttermilk: In a small bowl or jar, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside.

Vegan buttermilk in a bowl.

Mix All Cupcake Ingredients Together: Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, melted butter and vanilla. Mix with a spatula or hand whisk for about 1 to 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated. Do not over-mix.

Fill the Cupcake Pan: Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners (about ½ full with batter). You can use an ice cream scoop to help! Tap the cupcake pan on the counter three times (lift and tap down slightly) to remove any excess air bubbles before baking.

Cupcake batter in a lined cupcake pan.

Bake the Cupcakes: Place the pan in the middle rack of your oven and in the center of that rack. Bake for 20-22 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the baking pan, and move the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Baked cupcakes in a cupcake pan.

Start on the Frosting: Beat the butter and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, until fluffy.

Beaten butter and vanilla.

Mix in the Powdered Sugar: Add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Fold it in with a spatula so it doesn’t fly everywhere, then beat for about 1 minute. Add the rest of the powdered sugar in small increments too, until fully incorporated.

Combine with the Milk: Add in a 1/2 tablespoon of vegan milk at a time until it reaches your preferred volume and consistency. Add that last ½ cup of powdered sugar if you desire. Beat the Frosting Together: Then beat for about 5 minutes, using the spatula to mix everything together every other minute, until the frosting is fluffy, white, smooth and creamy. Decorate and Enjoy: Frost cakes and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!

A vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting.

Tips for Success

There’s nothing too crazy going on in any of these steps, but in this case (and many others), simplicity equals deliciousness. Here are some more tips to simplify these vegan vanilla cupcakes even further:

  • How to Get Ultra-Moist Cupcakes: For an even more moist cake, brush with simple syrup before putting on the frosting!
  • Don’t Over-Mix the Batter: Just mix until all of the ingredients are combined. Over-mixing the batter can lead to a tough, dense texture in the cupcakes instead of a light and airy one.
  • Let the Cupcakes Cool Before Frosting Them: If they’re still warm from the oven, odds are they will begin to fall apart the moment you start frosting them. Let them cool completely to avoid that – you can even pop them in the fridge for a bit if you want to speed up the process.
  • Use Room Temperature Vegan Butter: When it’s too cold it doesn’t combine well with the powdered sugar, which results in lumpy frosting.
Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.

How to Store Cupcakes

My preferred way to store these homemade vegan vanilla cupcakes is to keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for 5-6 days. (I’ve never had them last that long, but hypothetically they could keep until that point!)

Can I Freeze These?

Yes! Freeze your completely cooled cupcakes in an airtight container for 2-3 months. I recommend freezing the frosting separately, and then thawing both components in the fridge when you’re ready to eat them again. That way you can enjoy freshly decorated cupcakes!

Enjoy friends! If you make these Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

Vegan vanilla cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles.

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Super Moist Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes are topped with a delicious homemade whipped buttercream frosting and colorful sprinkles! These light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes are perfect for birthdays, bake sales, and more.
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup soy milk or other vegan milk (240mL), room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar or cane sugar (200g)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (180g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (5g)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (1.4g)
  • cup vegan butter melted and cooled (75g)
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Buttercream Frosting

  • 3-3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegan butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegan milk add more if needed
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt but only if using unsalted butter
Instructions

Instructions

For the Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line muffin cups with cupcake liners or foil bake cups.
  • In a small bowl or jar, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside.
  • Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, melted butter and vanilla. Mix with a spatula or hand whisk for about 1 to 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated. Do not overmix.
  • Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners (about ½ full with batter). You can use an ice cream scoop to help! Tap the cupcake pan on the counter three times (lift and tap down slightly) to remove any excess air bubbles before baking.
  • Place the pan in the middle rack of your oven and in the center of that rack. Bake for 20-22 minutes until fully cooked. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the baking pan, and move the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • After cooled, frost with buttercream frosting and sprinkles (if you want). Enjoy!

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat the butter and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, until fluffy.
  • Add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Fold it in with a spatula so it doesn’t fly everywhere, then beat for about 1 minute. Add the rest of the powdered sugar in small increments too, until fully incorporated.
  • Add in a 1/2 tablespoon of vegan milk at a time until it reaches your preferred volume and consistency. Add that last ½ cup powdered sugar if you desire.
  • Then beat for about 5 minutes, using the spatula to mix everything together every other minute, until the frosting is fluffy, white, smooth and creamy.
  • Frost cakes and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!
NOTES
  • How to Get Ultra-Moist Cupcakes: For an even more moist cake, brush with simple syrup before putting on the frosting!
  • Don’t Over-Mix the Batter: Just mix until all of the ingredients are combined. Over-mixing the batter can lead to a tough, dense texture in the cupcakes instead of a light and airy one.
  • Let the Cupcakes Cool Before Frosting Them: If they’re still warm from the oven, odds are they will begin to fall apart the moment you start frosting them. Let them cool completely to avoid that – you can even pop them in the fridge for a bit if you want to speed up the process.
  • Use Room Temperature Vegan Butter: When it’s too cold it doesn’t combine well with the powdered sugar, which results in lumpy frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 417mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 1037IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
by Jessica

More Vegan Desserts to Try

Ready to try some more easy vegan dessert recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

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Recipe Rating




2 comments

  1. Raquel says:

    5 stars
    These cupcakes were so moist and had such an amazing texture! Since going vegan I’ve had a hard time finding the right ratios when baking and the taste and texture never seems to come out right. These were perfect and I can’t wait to make them again!

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