These deliciously light vanilla vegan cupcakes are so good no one will ever guess they are vegan! Topped with a generous swirl of fluffy vegan buttercream.
So it seems you're all hungry for vegan cake recipes, (and I don't blame you!) - my Vegan Victoria Sponge, Vegan Coffee & Walnut Cake and Vegan Carrot Cake are consistently amongst my most popular posts, with readers tagging me in their cake photos on instagram, asking me advice on Facebook, and tweeting their approval when they have tasted the finished product. Thanks so much - hearing from you and seeing your creations makes blogging worthwhile!
And because you like cake almost as much as I do, here's a new recipe for some in incredibly light, moist and fluffy Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes. These taste every bit as good as they look - I know I say it a lot, but I promise no one will ever guess these are vegan. Just take them casually into the office or school cake sale and watch people's faces when they find out they have just eaten a vegan cake..... mwahahaha!
As with most of my sponge cake recipes, I've used a combination of dairy-free yoghurt and dairy-free milk to replace the eggs. It sounds weird I know, and like it couldn't possibly work, but trust me, it does!
And of course dairy-free margarine is a super-simple butter replacement both in the sponge and in the buttercream. There are some top tips below for choosing the very best ingredients to make these little cupcakes as light and moist as possible.
What you need to make your Vegan Cupcakes
Dairy-free margarine Make sure you use a good-quality block margarine, rather than a tub of spread. My favourites are the new Flora Plant Butter or Naturli Block. A block margarine has a far lower water content than spread, which is so much better for baking.
Dairy-free yoghurt I use unsweetened soya yoghurt for baking - it has a much higher protein content than other plant yoghurts, so is the best egg replacer. However if you can't or don't want to use soya, a good unsweetened oat or coconut yoghurt will also work well.
Dairy-free milk Again, I use unsweetened soya due to its protein content, but any plant milk will work well.
Self-raising flour If you don't have any self-raising flour to hand, don't panic - you can make your own! Just use 300g plain flour with 4 tsp baking powder. (You will still also need the bicarbonate of soda listed in the recipe).
Vanilla extract Use the best quality vanilla extract that you can - it really makes a difference to the flavour.
Vegan Cupcakes: 3 Top Tips
Here are a few tips I find make a big difference to my vegan baking:
1. Before icing, store the cakes overnight in an airtight tin or tupperware. This is the single thing that you can do to make your vegan cakes into showstoppers. Due to the chemistry of a vegan cake, they tend to develop a bit of a crispy crust as they cool from the oven. If you store them overnight in an airtight container, the moisture from the middle of the cake works its way to the edges and the whole cake becomes moist and soft, and the crispy edges turn deliciously soft. Try it, it works!
2. Beat lots of air into your 'butter' and sugar. It is tempting to mix the butter and sugar until they are, well, mixed. But in fact you want to mix them long and hard until they are pale, soft and fluffy. In the absence of eggs, this step really does give your cakes a boost so don't hold back. A good food mixer really helps - I leave mine on for 2-3 minutes at this stage, which feels like an age, but the results are worth it.
3. Use good quality ingredients. I've mentioned above about block margarine - that will make a big difference. But also make sure everything is fresh and in date. Did you know that bicarbonate of soda and self raising flour have use-by dates? Their efficiency at giving your cakes their rise drastically reduces after that time, so don't be tempted to use that decade-old bag of flour lurking at the back of the cupboard - chuck it and buy a new one!
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For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
"Brilliant! Chock full of easy recipes and great tips and advice" Hello! Magazine
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Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 150 g dairy-free margarine
- 225 g caster sugar
- 150 g dairy-free yoghurt (I used plain soya)
- 150 ml dairy-free milk (I use soya or oat)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g self-raising flour
- 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the buttercream:
- 185 g dairy-free margarine
- 375 g icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp dairy-free milk
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan) / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4. Prepare a 12-hole muffin tray by lining each hole with a paper muffin case.
- In a food mixer or large bowl beat together the margarine and sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the yoghurt, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and fold in slowly until just combined.
- Divide the mixture between the 12 cake cases, then bake for 15-18 minutes until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack, and if possible leave in an airtight container overnight to ice the following day.
- In a food mixer or large bowl, beat together the margarine and icing sugar, add the vanilla extract and milk and beat again until pale and fluffy. If the buttercream is a little stiff, add a few drops more milk and beat again.
- Pipe a generous swirl of buttercream on the top of each cupcake.