These deliciously light vegan gingerbread cupcakes with a generous swirl of cinnamon buttercream are a real taste of Christmas.
Look at the faces of those little gingerbread men.... they are drowning in cinnamon buttercream and loving it! What a way to go.
I seem to end up making lots of cupcakes around Christmas time - usually for cake sales and school bazaars, when everyone has already had one too many mince pies and we haven't yet cracked open the Christmas Cake.
If you are baking for a cake sale, you might also like to have a look at my Jammy Christmas Star biscuits which have had some lovely reviews recently, or how about my Vegan Chocolate Yule Log with chestnut buttercream filling? Totally delicious.
📝 What you need
Dairy-free butter or margarine I like to use block margarine for baking, my favourite is the newly released Flora Plant Butter or the delicious Naturli block 'butter' if you can find it.
Dairy-free yoghurt and milk Soya yoghurt and milk work best in baking as they have the highest protein content so are the best replacement for eggs. But, if you are soya intolerant then coconut or oat yoghurt and any type of plant milk will also work well.
Spices I've used ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice for a really Christmassy flavour, but have been fairly conservative with the quantities as they were for kids. When you've tried these yourself you may decide to play around with the spice ratios for a bolder flavour.
For the buttercream:
Dairy-free butter or margarine Whatever type of 'butter' you choose, it needs to be really soft (but not melted) to get a really good buttercream.
Sugars I've added a little soft brown (muscavado) sugar to give a lovely butterscotch flavour to complement the cinnamon. It also makes the buttercream a beautiful pale brown colour which I think looks even more appetising!
Mini Gingerbread Men I used Organix mini gingerbread men (which I found in the baby food aisle in the supermarket!) as my kids love them. But there are many to choose from in most supermarkets, or you could make your own if you're really keen!
👩🏽🍳 Expert tips: Vegan Christmas Cupcakes
There are a number of little things that make quite a big difference in these vegan Christmas cupcakes, and I've listed them here. You can ignore them all and still turn out a really good bake, but I find these tweaks turn a good cake into a really excellent one!
- Store overnight in an airtight container This makes a really big difference to the softness and texture of vegan bakes. When they come out of the oven and cool, dairy-free cakes develop a bit of a crispy crust on the outside. But for some reason (and I don't know the science behind this), if you put them in a sealed cake tin or tupperware overnight, the moisture is drawn out from the cake into the crust and they become beautifully soft and moist throughout. I know there's not always time to do this but if you do get a chance you will see exactly what I mean - it is magic!
- Use a block vegan margarine (not a tub) This is another tip that will transform your baking. Tubs of vegan margarine have quite a high water content which makes them much more spreadable, but not so good for baking. I tend to use either Flora Plant Butter, Stork Baking Block or Naturli Block which are all really excellent and make a perfect buttery bake.
- Get the cakes in the oven as quickly as possible As vegan bakes tend to use a little more raising agent, it starts to work as soon as it hits the liquid, and creates bubbles in the cake mixture. You do want this to happen, but you want it to happen a) more slowly, so they stay small, and b) in the oven, not on your worktop. SO, two tips in one here - firstly give your filled cake tin a good bash on the work surface before putting it in the oven. This pops the biggest bubbles and brings them to the surface, so the texture of the cake will be more even. Also, as soon as the liquid and flour/bicarb are mixed, time is ticking - get the cake into the tin and in the oven as quickly as you possibly can. If you've forgotten to pre-heat the oven, or the phone or doorbell rings half way through your baking session - just don't mix the wet and dry ingredients until you're totally ready to go.
- Beat lots of air into the 'butter' and sugar Vegan bakes in particular need lots of air to keep very light and sponge-y. It is tempting to mix the butter and sugar until they are just, well, mixed together. But in fact you need to keep going for 2-3 minutes at least, (using a food mixer or electric hand whisk). In that time it will transform from a yellow-ish fairly thick mixture into a very pale, light and soft consistency.
- Check the dates on your self-raising flour and bicarbonate of soda It is easy to forget that flour and bicarb do have a limited shelf life - especially if baking is something you don't do so regularly. It isn't that they will be inedible or bad for you, but just that their raising properties will become limited, which will ultimately result in a flatter, more stodgy bake.
⭐️ Reader Testimonials
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Made these yesterday and delivered them to friends and relatives today. There are so light and delicious. I’ve decided that this will be my go to muffin recipe from now on. Thank you 😊 " Katherine
🍽 If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
Vegan Christmas Cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream
For the gingerbread cupcakes:
- 150 g dairy-free margarine
- 225 g caster sugar
- 150 g dairy-free yoghurt
- 150 ml dairy-free milk
- 300 g self-raising flour
- 1.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
For the cinnamon buttercream:
- 200 g dairy-free margarine
- 200 g icing sugar
- 50 g soft light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 12 mini gingerbread men to decorate
- Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
- Beat together the margarine and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the yoghurt and milk, (don't panic - it will look 'curdled' at this stage but it really doesn't matter!).
- Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt into the bowl and fold in gently to avoid knocking out any of the air.
- Divide the cake mixture between the 12 cake cases and bake for 18-20 minutes until an inserted skewer or knife comes out clean. Leave to cool.
- To make the buttercream, beat the margarine until fully softened. Sieve in the sugars and cinnamon, (especially important to sieve the light brown sugar which may otherwise be lumpy). Beat until pale and fluffy.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, (ideally store them overnight in a sealed tin or tupperware and decorate the following day). pipe on the buttercream, and stand a mini gingerbread man up on top of each cake. Finish by sprinkling a tiny pinch more cinnamon over each cupcake.
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