Juicy and tart, these delicious vegan lemon cupcakes with a lemon drizzle syrup are easy to make and topped with a generous swirl of lemon buttercream.
🍴Why you will love this recipe
These pretty cupcakes really are 'easy-peasy lemon-squeezy' - a straightforward one-bowl cake recipe, with a lemon drizzle syrup and lemony buttercream for a triple hit of lemon!
Incredibly fluffy, light and moist - no-one will believe these cupcakes are vegan! Simple vegan substitutions of dairy-free butter, milk and yoghurt replace the eggs and dairy in a classic sponge recipe.
The cakes freeze well so you can make them ahead of time, then just defrost and add the buttercream when you want to serve them.
📝 What you need
Vegan yoghurt This works as an egg-replacer and keeps the sponge light and moist. Make sure you use an unsweetened plain yoghurt - ideally soya as it has the highest protein content so behaves most like egg, but oat or coconut will work fine too.
Vegan butter or block margarine is now widely available. I like Flora Plant Butter, Naturli block or Tomor block margarine. Don't use a tub of spread/margarine - the water content is too high to use in baking.
Lemons or lemon extract are all important here - you can choose to use the zest and juice of lemons as per the recipe, or you can also add a touch of lemon extract to the sponge mixture and buttercream for added flavour.
You can easily make these cupcakes in a large bowl with a hand whisk - something like this one from Morphy Richards at under £13 is ideal, and will be useful for so many other vegan baking recipes too.
I use my trusty food mixer - a KMix by Kenwood. I’ve had it for over 10 years now and it is really sturdy and good quality, making light work of cake mixes, bread dough and all sorts of baking tasks.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your vegan lemon cupcakes
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page 👇🏼.
Beat together then vegan butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add all the remaining cake ingredients and beat again.
Divide the cake mixture between the cupcake cases and bake for 15-18 minutes. Whilst they are cooling, prick the cakes all over with a cocktail stick.
Make the drizzle syrup and spoon it over each cake whilst they are still warm. Set aside to cool completely - ideally leave overnight in an airtight container. Make the lemon buttercream and pipe a generous swirl on each cake.
🔪 Top Tips & FAQs
Allow time to let the cakes 'rest' in an airtight container overnight before icing. This is the single best thing you can do to improve the texture of these and any vegan cakes. The moisture from the cakes spreads through the sponge and softens the crust of the cakes which can otherwise be a little crispy. Trust me - this makes a huge difference.
Beat the vegan butter and sugar for longer than you think. This adds such a lightness to the sponge.
Add the drizzle syrup when the cakes are still warm, so that it absorbs easily into the sponge.
Yes, the cakes freeze really well, but the buttercream doesn't. Make the cakes up to step 6 when you have added the drizzle syrup to the cakes, then when they are completely cool, freeze them, in an airtight bag or container. When you need to serve them, defrost them fully then pipe the buttercream on top.
Yes these work equally well with oranges or limes too. If you're using large oranges then use half the amount of juice in the buttercream.
🍽 If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 150 g dairy-free block margarine
- 225 g caster sugar
- 150 g dairy-free yoghurt unsweetened
- 150 ml dairy-free milk unsweetened
- 300 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 lemons for zest only (or 1 teaspoon lemon extract)
For the drizzle:
- 60 g icing sugar
- 1 lemon (for juice only - use one that you zested earlier)
For the lemon buttercream:
- 375 g icing sugar
- 200 g dairy-free margarine
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free milk unsweetened
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- In a food mixer or large bowl with electric whisk, beat together the block margarine and caster sugar for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add the yoghurt, milk, flour, bicarbonate of soda and lemon zest and beat again until fully combined.
- Divide the mixture between cake cases, (I find an ice-cream scoop the least messy way to do this!), then bake for 18-20 minutes until a knife or skewer inserted in one of the cakes comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the drizzle by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
- Whilst the cakes are still warm, prick them all over with a cocktail stick or skewer, then pour a teaspoon of drizzle over each cake, leaving it to sink into the sponge.
- If possible, put the cakes into an airtight tin or container and leave them overnight at this stage - it really improves their texture and moistness.
- Make the buttercream by beating the icing sugar, margarine, milk and lemon juice together until smooth.
- Pipe or smooth the icing over the top of each cake, and top each one with a little lemon zest for decoration. Enjoy!
Free 4-Week Vegan Meal Plan
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For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
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