Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

While there are certainly occasions for elaborate desserts such as cream puffs, eclairs, or even a multi-layer black forest cake, sometimes you want something a bit simpler. In that moment, there's nothing more satisfying than a sweet and classic vanilla cupcake. The only problem? They typically contain eggs, milk, and butter, so they definitely don't fit into a vegan diet.

They don't fit into a vegan diet until now, that is. Free of any animal-derived ingredients, these vegan vanilla cupcakes, courtesy of recipe developer Molly Allen, have all of the great flavor and texture of vanilla cupcakes while still being appropriate for vegans. They're made with easy swaps like applesauce for eggs, coconut milk for regular milk, and vegan butter in the frosting. With just a few simple adjustments, you'll be well on your way to enjoying a vegan dessert in no time. Top them with your favorite sprinkles, or even drizzle them with a vegan caramel or chocolate sauce for an extra special treat. 

Gather the ingredients for vegan vanilla cupcakes

To dive in on making these cupcakes, grab all of the ingredients first. For this recipe, you'll need white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, applesauce, oil, coconut milk, pure vanilla extract, one stick of vegan butter, and powdered sugar.

Mix the dry ingredients

Ready to get to baking? First, preheat the oven to 350 F. Grab a large mixing bowl and add in the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients until they're well-combined and free of any large clumps. 

Finish the batter with the wet ingredients

Next up, finish the batter with the wet ingredients. Use a hand mixer to mix in the applesauce, oil, ½ cup of coconut milk, and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Mix the batter until just combined. 

Bake the cupcakes

With the batter ready, line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Divide the batter between the 12 cupcake wells. Place the cupcake pan in the oven and bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes. Once the tops are set and the cupcakes are lightly golden brown, remove them from the oven to fully cool. 

Top the cupcakes with vegan frosting

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the vegan vanilla frosting. Cream the stick of softened vegan butter in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer until fluffy. Mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar, along with 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Continue mixing the frosting ingredients, gradually adding in the remaining powdered sugar. Once the frosting comes together, turn the speed up on the mixer to whip the frosting until smooth and fluffy. 

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the prepared frosting. Top them with rainbow sprinkles, along with an edible flower garnish, if desired. Just like that, you have perfectly moist and flavorful cupcakes that are 100% vegan!

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
These vanilla cupcakes are moist and sweet, just like any good cupcake, except they're also completely vegan!
Prep Time
Cook Time
vegan vanilla cupcake on stand
Total time: 28 minutes
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk or almond milk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 stick vegan butter
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dry ingredients with a hand mixer. Be sure the mixture is free of any large clumps.
  3. Add in the applesauce, mix, and then add in the oil. Continue to mix, and then add in ½ cup of coconut milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  4. Prepare a cupcake pan by lining it with paper liners.
  5. Divide the batter between the cupcake pan. Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes until the tops are set and lightly golden brown. Once baked, remove the cupcakes and set them aside to cool.
  6. While the cupcakes cool, make the vegan frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream the vegan butter. Add in 2 cups of powdered sugar, mix, and then add in 2 tablespoons of remaining coconut milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Continue mixing, gradually adding in the rest of the powdered sugar until the mixture comes together. Whip the frosting until smooth.
  7. Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe each top with the prepared vegan vanilla frosting. Decorate the top of the cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles and edible flowers, if desired.
Calories per Serving 416
Total Fat 14.8 g
Saturated Fat 7.4 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 20.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 71.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Total Sugars 62.0 g
Sodium 101.4 mg
Protein 1.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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