Healthy lemon cupcakes with a tangy vegan lemon curd filling and a fancy cake top. A simple cupcake recipe that produces the fanciest of cupcakes. And neither the lemon curd nor the cupcakes use eggs or oil.
Healthy lemon cupcakes that are soft and tangy, and easy to make with fresh lemon juice for a bright citrus flavor. Like my vegan vanilla cupcakes, and in fact all my cake and cupcake recipes they are dairy-free and egg-free for a lighter, fluffier texture.
Why You'll Love These
Fluffy texture & tangy lemon flavor: The fluffy texture is easy to create with my easy steps and tricks, and the lemon flavor comes from using fresh lemon juice and zest in the batter.
They are vegan & gluten-free: These cupcakes are vegan with an easy gluten-free flour option. The light and lemony texture comes about using oat flour, and lemon juice. I filled them here with my vegan lemon curd also made without eggs and butter.
Flour: I used a mix of all purpose and oat flour. The oat flour really helps bring out the lemon flavor, and almost adds a muffin-like quality to the cupcake. But if you only have all purpose flour on hand, you can use all all purpose flour.
Sugar: I used organic cane sugar
Lemon juice & zest: I used organic bottled, but of course fresh would be great if you want to take the time to juice. You'll need a fresh lemon for zest of course.
Milk: You can use any milk. You'll be adding lemon juice to it to activate it.
Supporting ingredients: Baking soda, baking powder, vanilla .
Aquafaba: Instead of eggs, I use aquafaba which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Or you can use unsweetened applesauce.
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Steps to Make
Step 1. Prep your pans, grind your sugar, stir lemon juice into your milk; be sure your chickpea can or aquafaba is at room temperature and measure it out, test your baking soda and powder.
Step 2. Add dry ingredients to a sifter and set that over a mixing bowl and push the dry ingredients through into the bowl.
Step 3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture.
Step 4. Bake, cool, and assemble or just frost!
Step by Step Instructions
For more detail, visit the complete recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are general steps.
Step 1: Let your cupcakes cool.
Step 2: The cut a cone out of the middle. Slice off the cone's tip so you are left with a cupcake disc that is cupcake crust on one side, and cake on the other. Set that aside.
Step 3: Fill a frosting bag full of lemon curd. Use that to fill the cone hole in the cupcake and then let the filling create a dome above the top of the cupcake.
Step 4: Press the cupcake disc on top, and dust with powdered sugar.
Keep curd-filled cupcakes refrigerated uncovered for 2 days. Freeze the cupcakes unfilled.
1. A trick for a fluffier cake texture. This is not required, but it makes a difference if you have the time. Grind your cane sugar for 30 seconds in your blender or food processor. It works because ground cane sugar dissolves faster in the batter. Do not use powdered sugar as a short-cut, it will not work and is not the same.
2. Test your baking powder and soda to be sure they are active. This might seem tedious or obvious, but vegan cakes depend so heavily on both the powder and soda to help it rise, that I always test mine before any bake.
To test if baking powder is still working, pour ¼ cup boiled water over ½ teaspoon baking powder. If it bubbles up, it's still active, if it doesn't, it isn't and you it won't work to raise your baked goods.
To test if baking SODA is still working, put ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice or ACV over ½ teaspoon baking SODA. If it bubbles up, it's still active, if it doesn't, it isn't and you it won't work to raise your baked goods.
3. Sift all the dry ingredients using a fine mesh sieve.
The secret to moist cupcakes is to add enough aquafaba, activated milk and sugar.
Here I put Homemade Lemon Curd, but my Fluffy White Frosting would work as well. You can also just top these cupcakes with powdered sugar because they are so full of flavor they really don't need frosting.
Cupcakes made dairy free and egg free depend on baking soda and activated milk, as well as sugar to become light and fluffy. That's why the activated milk is important. The sugar creates a chemical reaction with protein as well, so grinding it creates more surface area for that reaction to take place, resulting in a cloud-like lemon cupcake.
More Lemon Recipes
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Healthy Lemon Cupcakes
- 6 tablespoon aquafaba or applesauce
- ½ cups dairy free milk
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
Lemon Curd Filling
- 1 batch vegan lemon curd recipe Find my lemon curd recipe here
- All ingredients need to be a room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Add the lemon juice to the milk, stir and set aside.
- Line baking containers with parchment and/or grease and flour.
- Prepare the aquafaba. Measure out the liquid from a can of beans and set aside.
Add wet ingredients + sugar
- Add the wet ingredients to a large bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved and the texture is creamy.1 cup organic cane sugar, 2 tablespoon lemon zest, 6 tablespoon aquafaba, ½ cups dairy free milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Add dry ingredients through a sieve
- Add all the dry ingredients into the wet mixture through a fine mesh sieve.1 cup all purpose flour, 1 ¼ cups oat flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
Bake the cupcakes
- Fill each cupcake well about ⅔ full. Bake the cupcakes at 14 minutes.
Cooling & storage
- Cool cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack.
Fill with lemon curd
- To make filled lemon cupcakes, cut a triangle out of the top of each cupcake. Level that cutout by remove the bottom so you have a disc.
- Fill cupcake with my cooled lemon curd, allowing the filling to mound up at the top.1 batch vegan lemon curd recipe
- Set the cupcake cutout on top and dust with powdered sugar.