Fluffy and tender easy vegan vanilla cupcakes made with 8 ingredients are prepared in a single bowl. Dairy free, oil free, and easy to make, this recipe will give you a delicious healthier cupcake with bakery-quality results.
These simple vegan vanilla cupcakes are perfect for a birthday party or a boring Friday night, with a soft texture and a strong vanilla flavor while also being the perfect blank canvas for fun toppings. You don't need eggs and dairy to achieve a beautiful cake texture, the proof is also in my fluffy vegan vanilla cake recipe that has a huge following!
Top with my this healthy cupcake with bright white frosting, or my vegan buttercream or even my deeply chocolatey fudge frosting. These are the vanilla twin of my chocolate cupcakes; bake both and create your own Georgetown Cupcake party box.
Why You'll Love These
Fluffy texture. I am a big fan of replacing eggs and oil with a vegetable or applesauce that can achieve that fluff factor without the heaviness. In my chocolate cupcakes , my hot chocolate cupcakes and even my healthy chocolate cake, I use pumpkin puree or sweet potato puree instead of eggs. That addition would turn my vanilla cupcakes orange, so here I use yogurt. Yogurt helps achieve a fluffy crumb, but also provides a dreamy moist texture.
Incredible vanilla flavor. These cupcakes have a strong vanilla flavor, as they should being vanilla cupcakes. Use the highest quality vanilla you can obtain, either extract, paste or powder.
What Makes Them Healthier?
These cupcakes are lighter and healthier than the classic vanilla cupcake; they are also vegan, dairy free, egg free and can be gluten free with a gluten free flour. Here are three reasons this healthy vanilla cupcake is healthier.
1. Egg-free, free of butter and oil. You'll use yogurt and apple sauce instead of eggs and butter.
2. Buttermilk helps it rise. Milk and lemon juice makes buttermilk and this helps bind the cupcake texture as eggs would.
All purpose flour. For gluten-free, use your favorite gluten free baking flour.
Organic cane sugar. Any white sugar works, but organic cane sugar tastes better.
Yogurt. Use a high fat yogurt, such as almond or cashew. Or you can use butter (⅓ cup)(76g). Melt it in a microwave for 10 minutes.
Applesauce. Use unsweetened applesauce instead of eggs. Applesauce works as a good binder in baking but it is high in pectin, a starch that acts as a thickening agent in food.
Milk. Any milk will do. I used almond milk at room temperature.
Lemon juice. Add this to the milk to create an acidic reaction that interacts with baking soda to give the rise that eggs do.
Vanilla. Use vanilla extract or vanilla paste if you can.
Leavener. Use baking soda, baking powder and a pinch of salt.
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Steps to Make
Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for measurements. Here is an overview of general steps on how to make these cupcakes.
Step 1: Let the yogurt come to room temperature. Preheat oven. Add paper cups to pan. Add the lemon juice to the milk so it has 5 minutes to curdle.
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine sugar and wet ingredients including butter, sugar, curdled milk, and vanilla. Mix until you feel fairly sure the sugar has dissolved.
Step 3: Set a sifter over the bowl, and fill it with the dry ingredients, including the flour and baking soda.
Step 4: Mix ingredients until just combined. Don't over mix at this stage or you'll activate the gluten in the flour and create a rubbery cake texture.
Step 5: Use a medium scoop to add batter to each cupcake paper.
Step 6: Bake until the top is a light golden color, 20 to 25 minutes, and a tester comes out clean. Don't over bake.
Step 7: Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then put them on a cooling rack to cool before frosting them.
Step 8: Make frosting. On my blog, I have many frosting recipes. For instance, here is my brilliant white frosting recipe and here is a vegan buttercream. In the recipe card below, I provide a simple vanilla frosting as well.
Yogurt. You can use butter instead of yogurt, as I noted in the ingredient list. To use butter instead, melt it in the microwave for 10 seconds and let it cool to room temperature, so do the melting first thing. Let it cool about 5 minutes, as long as the lemon juice takes to curdle the milk.
Lemon juice. You can replace the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to curdle the milk into a vegan buttermilk.
Applesauce. Instead of applesauce, you can use ¼ cup of aquafaba, the liquid from a can of unsalted chickpeas. Whisk the liquid before adding it to the batter as you would the applesauce.
Milk + lemon = buttermilk. Be sure to let the milk and lemon juice rest for about 5 minutes before using to allow it the ability to curdle and create the acidic environment needed to activate the baking soda. Another name for this mixture is homemade buttermilk.
Stirring. Once the flour is added, stir just long enough to combine the ingredients. Over-stirring will create a chewy texture.
Scooping. Use a scoop to add the batter to each cup to ensure the cupcakes are of uniform size. I used a medium scoop and it filled the cups about ½ way.
Oven door. Don't open the oven door for at least the first 15 minutes or else the rush of cold air will change the baking temperature and interrupt the rise.
Don't over bake. The top should be light golden, not dark golden in color. The top should not wiggle though when you go to take them out. Use a tester on a middle cupcake and it should come out clean. The tester can be a thin knife or toothpick.
Cooling. Let the cupcakes cool at least 20 minutes before putting on the frosting so the frosting doesn't melt.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead cupcakes. Make these cupcakes at least one day before serving. Let them cool completely, then put them in a sealed container or wrap in plastic wrap and put them in a cool dark area overnight. The next day, frost and serve.
Freeze long-term. To freeze, put them in a sealed container and freeze for up to three months. Allow them to thaw for 2-3 hours before frosting and serving.
Storing frosted cupcakes. You can refrigerate them for a day; after that the frosting will begin to harden and the cake will dry out.
Number of servings. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
Vegan & gluten-free. This recipe is vegan as is and can be gluten-free if you use a gluten-free baking flour.
Vanilla specks. To add vanilla specks to this cupcake, use vanilla paste or get fresh vanilla pods and add seeds directly.
To pipe frosting on these cupcakes. Add a piping tip to a frosting bag, and fill it with frosting and then use the tip to add frosting swirls. Or you can use a knife to spread the frosting on the cupcake top.
Other Vegan Cupcake Recipes
- Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
- Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Chocolate Dipped Cupcakes (Hi Tops)
- Lemon Cupcakes (with lemon curd)
If you tried this recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting!
One Bowl Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (oil free)
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Mixing bowl
- cupcake pan, liners
- Hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle
- 2 cups all purpose flour (250g) or gluten free baking flour*
- ⅓ cup yogurt (77g) use a high fat yogurt; I used almond
- 1 cup cane sugar (200g)
- ¾ cup milk (225 ml) room temperature
- ¼ cup applesauce, unsweetened (62g)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste, which has stronger flavor
- pinch of salt
- Make sure yogurt is at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line a cupcake tin with papers. I use a counter oven so I bake these 12 cupcakes in two (6-cup) cupcake pans but a 12-cup cupcake pan works too.
- Add the lemon juice to the milk and set it aside for 5 minutes.¾ cup milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice
To make the cupcakes.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and wet ingredients. Mix with a hand mixer or spoon until the sugar is melted.⅓ cup yogurt, 1 cup cane sugar, ¾ cup milk, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ cup applesauce, unsweetened
- Set a strainer over the bowl, add the dry ingredients. I scoop the flour using the spoon and level method, but you can use a scale instead.2 cups all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, pinch of salt
- Mix until just combined. Do not over mix or the cupcakes will turn gummy.
- Bake the cupcakes. Fill the cupcake wells about ½ with the medium scoop.
- Slide the pan into the center of the oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I have used a knife or a toothpick as a tester. Also look to see that the tops are not wiggly and a light golden color.
- Cool the cupcakes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it cool 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and let them cool another 20 on a cooling rack.
Make the Frosting
- Cream the butter. Cream the softened butter with a mixer.½ cup butter
- Add powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar to a sifter and sift it into the butter, mixing at the same time or just after.3 cups organic powdered sugar
- Add the milk and vanilla. Add in 1-3 tablespoons of milk to help the buttercream mix. Add vanilla extract and continue mixing until smooth.1-3 tablespoons of milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- If the frosting seems too thick, add more milk, a tablespoon at a time. If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar, ¼ cup at a time until you reach a stiff piping or spreadable texture.
- Pipe onto cupcakes. Add a frosting tip to a frosting bag, and then insert the bag into a tall glass.
- Scoop frosting into the bag, and pipe the frosting. Or spread the frosting onto the cupcakes.
- Make Ahead Cupcakes. Make these cupcakes at least one day before serving. Let them cool completely, then put them in a sealed container or wrap in plastic wrap and put them in a cool dark area overnight. The next day, frost and serve.
- Freeze long-term. To freeze, put them in a sealed container and freeze for up to three months. Allow them to thaw for 2-3 hours before frosting and serving.
- Storing frosted cupcakes. You can refrigerate them for a day; after that the frosting will begin to harden and the cake will dry out.