Baking cupcakes that are moist, light, eggless and dairyless seemed like an almost insurmountable challenge to me when I first went vegan.
Brainwashed as I had been through years of baking about the importance of butter and eggs to the process of cakemaking, I believed that a good cake was impossible to make without these ingredients.
I admit I lived through a few mistakes: cupcakes that weren't fluffy, cupcakes that were too tough, and cupcakes that just weren't, well, what cupcakes ought to be. Until, inspired by some cake veganizing tricks from other bakers, I scored a winner.
My Lemony Vegan Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are, to me, a small triumph for veganism. They taste so good, I bet they'd convert any sceptic. Desi is a regular cupcake gourmet and even he agrees these are among the best he's tasted.
So go on, I dare you. Put on your baking gloves and take a stab at these. I know you'll be back for more!
Try these vegan cakes next:
- Vegan Carrot Cupcakes
- Vegan Brown Sugar Pound Cake
- Vegan Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Vegan Lemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the lemon cupcakes
- 1 ⅓ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup turbinado sugar (you can use regular)
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- ½ cup vegan butter (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese (left out of the refrigerator for at least an hour to soften.)
- ¼ cup sugar (powdered)
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
- ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
Make lemon cupcakes
- In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and mix well. Set aside.
- Mix the milk and vinegar and set aside.
- In another bowl, with a hand mixer or a stand mixer set to medium speed, cream the vegan butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the two extracts.
- Add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the almond milk, beating in well after each addition so there are no lumps. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.
- Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Divide the batter equally among the cups, filling each cup about ⅔rds.
- Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven about 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Set aside on a rack to cool completely before frosting.
Make cream cheese frosting
- Put all ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer for a minute or two until light and fluffy. Using a spatula or, if you have one, a pastry bag, decorate each cupcake any way you wish. I go for abstract art, as you can see!
Just found your site a few days ago and I'm very impressed! I got the stuff to make the almond biscotti (mandelbrot to me) and will be making it later this week. I have looked for a simple ingredient vegan recipe for that for a long time. Thank you for all you do.
Is powder sugar same as confectioner sugar? Do we get vegan confectioner sugar in the stores? If yes, what is the name of brown brand?
forgot to say cardamom in frosting, too.
Just made these this morning - yum! I substituted about three tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice for extract, but added a bit more vanilla extract, to still have a cup of liquid. We made frosting with fresh lemon juice, confectioner's sugar, Earth Balance and vanilla extract. Everything was delicious. Thanks, Vaishali!
I was just about to ask Vaishali about lemon zest & juice in place of extract. Thanks for this heads up on it. Vaishali's recipes are terrific and not the run of the mill desi recipes. Fusion is adventurous. Thanks much.
Rodnee, sure, you can sub the lemon with lime.
This recipe sound delish! I will be trying this today. I've also been wanting to make a key lime cake/cupcake...Do you think that I could just sub the lemon for lime?
I love this recipe~! It's quite simple to make and the result is a mouth-watering, delicious, moist lemon cake.
The difference that i made was to substitute the lemon extract with a real African lemon (rind and zest); and used some soy milk instead of almond milk and vinegar (as its difficult to find almond milk in my area).
The result was heavenly~ every bite exploded with lemony flavour~
Thanks for sharing this simple recipe. 🙂
I made these for my daughter's first birthday party this weekend. LOVED the recipe! Thank you for sharing 🙂
This pattern was selected as today's Vegan Recipe of the Day over at Vegan Digest. Love the addition of cardamom in the frosting!
i just thought i'd let you know, that this is the 8th time i've used your recipe for cupcakes, and it's turned out AMAZING every single time!! thank you so much for creating such a wonderful cooking resource!!! I love your blog! 🙂
If you make these, and you REALLY should, do yourself a favor and DEFINITELY ADD CARDAMOM.
My god, these are delicious.
Lemon and cream cheese, what a dreamy and tangy combo.
I only recently got down to really sitting with my copy of this cookbook. It's a lot of fun. I'm getting inspired to make my very first vegan baked goods.
beautiful cupcakes. Looks soooooo mouth-watering. Love the cream cheese frosting. Gorgeous.
These look great, although I would probably use real cream cheese. I always feel that lemon cake is underrated - my favorites are those little madelines.
who can say no to this moist and light delights. i have had pretty bad experince with baking cupcakes. but i am not giving up so soon 🙂
OMG! They look awesome. I wish I could just pick one. Beautiful click!
beautifulll cup cakes
Jayasree, Sowmya, Thanks ladies!
Miri, I buy the almond milk I use in baked goods. Whole Foods carries it. For curries, etc, I grind my own.
Cham, Raaji, Madhavi, Aparna, Liberal Vegan, Sireesha: Thanks, dears.
Curry Leaf, I don't think you can make soy yogurt with vinegar and soy milk. There are some recipes out there for making soy yogurt, using dairy-free yogurt culture that you can order online. You might also be able to try it using soy milk and a few tablespoons of store-bought soy yogurt that contains active cultures. I also recently saw a soy yogurt recipe posted by Priya of Live2Cook. Hope that helps 🙂
Mouth-drooling and tempting cup cakes.
Yummy,can we use soy milk +vinegar to obtain soy yoghurt /replace eggs ;tofu is giving me pblms,
I have got to try this! They look so yummy.
Yummy cupcakes, nice recipe and looks/sounds awesome!!!!
These look so great. They look like the regular thing.
I really liked your frosting. Looks extremely good. Only I can't find the vegan alternatives here.:(
nice colorful cupcakes.....look delicious....
I love especially the topping , the vegan version sounds perfect 🙂
Sounds delicious Vaishali...do you get almond milk or do you have to extract it?...
have to try your vegan versions when baking next time..looks really delicious..amazing ingredients..
Yummy cup cakes... Looks yummy and love the frosting.
Destiny, Kitchen Flavors, Happy Cook, Tami, Thanks!
Divya: Thanks. They were really light and fluffy...not dense at all.
Sunshinemom: 🙂 that's lovely. I think you have a very smart son!
Sagari, Anjali, Usha, Madhuram: Thanks, ladies.
OOhhhh! The cupcake looks so moist and lovely icing.
Very clever,looks perfect...
aah! delicious! lovely picture too..
yummm ,cup cake look beautiful
Hey! My son heard the title and has bookmarked this cake for next week as a tribute to his favourite author - Lemony snicket!!
Looks beautiful... so how was it? Dense or fluffy?
Tami (Vegan Appetite)
Those look like heaven! What's not to love about lemony goodness topped with cream cheese frosting?
I have never made a vegan cake. These cup cakes looks really delicious. Love the frostinf too
Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmy cup cakes. Looks awesome.
Destiny's Vegan Kitchen
Ooh, something tangy for the end of summer! They look great, especially the zest garnish. Perfect!