Our favourite dairy free cupcakes, flavoured with plenty of vanilla and topped with a vegan vanilla frosting in an elegant flat-top look (see the decorating video in the recipe card below). These can be frosted in any way you'd like and make for a nice base to decorate.

For some more dairy-free desserts, make a batch of chewy vegan ginger cookies or perfectly fudgy dairy-free brownies, or whip up a vegan blueberry pie.

A cupcake topped with buttercream and rosemary trees.
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Ingredients

Dairy free cupcake ingredients with labels.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Sugar: raw cane sugar and regular white sugar can be used interchangeably in the cupcakes. A golden sugar will add a slight caramel flavour that's quite nice.
  • Butter: use a good vegan butter in stick or block form. We like Miyoko's and Naturli.
  • Milk: any type of non-dairy milk works, but a creamier variety like soy will make for slightly richer cupcakes.
  • Vanilla: powder adds a very nice speckled look and good vanilla flavour, but extract can be used in its place (vanilla powder is expensive and harder to find). This is noted in the recipe card. If you want to use a vanilla bean instead, cut down the centre as usual and scrape the seeds out. Add to the sugar, butter, and egg mixture after the second egg has been beaten in (the same as with the extract).
  • Frosting: if you don't like buttercream, try cream cheese frosting instead, with the vegan option.

Method

Cupcake batter steps 1 to 4, mixing the dry ingredients, beating the wet ingredients, and finished batter.

Step 1: add the flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine.

Step 2: beat the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.

Step 3: beat in the eggs one at a time.

Step 4: add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Pour in the milk and mix again, then add the remaining flour and whisk it in by hand. Don't over-mix - a few lumps are fine.

Cupcakes steps 5 and 6, before and after baking.

Step 5: scoop the batter out into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup three-quarters full.

Step 6: Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden in colour and the cupcakes pass a toothpick test.

To Decorate

To decorate the cooled cupcakes as pictured, pipe buttercream with a large round tip about 3cm (1.25 inch) high. Use a small spatula or dough scraper (or flat side of a butterknife) to smooth the frosting on the sides, then move from the outside in on the top to form a flat top.

Don't worry if it's perfect, as the sugar will hide small imperfections. Chill for 10 minutes, then roll the outer edges of the frosting in coarse sugar. Dip the top in the sugar. Place sprigs of rosemary, upside down, into the frosting.

Top Tips

  • Don't over-fill: the cakes will fill the cups after baking but not mound too much (a flat top is easier to decorate).
  • Use room temperature ingredients: as with most baking recipes, you want room temperature eggs here. Cold eggs will cause the butter to seize when they're added and can make it curdle.
  • Don't over-mix: this is why you switch to whisking by hand rather than electric for the last flour addition. Mixing too long will result in tough and chewy cupcakes.

Recipe Notes

We haven't tried making these fully vegan, but you can probably make our vegan vanilla cake into cupcakes. It won't make a full dozen – just fill the muffin cups three-quarters full anyway.

Pictured is a coarser cane sugar going into the cupcakes. Note that using coarse sugar in the cupcakes will result in slight spotting (light dots) after the cakes sit overnight. This isn't an issue, just the bits of sugar showing through the top of the cake.

How to Store

Storage: dairy-free cupcakes will keep in a sealed container at room temperature for 3-4 days. If frosted, it's best to refrigerate (take them out half an hour before serving to soften the icing).

Freezing: transfer fully cooled cupcakes to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months (without frosting) or one month (frosted). Thaw at room temperature, or in the fridge if you've frozen them with frosting.

A halved cupcake topping with icing.

FAQ

Can you use oat milk in cupcakes?

Oat milk is a good option for dairy free cupcakes. Any pourable non-dairy milk - so anything in a carton - works well. Don't use a thick canned milk like coconut milk.

How can I make my cupcakes more moist?

The trick to moist cupcakes is not to reduce the amount of sugar or fat in the recipe and not to over-bake. If you still want more moisture, you can brush the cupcakes with a cake soak.

What does extra egg do to cake?

If you add extra egg(s) to a cake recipe, expect a denser, slightly rubbery cake. Rather than making it rise more, adding too much egg will ruin the balance of the recipe and bake the batter too runny.

If you make this Dairy Free Cupcake recipe or any other cake and cupcake recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

A cupcake topped with buttercream and rosemary trees.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Dairy Free Cupcakes

Our favourite dairy free cupcakes, flavoured with plenty of vanilla and topped with a vegan vanilla frosting in an elegant flat-top look.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Equipment

  • 12-cup muffin tin
  • muffin cups
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Hand mixer
  • Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
  • Wire rack
  • Piping bag
  • A large round tip 1.25 inches (3 cm)

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder*
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup vegan butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk

To Decorate

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix on high speed with an electric mixer for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, until very smooth and light in texture.
  • Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Pour in the milk and mix again, then add the remaining flour and whisk it in by hand. Don’t over-mix – a few lumps are fine.
  • Scoop the batter out into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden in colour and the cupcakes pass a toothpick test. The cakes will fill the cups but not mound too much (a flat top is easier to decorate).
  • Cool the muffins for about 10 minutes in the tin before removing to cool fully on a rack.
  • The cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days, and freeze well. If frosted, it’s best to refrigerate (take them out half an hour before serving to soften the icing).

To Decorate

  • To decorate the cooled cupcakes as pictured, pipe buttercream with a large round tip about 1.25 inches (3 cm) high.
  • Use a small spatula or dough scraper (or flat side of a butter knife) to smooth the frosting on the sides, then move from the outside in on the top to form a flat top.
  • Don’t worry if it’s perfect, as the sugar will hide small imperfections. Chill for 10 minutes, then roll the outer edges of the frosting in coarse sugar. Dip the top in the sugar.
  • Place sprigs of rosemary, upside down, into the frosting.

Notes

* Substitute two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Add to the egg/sugar mixture after beating the second egg in.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 444IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.

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