plant-based vanilla cupcakes

IMG_9247Let’s get serious for a sec and talk climate change. IMG_9250Yep, a really weird way to start a recipe post. But it’s been on my mind a lot over the past month, essentially since our very summery February here with temperatures hitting the 21 degree C mark {the average for that time of year is 8}.IMG_9248One of the scariest things I’ve read was that a report last year from the International Panel on Climate Change estimated we have only 12 years to act before it’s too late.

12 years. I will be 36.

It’s really prompted me to think about my lifestyle and how I can cut down my emissions {and hopefully influence others to do so as well}.IMG_9242One of the biggest polluters of the planet is the meat/dairy industry. I’ve been dabbling in vegetarianism for the last few months {this cookbook is excellent if you have no imagination when it comes to vegetarian/vegan cooking – would highly recommend it!} but I think I’ve now had the push to commit to it.IMG_9251I’ve also been trying to drink less cows’ milk by having oat milk in my tea and on cereal, and naturally the next step was to give a vegan bake a go! Cupcake Jemma did a few videos on vegan baking for Veganuary so that was a great place to start.

I had afternoon tea with my mum at Sketch in London last year and as she’s allergic to egg she pre-ordered the vegan menu. It was not good, so my hopes weren’t particularly high for this. But, to my surprise, these cupcakes are actually really great. I made them a second time a few days later for a charity cake sale at work and the feedback there was really good too. Give them a go!IMG_9246

Plant-based (vegan) vanilla cupcakes

  • Servings: These quantities made 10 cupcakes; feel free to scale up or down
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • This recipe is based off this video from Cupcake Jemma for an ultra-rich vegan chocolate cake


Vanilla cupcakes

  • 160ml non-dairy milk {I used oat milk}
  • 2/3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 80g non-dairy sunflower spread
  • 132g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8g baking powder
  • 155g plain flour
  • 1/3 tsp bicarb. soda
  • Pinch salt

Vegan ‘butter’cream

  • 80g non-dairy sunflower spread
  • 85g vegetable shortening / margarine block
  • 310g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 180*C and line a cupcake tray with paper liners.

Mix the ‘milk‘ and the vinegar together in a jug and set aside.

Beat together the sunflower spread, sugar and vanilla extract for 2-3 minutes until well-combined.

Sieve together the plain flour, baking powder, bicarb. soda and salt into a bowl. Fold about half of this mixture into the spread and sugar, followed by about half of the oat milk, folding this through too.

Repeat so that all of the ingredients are combined.  Distribute the mixture among the paper cases and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.


Beat the sunflower spread and marg/shortening for a few minutes until well-combined.

Sieve in the icing sugar and add the vanilla, then mix, slowly to begin with and then going up to medium-high.

Stop and scrape down the bowl a couple of times and then beat again, until there are no yellow streaks.

Add food colouring if desired and mix well to even out the colour.

Spoon the ‘buttercream’ into a piping bag and pipe over the cupcakes. Add sprinkles if you wish {but check if they contain egg/gelatine/beeswax first if you want to be 100% vegan!}

2 thoughts on “plant-based vanilla cupcakes

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