Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes (Eggless and Optionally Vegan)

These dreamy vanilla cupcakes are light, fluffy and bonus, they’re eggless and optionally vegan!

My reasoning is that if you’re indulging in dessert, it should taste like dessert. If it’s dietary friendly, so be it. But the taste shouldn’t be compromised. If you eat cake sparingly, it should be worthy of your time.

Fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream.

So if my desserts are to be vegan or eggless, they should still have a 10/10 rating. These cupcakes hit the spot. They have a tender crumb, they’re not overwhelmingly sweet. You don’t need to worry about any eggy flavour in the vanilla cupcakes, since there are no eggs! Golden brown, buttery (despite the lack of butter) and fluffy, these are your best dream, just make sure to follow the recipe as it’s written.

If you do prefer an egg-based vanilla cake recipe,  you can try the vanilla funfetti cake, [1]my go-to cake base. For cupcakes, this one is no doubt, easier to make, and it has the ability to please a broader range of palates.

Fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream.

Some recipe notes

  1. I was fortunate to have stumbled upon one of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks [2] at home, which lead me to her blog which lead me to this recipe [3]. I’ve modified it, but only slightly. Why toy too much with perfection?
  2. Oil- you can use unrefined coconut oil (or coconut oil- just keep the flavour in mind), regular vegetable oil is fine too! Maybe even melted butter (I haven’t tried this)
  3. The cornstarch yields a tender crumb, so don’t omit it.
  4. You can replace the vanilla with vanilla bean seeds.
  5. Any frosting will work!  I find vanilla buttercream on a vanilla cupcake too sweet, so I decided to go with a chocolate buttercream, the one from the vegan chocolate cake recipe. A chocolate ganache like the one from the mocha pumpkin cake recipe [4] is also a really nice idea.

Hope you give it a try! Curious to hear your thoughts. And thank you, Isa, for the perfect vanilla cupcake recipe!

Fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream.

Fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream.

Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes (Eggless and Optionally Vegan)


For the cupcakes:

  • 250 mL unsweetened almond milk*
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 80 mL (1/3 cup) flavourless oil (such as vegetable or canola)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 175 g (1 ¼ cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, regular or vegan if you prefer
  • 65 g (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 360 g (3 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 80 mL (1/3 cup) milk (almond for vegan option, or regular)


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F and line a 12-cup cupcake tray with paper liners.
  2. To begin, pour the unsweetened almond milk into a bowl.
  3. To the milk, add in 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Gently mix the two together- the mixture should separate slightly, that’s completely fine and exactly what we are going for.
  4. To the milk mixture, stir in the oil, vanilla extract and the sugar. When all these 'wet' ingredients are combined, set the mixture aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Make a well in the centre of the bowl, and pour in the wet ingredient mixture.
  7. Whisk everything together till you are left with a smooth, fairly runny batter. At that point stop mixing as over-mixing will result in the opposite of a light and fluffy cake.
  8. Divide the mixture between the liner, you’ll need to fill each liner about ¾ of the way full. Now in all honesty I always make a little bit of a mess while doing this so if you have any tips be sure to leave them in the comments!
  9. Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes or until they have developed beautiful golden brown top, and a toothpick inserted should come out clean. Make sure not to open the oven door until they’re close to being done, because that will cause them to deflate slightly.
  10. Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. They should be completely cool before frosting.

For the frosting:

  1.  Begin by melting the butter. You can do this in the microwave, stirring after every 20 seconds or so or until it is smooth. Be careful, I have had times when the butter exploded!
  2. Once the butter is melted and relatively cool, toss in the unsweetened cocoa powder, and give it a nice whisk. The texture will change, just make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
  4. Next, stir in the confectioners' sugar, alternating with the milk. Using an electric beater makes it easier but I always do it by hand anyway. The icing be clumpy in the beginning, but keep mixing- you’ll end up with a dreamy chocolate buttercream.
  5. I like to pipe the frosting using a 1M star tip. You can also just spread the icing on top of the cupcakes using a knife.
  6. I finished the cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles and crushed cookies, but feel free to use whatever topping you like.
*I like unsweetened almond milk, I'm hesitant about using other non-dairy milks because they might affect the flavour of these cupcakes. Regular milk also works fine if you aren't vegan!
Cupcake recipe adapted from Post Punk Kitchen [3], frosting adapted from Hershey's, see here [6].

Fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream.

URLs in this post:

[1] vanilla funfetti cake, : https://www.hotchocolatehits.com/2016/12/funfetti-cake-vanilla-buttercream-frosting.html/

[2] cookbooks: https://www.theppk.com/books/vegan-with-a-vengeance-10th-anniversary-edition/

[3] this recipe: https://www.theppk.com/2010/11/vanilla-bean-cupcakes-with-chocolate-ganache/

[4] mocha pumpkin cake recipe: https://www.hotchocolatehits.com/2015/11/mocha-pumpkin-cake-recipe.html/

[5] Print Recipe: https://www.hotchocolatehits.com/2020/11/fluffy-vanilla-cupcakes-eggless-and-optionally-vegan.html/print/

[6] here: https://www.hotchocolatehits.com/2019/01/best-vegan-chocolate-cake-ii.html/