Get ready for the lightest, most delicate, fluffy, and easy Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes topped with homemade vegan vanilla buttercream. They truly are the best eggless & dairy-free lemon cupcakes!
I would say I'm going through a lemon phase right now, but let's be honest, I am in a COMMITTED relationship with lemons at this point. This lemon olive oil cupcake recipe is adjusted from one of my favorite recipes on the blog, my Vegan Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake. I took that recipe, replaced the grapefruit with lemon, and made them mini too.
Tools & ingredients
What I really love about making these vegan lemon cupcakes is just how easy they are. No whipping of butter and sugar is needed like in a traditional cupcake. No chilling the dough is needed like in a cookie recipe. Not to mention that the time you need to bake these is a quarter of the time needed to bake a cake.
All that being said, there are some staples you will want on hand to make lemon cupcakes from scratch:
- 12 cup Cupcake/Muffin Tin
- Standard Cupcake Liners. These are crucial for more delicate cupcakes baked with olive oil as they help them hold their structure.
- Pastry/Cake Flour. Remember how I mentioned that's a key part of making a cupcake a cupcake? Well, it does truly make a difference! I don't recommend substituting all-purpose flour in this recipe. However, I realize sometimes this is all you have on hand. If that's the case simply sub the recipe with 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour plus 2 Tbsp of cornstarch
- Quality Olive Oil. Lighter olive oils work best, but it's most important to choose an olive oil that tastes good to you as the flavor will definitely come through to complement the lemon.
What Makes a Cupcake Different Than a Muffin?
I can't believe I made it a whole year without a single cupcake recipe on the blog, but I am making up for lost time with these beauties. While I have made a few muffin recipes (hello Vegan Raspberry Jam & Orange Muffins), making cupcakes is actually a bit different. So, I did some research to tell you all a bit more about what actually makes this recipe a CUPCAKE vs. a MUFFIN. Here's what I found:
- Cupcakes have frosting! Muffins do not. They may have a glaze, but definitely not swirls of frosting.
- Muffins are usually denser and made with oil, cupcakes are usually made by whipping butter with sugar to incorporate air into the batter. (though these cupcakes break this rule!)
- Cupcakes are usually made with pastry/cake flour and are basically mini cakes. Muffins are usually made with all-purpose flour and resemble more of quick bread.
However, as you can see with these vegan lemon cupcakes, sometimes good things happen when you break the rules. There is no butter needed to make these the most perfect tender, fluffy, vegan olive oil cupcakes you have ever had! P.S- if you are looking for lemon muffins, check out my Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins for a slightly less sweet but just as delicious recipe next.
Vegan vanilla buttercream frosting
Once you've made your olive oil cupcakes, there's only one left to do- pile them high with lots and lots of vegan vanilla buttercream frosting. I found a whipped vegan buttercream went really well with these cupcakes as it lends the perfect sweet topping to a semi-tart cupcake. Making vegan frosting at home is super easy. All you need is the ingredients below:
- Vegan Butter: I love Earth Balance or Miyokos!
- Vegan Shortening: The only shortening I use is Spectrum Organics because, to the best of my knowledge, they are sustainably farming the palm oil they use.
- Coconut Cream: This is totally optional, but adding in just a bit of coconut cream (really just ½-1 Tbsp) makes for the fluffiest frosting. Coconut cream mimics how whipping cream acts in a traditional buttercream.
- Organic Powdered Sugar: I know I've said it before, but just make sure it's organic or it's likely not vegan.
- High-quality vanilla extra or vanilla bean paste: I love using Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste.
Whip all these together and you will have the best topping for these Vegan Lemon Cupcakes!
These Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting are sure to brighten up even the gloomiest of days. They are personally my favorite vegan lemon cupcakes and probably one of my favorite vegan cupcakes I have made to date. Enjoy!
More Vegan Lemon Dessert Recipes you will love:
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Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes
Making the Olive Oil Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Begin by sifting your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl including your flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Add your almond milk, sugar, lemon juice, olive oil, vanilla bean paste/extract, and lemon zest to a separate mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then, add in your sifted dry ingredients and whisk together just until a smooth batter is formed
- Fill the muffin liners with batter until they are ¾ cup full of the lemon cupcake batter. Add to the oven and bake for 20-24 minutes until the cupcakes are cooked through.
- Let the muffins cool in the muffin pans for at least 5-10 minutes and then remove. Let cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
Making the frosting
- Begin by adding your vegan butter, shortening, vanilla bean paste/extract, and coconut cream to a large mixing bowl and whip to combine. Once whipped, slowly add in your powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and whip until a smooth frosting has formed.
- Next, add the frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled lemon cupcakes. Enjoy!
- Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are baked.
- Cupcakes can be stored unfrosted on the counter up to 3 days or they can be stored in the freezer up to 3 weeks (frosted or unfrosted). To enjoy out of the freezer, let defrost at room temperature for about 1 hour and then eat.
- I don't recommend storing cupcakes in the refrigerator as this tends to dry them out.