If you're looking for a red white and blue cupcake, look no further than these Vegan Vanilla Berry Cupcakes! With a fluffy & moist vanilla cupcake base, vegan buttercream frosting, & fresh berries- they are truly the best Summer dessert.
*Recipe shared July 2019 and updated May 2022*
At this point, I have tested my fair share of cupcakes. It all started with my Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes and has expanded into more epic flavors like my Earl Grey Cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcakes, and Cardamom Rose Cupcakes.
All of these cupcake recipes have led me to discover a few key tips for the perfect moist cupcakes every time.
- Pastry flour: This is super important for a very tender vanilla cupcake. Pastry flour is lower in protein than all-purpose flour and therefore leads to less gluten forming when you mix the batter. If you can't find pastry flour just substitute 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour with cornstarch for similar results.
- Olive oil: Can be substituted 1:1 with any other liquid oil. However, I strongly recommend olive oil for vegan baking. Flavor-wise it is truly the best!
- Vanilla bean paste: Is strongly recommended over vanilla extract here because of the more intense vanilla flavor it gives these cupcakes. I prefer using Heilala Vanilla paste or Taylor & Colledge Vanilla Bean paste.
How to make vegan berry cupcakes
Make vanilla cupcake batter
My top tips for making cupcake batter?
#1: Always Use Pastry or Cake Flour
I use Bob's Red Mill Pastry Flour for all my cupcake recipes. Pastry flour is lower in protein than regular all-purpose flour, which ultimately leads to a more tender cupcake with a better crumb. It really is worth it to buy this flour!
#2: Don't Overmix the Batter
The more you mix the batter, the more gluten will form. While you want lots and lots of gluten in recipes like my Vegan Matcha Black Sesame Sticky Buns, cupcakes need a light and airy batter that is not dense.
Also, over-mixing the batter will get rid of some of the air bubbles and lead to a flatter more dense cupcake. Basically, just mix the batter until all the streaks of flour are gone and not any longer.
Bake the cupcakes
Once you have the batter ready, add it to a muffin tin filled with cupcake liners. I love using the If You Care baking cups since they are compostable and super high quality.
Once the cupcakes are baked, let them cool completely before frosting.
Make the vegan buttercream frosting
This is my go-to frosting recipe for cupcakes and it contains 4 easy ingredients. Using a mix of vegan butter and vegan shortening leads to a lighter fluffier frosting.
Plus, using vanilla bean paste gives this frosting those perfect vanilla specks throughout the frosting.
Add fresh berries
The last, and dare I say, most important step- top these cupcakes with fresh berries! I decided to use blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries- but strawberries would also be great to add in.
Then, dig in and enjoy these vegan berry cupcakes!
FAQ & Tips:
Can I make these cupcakes gluten-free?
Yes, but it will slightly change the texture. The only gluten-free flour that will work is a 1:1 all-purpose gluten-free mix. Even so, I'd recommend replacing 2 Tablespoons of the flour with cornstarch to get the light fluffy texture you get by using pastry flour.
How do I store vanilla berry cupcakes?
This might be a more inconvenient tip, but I actually never recommend you store cupcakes in the fridge. Why? Because I've found it can dry out the cupcakes even after just one day.
Instead, store unfrosted cupcakes in a closed container for up to 3 days at room temperature or freeze frosted cupcakes for up to 1 month. Just let the frozen berry cupcakes defrost on the counter for 30 minutes-1 hour before eating.
These Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with fresh berries are sure to be a hit at all your summer gatherings and are great to make as a vegan memorial day or July 4th dessert!
Even if you don't celebrate the 4th- I still hope you find a good excuse to make these vanilla cupcakes this summer! Enjoy :).
More vegan cake & cupcake recipes you will love:
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Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Berries
Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients
- ¾ cup almond milk *or oat milk
- ½ Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅔ cup organic sugar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup pastry flour *with all purpose-flour use 1 cup+2 Tbsp flour and 1 Tbsp cornstarch for similar results
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup fresh raspberries
- ¼ cup fresh blackberries
- ¼ cup fresh blueberries
First, make your cupcakes
- Preheat your oven to 350F and place cupcake liners into a muffin pan. Set aside for later.
- First add the plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together and let sit until the milk curdles, about 2-3 minutes, to create a vegan buttermilk.
- Add the remaining wet ingredients to the bowl including the sugar, olive oil, and vanilla and whisk together.
- Next, add the dry ingredients to the bowl including the pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the pastry flour first and then pile the remaining ingredients on top. Whisk together until a smooth batter forms.
- Add the batter to the 9-10 cupcake liners so that each is about ¾ full. Bake the cupcakes for 20-23 muffins until cooked through. Remove from the oven and let cool before frosting.
Make the Vegan Vanilla frosting
- To make the frosting, add the vegan butter and shortening to a mixing bowl and whip until fluffy. Once creamed, add in your vanilla bean paste and mix together for another 30 seconds.
- Slowly add in the sifted powdered sugar and whip with the creamed butter/shortening until no lumps remain.
- Add the frosting to a piping bag and frost the completely cooled cupcakes. As a final step, top each cupcake with a mix of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Serve and enjoy!
- Cupcakes can be stored unfrosted in the freezer for up to 1 month or in a closed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- Frosted cupcakes can also be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month and are best stored without berries on top until ready to eat. They are best stored in a closed container between sheets of parchment paper.
- I don't recommend storing cupcakes in the fridge as it tends to dry out the cake.
- I highly recommend using If You Care Unbleached Cupcake Liners to make these cupcakes.