My vegan lemon cupcakes are topped with a zesty lemon glace icing and sprinkled with pretty pastel sugar confetti. They can be rustled up in no time for that last minute bake sale at school, children’s parties or for afternoon tea in the garden – Earl Grey with a slice of lemon for me!

Lemon cupcakes in silicone cake cases sitting on a cooling rack

Pastel colours and lemony flavours are markers for the beginning of spring for me. My forsythia is covered in bright yellow blooms, delicate primroses are peeping at me prettily and the daffodils and narcissi are blowing their trumpets with aplomb. 

Close up of daffodils in a garden

I love making cupcakes, it’s one of my favourite ways to destress and take my mind off stuff. I like the idea of meditation but I’m rubbish at it, my mind wanders about too much, no matter how much I tell it not to, and I end up telling myself off in my head which doesn’t help me to calm down at all! Baking familiar recipes where I’m focussed on the weighing, mixing and tasting, where my hands and mind are occupied is much more calming. The heat of the oven, the comforting smell of baking permeating my home, hot cakes sitting on cooling racks waiting for all my people to tumble back in – this is my version of mindfulness. 

Glace icing topped with pastel star sprinkles on lemon cupcakes sitting on a wire cooling rack.

They are also super easy to make with children, I think we have made more cupcakes and muffins together over the last 22 years than anything else! When three of us went vegan I was worried that these little bakes would be off the menu but no, vegan cupcakes turned out to be just as easy and just as tasty as the egg and dairy based ones – hoorah! I’m planning to veganise, rebake and rewrite some of my older cupcake and muffin posts as the year goes on so look out for new versions of my marmalade muffins, rhubarb crumble muffins, apple muffins and wild garlic scones coming soon! 

Close up of iced vegan lemon cupcakes on a cooling rack in front of potted hyacinth bulbs.

How to Make Vegan Cupcakes

Vegan cupcakes are so easy to make – no need for eggs or dairy here! For this recipe I use cider vinegar and baking powder as my vegan egg replacer. They provide the fluffy lift which eggs traditionally give.

Why We Add Vinegar to Milk in Vegan Baking

In vegan baking we add vinegar to nondairy milk because it then reacts really well with the baking powder to help that fluffy lift along. As a bonus that milk curdling process results in vegan buttermilk, which also adds a lovely depth of flavour in baking! Just take a look at that fluffy rise! The first bake of spring always has me reaching for these gorgeous reusable cupcake cases in pretty pastel colours – aren’t they adorable?!

Side view of Vegan lemon cupcakes topped with glace icing standing on a cooling rack

These vegan lemon cupcakes have a double dose of citrus flavour with lemon zest in the cake mix and lemon juice in the glace icing. I’ve topped them with pastel icing flowers from Waitrose – it’s always such a delight when I find vegan cake toppers! If you’re not sure what you are looking for on labels check out this very handy Vegan Label Reading Guide on the Veganuary website – it can seem daunting to begin with but it very quickly becomes second nature. It’s also a bit of an eye opener when you realise that you didn’t realise how much stuff is hidden in the food we eat. 

Six vegan lemon cupcakes on a cake stand in front of a pot of hyacinths.

5 from 1 vote
Six Lemon cupcakes, topped with white glace icing and star sprinkles on a vintage plate
Vegan Lemon Cupcakes
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins

A simple recipe for vegan lemon cupcakes topped with lemon glace icing and pastel confetti. 

Course: Baked Goods, Cake
Cuisine: vegan
Keyword: lemon cupcakes, vegan cupcakes
Servings: 12
Calories: 181 kcal
Author: Chris Mosler @thinlyspread
  • 200 ml (1 cup) soya milk
  • 20 ml (4 tsp) cider vinegar
  • 200 g (1.75 cups) self raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 200 g (1 cup) golden caster sugar
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 150 g (1 + 1/3 cups) icing sugar
To Make Vegan Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.

  2. Mix the cider vinegar into the soya milk and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes until curdled.

  3. Sift the flour, salt baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl. 

  4. Stir in the caster sugar.

  5. Whisk together the oil and vanilla and pour into the curdled milk.

  6. Grate the zest of your lemon into the liquid mixture. 

  7. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and fold together gently, using a metal spoon. Don't over mix your batter it should still be a bit lumpy. 

  8. Spoon your batter evenly between your cake cases and pop into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and brown. 

  9. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

To Make Lemon Glace Icing
  1. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze to extract the juice. 

  2. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.

  3. Add lemon juice and mix together until smooth and runny.  

  4. Spoon the icing onto your cupcakes, decorate with sugar confetti if desired and leave to set for about half an hour. 

  5. These cupcakes keep well in an airtight tin for two to three days.


This nutritional information is only an approximate guideline, created using an online calculator. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods. 

All that’s left is to serve them up on a pretty cake stand or wrap them up and put them in a basket before heading out for a picnic.

Six iced cupcakes on a vintage cake stand with a turquoise rim.

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Iced lemon cupcakes on a metal cooling rack. Text says 'Easy Lemon Cupcakes, egg free, dairy free, vegan'

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