These Easy Vanilla Cupcakes have a light and fluffy vanilla sponge and a smooth and silky buttercream frosting, topped off with crunch funfetti sprinkles make for a delightful nostalgic treat. These quick and easy cupcakes are undetectably vegan and gluten-free yet still enjoyed by everyone!

A hand holding an easy vanilla cupcake with sprinkles, there is another cupcake in the background.

Ingredients & substitutions

  • I use soya milk in all of my baking. Due to the high protein content, soya milk adds extra structure to your bakes. You can use any plant-based milk (it won’t make a big difference), but try to use one with as few ingredients as possible. Some plant milks have thickening agents and you preferable do not want this!

  • Apple cider vinegar is added to your milk, this curdles and creates a buttermilk consistency which acts as an egg replacement. You can use white vinegar or lemon juice instead.

  • I use gluten-free self-raising flour (doves farm) for my cupcakes as it already contains the perfect amount of raising agents. You can use plain flour instead, just replace 2 tsp of flour with baking powder.

  • I also use a bit of vanilla protein powder for various reasons:

    1. Once again the extra protein adds more structure to the cupcakes which is sometimes missed in gluten-free baking.

    2. More flavour!

    3. Added protein is always a good thing! #health

    You can substitute this with cornflour or just some more flour.

  • I use light muscovado sugar as it is a bit better for you than refined white sugar, but you can use any sugar.

  • Coconut oil can be replaced with canola oil (or any neutral vegetable oil).

  • As these are vanilla cupcakes, I recommend using a good quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste or pods would be even better!

  • The frosting is made using vegan butter, icing sugar and more vanilla. You could use margarine, but I highly recommend a good quality vegan butter if you can get your hands on some!

A vanilla birthday cupcake with a bite taken in a cupcake liner. There is another cupcake in the background.


How to make Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Gather your ingredients: plant milk, apple cider vinegar, gluten-free self-raising flour, sugar, vanilla protein powder, coconut oil and vanilla extract.

  2. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Mix to combine and add some sprinkles if you want.

  4. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

  6. Spray your cupcake cases with cooking spray and fill them with the batter then bake!

Easy Vanilla Cupcakes process shots.

How to make the best vegan vanilla buttercream

  1. Gather your ingredients: softened vegan butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract.

  2. Using an electric whisk (or a handheld one) beat the butter and vanilla for a couple of minutes until fluffy.

  3. Add in the sifted icing sugar bit by bit.

  4. Beat for at least 5 minutes until smooth and silky.

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Icing Process Shots

Baker’s Tips:

  • I recommend always sifting and mixing the dry ingredients before adding any liquids when baking cakes or cupcakes. This ensures all the ingredients are evenly distributed and avoids any random lumps of flour or sugar.
  • Always use room temperature ingredients! Allow the milk to stand on the counter for at least 30 minutes before you start baking, and if you’re using coconut oil, allow it to cool down a bit after you’ve melted it.
  • If you’re using paper cupcake cases, I recommend spraying them with some cooking spray before filling them so that the cake doesn’t stick too much!
  • Filling cupcake cases can be a bit tricky and messy, so I like to either pipe the batter into the cases or if I’m feeling a bit lazier I use a pouring jug.
  • Be careful not to overfill the cases. You want to fill them about 3/4 of the way. This recipe makes 10 medium-sized cupcakes, but you can make smaller ones instead, just take them out a few minutes earlier.
A vanilla cupcake with funfetti sprinkles on a small wooden board. There are two more cupcakes in the background.
  • Tap the muffin tray against your counter before baking to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • You’ll know your cupcakes are done when the tops are golden and they are springy when you touch them. You could also insert a toothpick, it should come out clean.
  • Once removed from the oven, remove the cupcakes immediately and allow them to cool on a wired rack.
  • For the buttercream, allow your butter to soften first. It should not be melted but not solid either.
  • The longer you beat it, the better! You need to beat it for at least five minutes for a smooth and silky consistency. This is also how you get a whiter icing! You’ll notice that the longer you whisk the buttercream the whiter it gets!
  • If your buttercream is too thick, add a tablespoon of plant milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If it is too thin, add more icing sugar.
  • Wait till the sponges are completely cool before piping and decorating!

How to store Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

These cupcakes are best within the first 3 days and kept at room temperature. You should keep it in a cool place, if your kitchen is warm you should store the cupcakes in the fridge instead as you don’t want the icing to melt!

These last for a week in the fridge in an airtight container. You can freeze these cupcakes for up to 2 months, but why would you want to?

The icing alone will be good in the fridge for about a month, but you can freeze it for up to three months and allow it to thaw in the fridge before you want to use it.

Here are some more Easy Cakes for you to try:


All of the recipes I create are tried and tested a few times until it has been perfected. My goal is to develop recipes that are simple to make and easy to follow so that anyone can make them – even if you’ve never baked before!

One very important thing that will ensure that you get the best results is to measure your ingredients by weight! I recommend purchasing a kitchen scale, they are very affordable and it will honestly change your baking game for good! Not all measuring cups are made equally – for example, a cup of flour to me weighs 120g, but for you, it may be anywhere between 100g and 200g – that’s a BIG difference!

If you don’t have a kitchen scale yet, you can use this Ingredient Weight Chart as a guideline to convert the ingredients to help you!

Now – dust your apron off and get baking! X

Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

These easy vanilla cupcakes have a light and fluffy vanilla sponge and a smooth and silky buttercream frosting topped off with crunchy funfetti sprinkles. They can be made gluten-free and vegan!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 cupcakes
Calories 324 kcal



For The Cakes

For the Vanilla Buttercream Icing

  • 100 g Softened Butter dairy-free for vegan
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 200 g Icing Suga
  • pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
  • sprinkles optional
  • plant milk


  • Preheat your oven to 190°C / 375°F / 170C fan and place 10 cupcake cases in a muffin tray.
  • Combine the milk and apple cider and set aside.
  • Sieve the flour and protein powder into a mixing bowl and add sugar, salt and sprinkles (optional). Mix to combine.
  • Add the melted coconut oil and vanilla to the milk and vinegar mixture and give it a whisk.
  • Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and fold until well combined.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between the 10 cases (around 3/4 of the way) then tap the tray against your counter to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick or skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the tray and leave them to cool on a wired rack.
  • Using an electric whisk beat the softened butter (not runny!) and the vanilla extract for a couple of minutes until it starts to get fluffy.
  • Sieve in half the icing sugar and beat for a minute, then add the rest of the icing sugar and a pinch of salt (if using) and beat for around 5 minutes until the icing is silky. 
  • Add plant milk 1 tbsp at a time if the frosting is too thick and add 1 tbsp of icing sugar at a time if the frosting is too soft.
  • Refrigerate for 10 minutes before piping or spreading onto cooled sponges.


  • Read the blog post contents for ingredient substitutions and process shots!
These nutritional values are provided as a guide only and may be different depending on your ingredients and measurements.


Nutrition Facts
Easy Vanilla Cupcakes
Serving Size
1 cupcake
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword vegan cupcakes, gluten-free cupcakes, vegan buttercream, vanilla cupcakes, party cupcakes, dairy-free cupcakes, egg-free cupcakes
Did you make this?Leave a rating & leave some feedback in the comments section below! You can also tag me on Instagram @Nourishing.Niki and use the #NourishingNiki