Vegan Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon cupcakes, a jar of lemon curd, a basket of lemons and a jug of milk.

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Fluffy, vegan lemon cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and a swirl of homemade lemon curd.


Units Scale

For the Cupcakes

1 c granulated sugar

2 tbsp lemon zest

1/2 c nondairy yogurt

1/2 c canola oil

1/4 c nondairy milk

1/4 c lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

For the Lemon Curd

1/3 c granulated sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

1/3 c nondairy milk

3 tbsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp ground turmeric or vegan yellow food coloring*

For the Frosting

8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened

1/2 c vegan butter

1/2 c non hydrogenated shortening

4 c powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt


  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Cupcake Batter: Add granulated sugar and lemon zest to a large bowl. Rub the zest into the sugar using your fingers to diffuse the oils. Add nondairy yogurt, canola oil, nondairy milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract to the bowl. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the baking powder, baking soda and salt until evenly distributed. Sift in the flour and whisk until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  3. Bake: Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full with cupcake batter. Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Lemon Curd: Prepare the lemon curd while the cupcakes are baking. Add the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt to a small saucepan and whisk together. Pour in the nondairy milk and lemon juice. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat. Bring to a light boil and simmer, whisking frequently until the mixture thickens slightly. This should take 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add turmeric or vegan yellow food coloring if desired. Allow lemon curd to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a sealable jar. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Overnight works too.
  5. Frosting: Prepare the frosting while the cupcakes cool. Beat together the vegan cream cheese, vegan butter and shortening in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer until completely smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, pour in the vanilla and sprinkle the salt. Beat until frosting comes together. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Assemble: Once cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the top of each using a piping bag and a large piping tip. You can also spread on the frosting using an offset spatula. Place 1-2 teaspoon dollops of lemon curd on top of the frosting piles. Swirl in using an offset spatula. Keep cupcakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve.



*Cupcakes will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen for up to 1 month.

*Preparing the lemon curd a day in advance will help save you a lot of time. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator overnight for best results.

*If your cream cheese frosting starts to feel too thin, place it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to make it more solid. Too solid? Let it sit out for a few minutes before trying to work with it.

Keywords: vegan cupcakes, lemon cupcakes, vegan cream cheese frosting, lemon curd recipe

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