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Vegan Candy Cane Cupcakes

These vegan candy cane cupcakes are light, fluffy and super festive. A basic mint chocolate cupcake recipe that’s topped with dairy-free peppermint buttercream and crushed candy cane pieces. A perfect Christmas treat!

a candy cane cupcake with buttercream frosting on top

I told you I was in full swing Christmas baking mode! I’ve been loving creating all these cute looking desserts and experimenting with festive flavours.

Even better, I’ve finally perfected my cupcake recipe!

I’m still more than happy with the other cupcake recipes on my blog but these turned out next level. The sponge is suuuper light and airy, and you’ll never be able to tell that it’s vegan.

Which means that this is the perfect recipe for promoting veganism to any of your skeptic family or friends, in a delicious and non-confrontational way.

Want more vegan dessert recipes?

3 vegan candy cane cupcakes on a plate along with 2 mini candy canes

Chocolate and peppermint make the best festive combo!

I added a little peppermint extract to both the chocolate cupcakes and to the buttercream. You can definitely omit it from the cupcakes if you wish but the peppermint buttercream is THE BEST thing you’ll try this year.

I also decorated mine with crushed up mini candy canes and some edible white pearls to give it an extra festive touch.

I took them to work the day after and got rave reviews from everyone who tried one!

How To Make Candy Cane Cupcakes

The first step to this recipe is to make the chocolate cupcakes.

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake cases.

Step 2:

Pour 140 ml of soy milk (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) into a bowl or mug and add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Whisk it together briefly using a fork then set aside for 5 minutes.

If you don’t want to use soy milk you can use another plant-based milk instead. And if you don’t have apple cider vinegar you can substitute it for lemon or lime juice, or regular vinegar. You won’t taste it in the finished product, promise!

After 5 minutes, give the mixture another quick mix. It should be curdled and a little thicker. This will be your vegan buttermilk!

Step 3:

In a large bowl, mix together 100g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 150g (3/4 cup) of caster/superfine sugar.

Step 4:

Now add in all of your buttermilk from earlier along with 6 tablespoons of rapeseed or canola oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 a teaspoon of peppermint extract.

Fold everything together gently until you have a smooth cake batter.

chocolate cake batter in a bowl

Step 5:

Spoon the cake batter into your cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes. Use a toothpick through the centre of the cakes to test that they’re cooked all the way through. If the toothpick comes out dry, they’re ready.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

chocolate cupcakes cooling in a cupcake tin

Step 6:

While your cakes are cooling, you can prepare your peppermint buttercream frosting!

Add 450 grams of powdered sugar (2 cups) into a bowl along with 120 grams of vegan butter (1/2 cup) and 1 tablespoon of plant based milk of your choice.

Mix it together using a large wooden spoon or an electric mixer, being very gentle at first and gradually increasing the speed. Keep mixing until you have a soft and creamy buttercream.

Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract, depending on how strong you want the peppermint flavour to be. Mix it in well.

Step 7:

This step is optional but I think it makes these candy cane cupcakes look extra special!

Spoon half of your buttercream into separate bowl and add 1/2 a teaspoon of pink or red food colouring (make sure it’s vegan friendly). Mix it in until well combined.

2 bowls of white peppermint buttercream
adding red food colouring to one bowl of buttercream
Add food colouring to half of the buttercream.

You should now have 1 bowl of white buttercream and 1 bowl of pink/red buttercream.

Step 8:

Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag with a large star nozzle. If you’re using 2 colours of buttercream, I would highly recommend using a dual piping bag for this step for best results.

Pipe the frosting onto your cupcakes and sprinkle with some crushed up candy canes, and you’re done!

overhead shot of 4 candy cane cupcakes on a plate with a hand touching one

I hope you enjoy eating these cupcakes as much as I enjoyed creating them!

Pinterest pin

If you give them a go yourself, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment or rating below.

Happy baking! xo

candy cane cupcake with buttercream swirl on top
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Candy Cane Cupcakes

Light and fluffy chocolate sponge cakes topped with dairy-free peppermint buttercream.

Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan candy cane cupcakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 407 kcal


  • 280 ml Soy milk (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 200 g Self-raising flour (1 + ½ cups)
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking soda
  • 4 Tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 200 g Caster / superfine sugar (1 cup)
  • 6 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • ½ Teaspoon Peppermint extract (more if you want a stronger flavour)

For the peppermint frosting:

  • 450 g Powdered sugar (3 + ½ cups)
  • 120 g Vegan butter (½ cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon Plant-based milk of choice
  • ½ – 1 Teaspoon Peppermint extract (depending on how strong you want it)
  • ½ Teaspoon Vegan pink or red food colouring (optional)

To top:

  • A few Crushed candy canes


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F (160°C/325°F if using a fan or convection oven) and prepare a cupcake tin with 12 paper cases.

  2. Mix the soy milk and the apple cider vinegar together and set it aside for 5 minutes to thicken a little. This will be your vegan buttermilk.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and sugar.

  4. Now add in your vegan buttermilk along with the oil, vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Mix together until smooth.

  5. Spoon the cake batter evenly into your cases and bake for 18-20 minutes. Check that they're cooked all the way through by inserting a toothpick through the centre of the cakes. If it comes out dry- they're done.

  6. Allow the cakes to cool while you prepare your buttercream.

For the peppermint frosting:

  1. Add the powdered sugar, vegan butter and plant-based milk to a large bowl and mix together using a wooden spoon or electric mixer until you have a smooth and fluffy buttercream. Start off gentle and gradually increase the speed to avoid getting powdered sugar everywhere!

  2. Add in your peppermint extract to your preferred taste.

  3. Spoon half of the buttercream into a separate bowl and add your food colouring so you have 1 bowl of white buttercream and 1 bowl of pink/red. Transfer the buttercream into a dual piping bag with a large star nozzle.

  4. Pipe the frosting onto your cooled cupcakes and decorate with crushed candy cane pieces!

Recipe Notes

  • Will last for around 4 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Candy Cane Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving (1 Iced cupcake)
Calories 407 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Sodium 94mg4%
Carbohydrates 66g22%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 54g60%
Protein 3g6%
* All values are an estimate only and will vary depending on the food brands used.
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