Vegan Easter Cupcakes
These cute chick decorations make the perfect topping for vegan Easter cupcakes! They are super easy to make using basic ingredients and are sure to be popular with children.
It’s almost Easter and while I do have a couple of Easter-themed recipes on the blog already, this one is probably as Eastery as it gets. (That’s a word, right?)
I saw different variations of these vegan Easter cupcakes all over Pinterest a couple of weeks ago and knew I had to make them! They are just so adorable, decorated to look like Easter chicks!
I made plain vanilla cupcakes and topped them with lemon-flavoured buttercream, but you can totally mix and match flavours as you please. You could make lemon cupcakes for the base if you prefer.
For the eyes, beaks and feet, I used more lemon dairy-free buttercream but just coloured it with black/orange food colouring. If you don’t have any black food colouring to hand, you can use little blobs of melted chocolate or small black cake decorations instead.
Ingredients and equipment you’ll need:
- Soy milk. I haven’t tried this recipe with any other plant-based milks so I recommend using soy milk for the most accurate results. Unsweetened is best if possible.
- Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Either will work- we just need a little acidity to help the cupcakes rise.
- Self-raising flour. Make sure to use self-raising and not plain (all-purpose) flour, otherwise the cupcakes will be dense.
- Baking soda. Also known as bicarbonate of soda.
- Caster sugar. For sweetness, of course! This is also known as superfine sugar.
- Oil. I recommend a neutral oil such as sunflower or rapeseed oil. I’ve tried with coconut oil in the past but the flavour was too strong.
- Buttercream frosting. You can make your own with vegan margarine, icing sugar, lemon extract, and a little bit of food colouring. Or you can buy a ready-made one that’s vegan-friendly- I like Tesco Finest lemon frosting and Betty Crocker zesty lemon icing.
- Piping bags and tips. You’ll need 3 piping bags, one for each colour (yellow, black and orange), as well as a large round piping tip and 2 small writing tips.
How to make vegan Easter cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you’re using a fan or convection oven). Line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper cases. I used white ones but feel free to use yellow if you can find them!
First, we make the cupcakes. In a small mug or bowl, mix together 280ml of soy milk and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Set it aside for 5 minutes or so until it curdles and becomes slightly thicker. This will act in place of buttermilk, helping to keep the cupcakes nice and moist.
If you don’t have apple cider vinegar to hand, you can use lemon juice or white vinegar instead.
Next, mix 230g of self-raising flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), and 180g of caster sugar together in a large bowl.
Add the ‘buttermilk’ you prepared, along with 6 tablespoons of oil and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix well until you have a smooth cake batter. You can add a little bit of yellow food colouring too if you like.
I recommend using a neutral tasting oil such as sunflower or rapeseed as the stronger tasting oils like coconut will overpower the cupcakes. If you don’t want to use vanilla extract, substitute it for 1 teaspoon lemon extract instead.
Divide the cupcake batter equally between your 12 cases and bake for 18-20 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when a toothpick through the middle comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cupcakes are cool, prepare your buttercream icing.
- Add 150g of vegan margarine to a large bowl and mix briefly to soften it.
- Slowly add in 500g of icing sugar, a little bit at a time until smooth.
- Add 2 teaspoons of lemon extract (or vanilla) and mix well.
- Add a splash of soy milk if you want the icing to be looser, or more icing sugar if you want it to be thicker.
Place 2 tablespoons of the buttercream into a small bowl, then 2 tablespoons into another small bowl.
Add some black or brown food colouring into the first small bowl and some orange food colouring into the second small bowl. Add yellow food colouring to the remaining buttercream (the larger bowl).
Add the yellow buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip. Pipe a large blob onto each cupcake, with a smaller blob on top, as pictured. I think it looks more life-like if you leave a little curl at the top, to make it look like the Easter chick’s hair!
Use piping bags fitted with small round piping tips to pipe on two eyes with the black buttercream, and a beak and feet with the orange buttercream.
I like to use PME food gels because they last for ages and give a vibrant colour without changing the texture of the buttercream. Liquid food colourings will work fine too but just make sure to check for any non-vegan E-numbers they might contain.
They should last around 3-4 days if you keep them in an airtight container. I like to keep them at room temperature but you can store them in the fridge if you prefer.
I haven’t tried this yet but I think they’d be fine for freezing! Pop them carefully into an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. To defrost, transfer them to a wire rack and leave them to sit out at room temperature until fully thawed.
More vegan Easter desserts
I hope you enjoy these vegan Easter cupcakes! If you make them at home, please let me know how you get on by leaving a comment or rating below. Happy baking! xo
Vegan Easter Cupcakes
Easter chick cupcakes with dairy-free lemon buttercream frosting on top.
- 280 ml Soy milk
- 1 Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- 230 g Self-raising flour
- ½ Teaspoon Baking soda
- 180 g Caster sugar
- 6 Tablespoons Sunflower oil (sub for melted vegan margarine or any other neutral-tasting oil)
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract (sub for 1 teaspoon lemon extract for lemon cupcakes)
For the buttercream:
- 150 g Vegan margarine (the spreadable kind)
- 500 g Icing sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Lemon extract
- Orange, black and yellow food colouring (sub the black food colouring for brown, or use melted chocolate instead of buttercream for the chick's eyes)
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (or 160°C/325°F if you're using a fan or convection oven). Line a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
Mix the soy milk and vinegar together and set aside. It will curdle and thicken slightly, acting as a dairy-free version of buttermilk.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and sugar. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix well until you have a smooth cake batter.
Divide the cake batter between your 12 liners and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
For the buttercream:
Add the margarine to a large bowl and mix briefly to soften it. Add in the icing sugar, a little bit at a time until it's all used up, then stir in the lemon extract. If the buttercream is too thick, add a splash of soy milk. If it's too runny, add more icing sugar.
Place 2 tablespoons of the buttercream into a small bowl, then add 2 more tablespoons to another small bowl. Add orange food colouring to one, and black/brown food colouring to the other. Stir the yellow food colouring into the remaining icing in the larger bowl.
Transfer the yellow buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe a large blob onto the centre of your cooled cupcakes, followed by a smaller blob on top.
Add the orange and black buttercream into piping bags fitted with small writing tips. Use the black one to pipe on two eyes and use the orange one to pipe a beak and two feet, as pictured.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.