Double Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Whenever I get stressed, I get in the biggest baking mood.  And this week I’ve just wanted to bake EVERYTHING.  I was craving cupcakes but wanted something with a bright flavor so that they weren’t too heavy since it is really hot out in LA.  These double vanilla cupcakes with lemon buttercream hit the spot perfectly, and are so satisfying for your sweet tooth, but nice and light and fresh!  And they’re super easy.

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First you’ll wanna start out by making your “buttermilk” for the cupcakes.  This gives the cupcakes a really nice texture and keeps them super moist!  Just simply mix your apple cider vinegar with your regular unsweetened almond milk, whisk together, and let sit for 5-10 minutes on the counter while you prepare your other ingredients.  The apple cider vinegar helps the milk curdle a bit to mimic buttermilk.

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Next you’ll need to whisk together your dry ingredients.  Mix your flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt together until combined and set aside.  You also want to run this mixture through a flour sifter if possible to prevent lumps later on in the batter making process!

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Once you’ve prepared your dry ingredients, in a separate bowl you’ll need to prepare your wet ingredients.  Make sure this one is a deep bowl because you’ll end up adding your dry mix into this so it needs to be big enough to hold everything!  Start out by adding your sugar, vanilla extract, & vanilla bean paste in a bowl and whisk together.  We used Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste in our recipe because scraping vanilla pods for their beans is 1. EXPENSIVE, it’s about $7 for 1 vanilla pod which will get you one use, and 2. They’re kind of a pain to scrape out.  This paste is absolutely delicious, keeps any recipe moist, and has thousands of pure vanilla beans in there that are so incredible, and is only $9.99 for a whole jar that will last you forever.  We got it at whole foods!  Now of course, you could use a vanilla bean pod here if you wanted, you’ll just need about 3 of them for this recipe!  After you have all that mixed together, grab your coconut oil, melt it, and then whisk in again to combine with your buttermilk as well.

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Then you’re ready to make your final batter!  Add about a half cup of your dry mixture to the liquid mixture, whisking very well in between each section to prevent lumps.  Once everything is incorporated, let the batter sit for about 10 minutes on the counter while you prepare your baking sheet.  You should also have your oven preheated to 350 F at this point as well.

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Place cupcake liners in your baking tray, and then spray with coconut oil to prevent sticking even further.  This recipe makes 12 cupcakes exactly, which usually fills one tray of cupcakes.  If you’re doubling or tripling this recipe, make sure you only cook one tray at a time so that all the cupcakes cook evenly in the middle of the oven.  Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full with batter, about 3/4 cup each cupcake, and tap the entire tray a few times once you’re finished to even out the cupcakes and get rid of any air pockets.  Then place the tray on the middle rack of your 350 F preheated oven for 16-19 minutes (ours took about 18 minutes, but it depends on your oven.  You want to be able to stick a toothpick in the center and pull it out clean).  Once the cupcakes are done, remove them from the oven, carefully take them out of the baking tray, and allow to cool for AT LEAST thirty minutes before frosting.  This step is crucial because if the cupcakes don’t cool properly, then the frosting will melt completely when it touches them. DSC_035520160803 - 4608 x 3072163DSC_036220160803 - 4608 x 3072171DSC_036320160803 - 4608 x 3072172DSC_036620160803 - 4608 x 3072175DSC_036920160803 - 4608 x 3072178DSC_037420160803 - 4608 x 3072183

When your cupcakes are cool, you can make your frosting!  This also couldn’t be easier, you just need to throw all of your ingredients into a mixer and let them work!  Add your room temperature vegan butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, lemon zest, and warm water to a mixer and mix until combined.  You might need to add a little more warm water or powdered sugar to thin or thicken the frosting a bit to your liking.  We decided to make our frosting pink so that the cupcakes look a little more fun, which is totally optional, but if you want too at the very end once your frosting is mixed you can mix in any color food dye you’d like!  We used a food dye that derives the red color from beets too- how cool!?  Once you have your frosting ready, open up a piping bag with a larger tip, and squeeze some more food dye down the sides of the piping bag about 3-4 times around.  Then add your frosting.  This is what gives it that cool “tie – dye” look when you frost them. DSC_037620160803 - 4608 x 3072185DSC_037720160803 - 4608 x 3072186DSC_038220160803 - 4608 x 3072191DSC_038420160803 - 4608 x 3072193DSC_038320160803 - 4608 x 3072192DSC_039220160803 - 4608 x 3072201DSC_039320160803 - 4608 x 3072203DSC_039820160803 - 4608 x 3072207DSC_040320160803 - 4608 x 3072212

For decorating, swirl your frosting over top the cupcakes, and then top with whatever you’d like!  We decided to alternate between decorative sugar and sprinkles, but you could use lemon zest, candied lemon, different candies or sprinkles, designs, the possibilities are endless!  Once your cupcakes are done, make sure to keep in the fridge and take out to become room temperature again about 10-15 minutes before you’d want to eat them!  We really hope you enjoyed this simple recipe!

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INGREDIENTS

Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup regular unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbs. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbs vanilla bean paste or 3 vanilla beans, scraped
  • 1 1/2 cup bob’s red mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Frosting:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. warm water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • pink food coloring (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Whisk milk & apple cider vinegar together and let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl and put through a flour sifter to prevent lumps.  Set aside.
  4. Combine sugar, melted oil, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste or pod scrapings in a bowl and whisk well to combine.  Then add your milk / vinegar mixture and whisk again.
  5. In 1/2 cup increments, add your dry mixture to the wet mixture, and whisk well to prevent lumps.
  6. Line a baking tray with cupcake liners, and then spray with coconut oil to prevent sticking even further.  Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full, which is about 3/4 cup of batter.  This recipe will make 12 cupcakes exactly. Lightly tap the pan once your done to even out each cupcake and get rid of any air pockets.
  7. Place in your preheated oven for 16-19 minutes until done.  Test the cupcakes with a toothpick in the center, if they come out clean, then they’re done!
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool outside of the baking tray for AT LEAST 30 minutes before frosting.

FROSTING:

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixer, and mix until combined.  You may need to add more powdered sugar or more warm water to get the right consistency for you.
  2. Transfer to a piping bag and swirl on top of each cupcake.
  3. Top each cupcake with sprinkles or whatever toppings you prefer.

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