Vegan Lemon & Thyme Cupcakes
These aromatic Lemon and Thyme cupcakes are deliciously zingy, fluffy and they’re the perfect bite-sized portion! If you’re a lover of lemon desserts, you’ll love these little cupcakes!
Baking is one of my passions, so I’m always experimenting with different flavour combinations in my bakes. I’ve always loved lemon flavoured desserts, but I wanted to give these little lemon cupcakes an aromatic and herby twist by adding some fresh thyme, and they turned out delicious! These perfectly moist, fluffy and zesty cupcakes are super easy to make, they're ready in less than an hour, and you don’t need any fancy baking equipment to make them!
STORING LEMON & THYME CUPCAKES
These cupcakes can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I find that storing them in the fridge helps to keep them fresh for longer, but they’re best served at room temperature.
INGREDIENTS FOR LEMON & THYME CUPCAKES
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider it your shopping list!
Self-Raising Flour - I prefer to use self-raising flour when baking because I find that it gives a consistent rise every time and you get much less doming.
Plant-based Milk - I've used unsweetened almond milk for this recipe, but you can use any plant-based milk of your choice.
Apple Cider Vinegar - The acid in the vinegar will help to activate the baking soda in the flour and will help to raise the sponge, making the cupcakes a lighter and fluffier texture. If you don’t have any apple cider vinegar at hand you could use the same amount of lemon juice instead. You could also use white wine vinegar, but I find the tanginess from the apple cider vinegar helps to enhance the delicious lemony flavour.
Caster Sugar - Caster sugar dissolves quicker in the batter so this is what I use for most of my baking recipes, but you could use granulated sugar instead. I wouldn’t suggest using any type of brown sugar as it’ll disguise the subtle yellowness the sponge gets from the lemon zest.
Lemon Zest - I would recommend you use unwaxed lemons if possible, but if you can’t find unwaxed lemons then make sure to thoroughly scrub the lemons before zesting.
Thyme - The thyme adds a subtle herby taste and aroma. I would recommend you use fresh thyme rather than dried thyme as the dried thyme will add a more intense flavour.
Sunflower or Vegetable Oil - I prefer to use oil rather than butter when baking cakes because the oil contributes to moistness much more reliably, this is because oil remains liquid at room temperate while butter solidifies. I find that cakes made with oil tend to be softer and moister.
Icing Sugar - You will need icing sugar to make the buttercream.
Vegan Butter - I've used the Flora plant-based butter block, but any vegan butter will do.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
For 24 mini cupcakes you will need a mini muffin tray and 24 mini cupcake liners. If you’d like to make regular sized cupcakes, then you’ll need a regular muffin tray and 12 cupcake liners. If you’re making regular sized cupcakes, you will need to adjust the baking time accordingly. You’ll also need a piping bag and nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cakes. Alternatively, you can spread the buttercream on top of the cakes using a spoon, but it won’t look as decorative.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON & THYME CUPCAKES
Preheat your oven to 140°C (275°F). Add the almond milk to a jug and stir in the apple cider vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes until the milk thickens slightly.
Sift the flour and caster sugar into a large bowl. Add the almond milk and apple cider vinegar mixture to the dry ingredients along with the oil, lemon zest and fresh thyme and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Line a cupcake tray with muffin liners and add about 1 tsp. of the batter into each cupcake case.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Place the cupcakes onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool down completely before adding the buttercream on top.
Beat the vegan butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the icing sugar, lemon zest and almond milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and decorate with fresh thyme sprigs.
TIPS FOR MAKING THESE LEMON & THYME CUPCAKES
I'd recommend using the gram measurements rather than the cup conversions. When it comes to baking, accuracy is key, and cup conversions are never as accurate as grams.
Make sure not to increase the baking temperature in order to try and get the cupcakes to bake in less time – this will cause them to bake unevenly, and this may cause doming. In general, a lower temperature will help the cupcakes to cook more evenly.
Gently tapping the muffin tray on a surface after you’ve poured in the cake batter will help to remove any air gaps - this will help your cupcakes to bake more evenly.
Do not overfill the cupcakes liners! 1 tsp or slightly less is enough for each cupcake. If you overfill the cupcake liners, they’ll overflow when baking and you’ll end up will a complete mess!
Wait for the cupcakes to cool down completely before adding the buttercream!