Vegan Maple Cupcakes with Pure Maple Buttercream Frosting


Imagine tender cupcakes topped with a decadent buttercream that you can enjoy almost guilt-free. Enter these whole grain, vegan maple cupcakes topped with a rich, buttery frosting that’s not only free of butter, but also refined sugars! Yes, both the little cakes and the buttercream are sweetened exclusively with pure maple syrup.

Vegan Maple Cupcakes Recipe with Pure Maple Buttercream - the easy dairy-free buttercream is sweetened only with maple - no powdered sugar!

These amazing vegan maple cupcakes were created by my good friend Ricki Heller of She is  a cookbook author, professional recipe developer, holistic nutritionist and anti-candida crusader with expertise in plant-based, sugar-free, and gluten free diets.

This is one of her earlier recipes, which is wheat-free but not gluten-free, and it was inspired by none other than a good quality, pure maple syrup:

Growing up in Quebec, I assumed maple syrup was as common as my father’s ex-girlfriend (well, that’s what my mom used to say about her, anyway). So I never really thought much about maple syrup as anything but a substitute for sugar, used whenever a certain type of sweetness was required; it never occurred to me to showcase the auburn ambrosia as the primary flavor in its own right. Not until, that is, I received an amazing sample of Coombs Family Farms Pure Organic Maple Syrup in the mail. I was agog as soon as I inhaled the stuff and immediately set about creating.

The resultant vegan maple cupcakes have an incredibly light crumb and a warm, decadent maple aroma. Ricki uses coconut oil rather than butter in both the single-serve cakes and the frosting, and rather than powdered sugar, she adds a bit of dairy-free milk powder to bring the topper together.

Vegan Maple Cupcakes Recipe with Pure Maple Buttercream - the easy dairy-free buttercream is sweetened only with maple - no powdered sugar!

Special Diet Notes: Vegan Maple Cupcakes

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Vegan Maple Cupcakes with Pure Maple Buttercream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These marvelous vegan maple cupcakes were inspired by a recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Laden with the lovely sweetness of pure maple throughout, they are an indulgent, yet natural, treat.
Serves: 10-12 maple cupcakes
Vegan Maple Cupcakes
  • ½ cup plain or vanilla dairy-free milk beverage (your choice of type)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut, sunflower or other light-tasting oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1⅓ cups light spelt flour (can sub all-purpose flour or white-wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Dairy-Free Maple Buttercream Frosting
  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350ºF (180C).
  2. Line 10 muffin cups (for large cupcakes) or 12 muffins cups (for small cupcakes) with paper liners, or spray with nonstick spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk beverage, maple syrup, oil, vinegar, flax seeds, vanilla, and vinegar until well combined.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk just until combined; do not overmix.
  6. Using a large ice cream scoop or ⅓ cup (80 ml) measuring cup, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in one of the center cupcakes comes out clean.
  8. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
  9. To make the buttercream, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt to a mixing bowl and beat with a mixer until combined.
  10. Slowly sift in the milk powder and blend on low speed to incorporate. Then blend on high speed until the mixture becomes lighter, both in color and texture, and fluffy. If it seems too soft to hold a peak, add the chia seeds and beat to incorporate; let stand 2 to 5 minutes, then beat again before using.
Coconut Oil: You can certainly use unrefined coconut oil for this frosting, but it will have a distinct coconut flavor.

Freezing Option: The cupcakes and frosting may be frozen separately. Defrost each in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight before using.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Hi, I was wondering if coconut, almond, or oat flour could be used? These sounds amazing & I can’t wait to try them!

    • Hi Alissa, you could try oat flour, but the cupcakes will definitely be more crumbly. Almond flour and coconut flour should not be directly swapped for wheat flour, they have different moisture, protein, and fat contents that heavily affect outcomes.

  2. How long do you think they can hold up till I was planning on making them tomorrow in advance and then have them ready for mother’s day on Sunday x

  3. Hello! I made these today and I think they are the fluffiest, softest and most delicious vegan cupcake I have made so far! Thanks for the recipe!!! I will be sharing this around for sure 🙂

  4. hi there! this recipe looks great! thinking of using it for a layer cake, do you think your frosting would be firm enough to frost the sides of a cake? ty!

  5. I have been looking for a vegan maple syrup cupcake recipe for a long time and this one is perfect. To make them a bit more autumnal, I did add some cinnamon to the recipe.

  6. I just made these! waiting for them to cool so I can add the frosting. I didn’t have powdered milk and couldn’t find my grinder for the chia seeds (which I felt the frosting needed with the splash of liquid milk that I added) so I used the ground flax that I had and it worked great! I also used namaste gluten free flour and they turned out perfect 🙂

    • Michele Talbott on

      Hi! I don’t have milk powder either and no time to order any since I need to make this tonight. How did you make yours without milk powder?

      • Michele, you can finely grind some cashews (I just use my spice grinder). They grind into a “powder” and can be used. Some types of protein powder may work. For a sweeter frosting, you can use powdered sugar.

    • So, just to clarify, Kasey, you used ground flax and a splash on non-dairy milk to make the frosting? Brilliant if that works since I’m making this tomorrow and don’t have cashews either…

  7. Many thanks, it works! This is only the second time in my life I’ve baked a cake, and it is for my wifes birthday, saved by the recipe!

  8. Hello Alisa, i must thank you for this wonderful recipe, i made it into a birthday cake for my grandfather’s 83rd birthday yesterday and it was a superhit! First time i have baked with flax meal and i will be doing it again and again. Thanks once again!
    Kind regards

  9. Hi! I wanted to make this for my son’s 2nd birthday this weekend. I was wondering if the icing will stay solid if they’re outside in the heat as it’s an outdoor party

    • Hi Guljan,

      It will depend on the outside temperature. Coconut oil liquefies at 76 degrees F (26 C), so if it’s there or above, they will melt quickly. I’ve had them inside at around 70F for 20 minutes with no problem. Hope that helps!

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