These are the absolute best Vegan Italian Cream Cake Cupcakes. They’re deliciously sweet and perfectly moist. Egg free, dairy free, and the option to make them gluten free.
This post is all about vegan Italian Cream Cake Cupcakes
Cupcakes are always a crowd-pleaser and perfect for any party. These are sure to be one of those recipes that make you famous. My mom’s favorite cake for as long as I can remember has been Italian cream cake. These cupcakes are a slightly different take on her recipe without leaving out the important things.
If you like coconut cake and pecans then you’ll love these. They have so many layers of flavor!
Luscious vanilla cake base, filled with soft coconut flakes, crunchy pecans, and topped with vegan cream cheese frosting. This cake is delicious with a cup of coffee or a chilled glass of plant-based milk.
Make this recipe for holidays, wedding showers, baby showers, or birthdays. If you’re feeling like a good friend you might even give these away (good thing about cupcakes is no one will notice if you keep one or two ;P)
FAQS for how to make these cupcakes:
Can I make this into a full size cake?
Absolutely. Here is my original recipe for Vegan Italian Cream Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting
What is Italian Cream Cake?
An Italian Cream Cake is a Southern classic recipe for a vanilla cake that’s got pecans and coconut baked in. Traditionally topped with cream cheese frosting. The cake gets its texture from whipping egg whites to create a soft fluffy final product. (In the case of this recipe you use aquafaba instead.)
Ingredients for Italian cream cake cupcakes
Aquafaba is the simply bean water, sounds gross but acts a lot like egg whites. The best way to get aquafaba is to drain a can of chickpeas and save the water.
You can use unrefined sugar for this recipe but the texture and flavor will be a bit different. I used unbleached organic cane sugar with great results.
All-purpose unbleached flour works perfectly well for this recipe. If you’d like to use cake flour for an even lighter texture that’s a great option. For gluten free cupcakes use a gluten free flour blend that is made to measure 1 to 1. Bob’s Red Mill makes a great one.
This helps bring out the flavors in the cake and also helps the baking powder react and make the cake rise.
Vegan Butter & Vegetable Oil:
I used Miyokos Vegan Butter but there are plenty of brands available today. As for the oil, I like using organic sunflower oil. You can trade out the vegetable oil for more vegan butter as well.
Sea Salt & Vanilla Extract:
If you don’t have pecans or can’t buy them where you live you can use walnuts instead. I prefer pecans though.
In this recipe I recommend using Baker’s sweetened angel flakes rather than unsweetened coconut flakes. They’re softer and bake seamlessly into the cake. If you do decide to use unsweetened increase the sugar in the cake by about 1/4 cup.
Vegan Cream Cheese:
Not gonna lie, some brands of vegan cream cheese are….not good. I love SoDelicious brand but most any brand will work.
How to make vegan Italian cream cake cupcakes
Step one is to whip the aquafaba until it forms stiff peaks. Then you’ll add in the sugar and continue to beat it until it looks like marshmallow fluff. It’ll be slightly disappointing to add the other ingredients and watch some of the volume fall down but believe me, it’s still worth the step of whipping it.
After that you mix in the nuts, coconut and stir it gently until everything comes together into a batter. Then spoon it into the cupcake liners and it’s into the oven. It’ll depend on what type of oven you have, how long it takes to bake. It should be about 25 minutes. You’ll know when the edges look a little darker that the tops.
After they bake, and while they’re cooling off is the perfect time to whip up the cream cheese frosting. You can add extra vanilla extract if you’re feeling fancy. Then it’s time to frost them. You can use piping bags or simply frost them with a knife. Sprinkle some chopped pecans on top to finish them and enjoy!
Some helpful things for making these cupcakes
Reusable silicone cupcake molds. I love them. They keep me from going through countless paper cupcake liners and the cake pops right out.
Piping bag and tips. These aren’t absolutely necessary but you they’ll make your cupcakes look so cute.
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Vegan Italian Cream Cake Cupcakes
There's nothing quite like the magic of a cupcake. This recipe is one that's sure to be a new crowd favorite you'll get asked to bring to every party.
Vegan Italian Cream Cake Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup aquafaba liquid from 1 can cooked garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
- 3/4 cups cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup organic vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup vegan butter or organic vegetable shortening melted
- 2 tablespoons applesauce can sub pumpkin puree if you don't mind a little more golden color
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour For gluten free replace with 1 to 1 gluten free flour blend
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans toasted
- 2/3 cups shredded coconut flakes I've used sweetened and unsweetened before so adjust to your taste for sweetness
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 - 7 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan "butter" or organic vegetable shortening room temp
- 1/2 vegan cream cheese softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons almond milk or any plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Pour aquafaba into bowl of stand mixer and beat until its begins to look light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Slowly drizzle in sugar while beating on high and continue until it forms stiff peaks (it should take about 5 more minutes). In separate bowl, stir together the lemon juice, applesauce, melted butter, oil, and vanilla extract.
Now, while continuing to beat the aquafaba mixture, slowly pour in the liquids and beat just until evenly combined (the volume of fluffiness will fall a bit but don't worry, it was still worth it for the end result).
Now in another separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and add the sifted dry ingredients. Use a large spatula to gently fold in the ingredients just until fairly combined. (It's actually better to leave some small lumps then to overmix and lose volume.) Add the pecans and coconut and fold in well.
Divide batter into the paper liners as evenly as possible (you can make 12 smaller ones but I usually get 10 from this recipe). Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and edges are lightly golden. Remove the cupcakes from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Beat vegan butter and "cream cheese" in a large mixing bowl until creamed. Add vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add milk beat until light and fluffy. You may need to add more milk as needed for frosting consistency to be light and fluffy.
Once cupcakes are cooled, fit a pastry bag with desired tip. Fill the pastry bag with cream cheese frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Alternatively you can simply frost each cupcake with a knife or spatula. Top with chopped pecans if desired.
It's best to store the cupcakes in something such as a cake dome or container to prevent them drying out and keep in the fridge.
Wanna save this recipe for later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest boards!