Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free Lemon Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Cupcakes on cooling rack
Cupcakes on cooling rack. Getty Images/Dave King/Dorling Kindersley
Total Time 30 min
Prep 15 min, Cook 15 min
Yield 2 cake layers or 24 cupcakes

These yummy lemon vanilla cupcakes are my go-to cupcakes for school functions, surprise birthday parties, and any event that is going to involve treats for kids.

Since they're free of three major allergens -- dairy, eggs and soy -- they'll suit children (and adults) with multiple food allergies.

The cupcakes are so good that I always keep a stash of them in the freezer for emergencies (for example, if your child is invited to a last-minute party where you know the food won't be safe). The recipe also makes two 9-inch round layer cakes, perfect for creating a delicious birthday cake.

Looking for something to ice that cake with? Try this great dairy-free, soy-free frosting recipe.


  • 3 cups ​flour (I used 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour and 2 cups all-purpose white flour)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups rice milk (or other safe milk)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins with papers, or oil two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Carefully measure flour, sugar, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together dry ingredients. Make sure they are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Measure out rice milk and oil, and pour on top of dry ingredients. Pour lemon juice into mixture.
  4. Use a whisk to gently stir together the wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix. The flour should be moistened, but it is fine if the batter has lumps in it. The mixture will begin to expand and look bubbly and that's normal. The baking soda and the lemon juice are just reacting and creating air bubbles.
  1. Ladle batter into cupcake tins or cake pans. If making cupcakes, fill each cupcake paper about 3/4 full. The batter has already accomplished most of the rising it will do in the bowl.
  2. For cake, bake 20 to 25 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Test by inserting a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.
  3. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan, then gently take out of pan and cool on baking racks before frosting.

Baker Beware

Any time you're cooking or baking for someone with food allergies, it's critical to watch out for cross-contamination from allergen ingredients. You'd be surprised how easily this can occur, especially if your kitchen already contains the allergens in question.

For example, improperly cleaned rubber spatulas or cupcake pans might contain some residue from prior baking projects that could lead to a reaction in someone who's particularly sensitive.

Your best bet is to wash everything (pans, utensils and mixing bowls) thoroughly before beginning, and to work on a freshly cleaned countertop away from other food preparation areas.

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