vegan cupcake
by ecosalon
Categories: Eats, Recipes, Vegan.
Photo: Flickr / Mr. T in DC

By Jennifer Barckley, EcoSalon

Vegan cupcakes based on Sex and the City’s famous Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake recipe.

From New York City to Dubai, we’re living in a sugar coated world of cupcake mania. Many reports (like this one from the UK Telegraph) put the addiction blame on the famed Magnolia Bakery.

What started 16 years ago as the tiniest of local cupcake spots on Bleeker Street in New York City’s West Village, has now become an over-heated sensation. Sex in City, followed by Saturday Night Live’s “Lazy Sunday” and The Devil Wears Prada, have all been accused of instigating and spreading the cupcakes-gone-wild craze. Flash through old episodes ofSex in the City and you’re sure to find the one where Carrie and Miranda munch on frosted treats outside the original Magnolia Bakery – back in the day before lines circled around the block.

“I have a crush,” Carrie confesses to Miranda, lips lined with pink buttercream frosting. Was it a cupcake crush? Tourists who happily fork over $48 and more than three hours of their time to take the official Sex in the City Hotspots Tour in New York City-  including a stop at this very spot – can answer best. Walk inside the flagship Bloomingdale’s, or simply follow the trend from New York to Chicago, LA to Dubai or the 120 new locations in the works, and you’ll see that a bad case of the Magnolia cupcake crush is taking the world by sweet-toothed storm.

My memories of Magnolia Bakery go back to those one-location wonder days, post Sex in the City. As a transplanted New Yorker, I recall once dedicating an afternoon standing in the Magnolia line – for what felt like hours – simply to snag a cupcake for a friend’s birthday. Five years later, I tasted a tiny crumble of the infamous Vanilla Vanilla Magnolia Cupcake.

Fast forward to today where I’ve masterminded a vegan, gluten-free edition – starting with the original Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake recipe, compliments of Magnolia Bakery and the Food Network. While this is no baking adventure for the weary, the results are well worth it.

If you’ve already tried your hand at vegan baking, eggs, you well know, can put you in a baker’s bind. Especially when it’s four eggs you’re substituting which serve as a binding agent for your wet and dry ingredients. Since I’m always striving to merge decadence with health, I used a flax seed mix in lieu of eggs?

Flax seeds, it turns out, have been traced back to human consumption since 3000 B.C., and for good reason. It’s even been reported that King Charlemagne, recognizing the incredible health benefits, enacted a law requiring his subjects to consume the tiny, golden seeds daily. Today, flax seeds have been studied and recommended as a preventative treatment for nearly all ailments – from cancer to heart disease to diabetes. Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidant-rich lignans and soluble and insoluble fibers, flax helps cancel out the sugar-high effects of these cupcakes, making them virtually guilt free and easy to digest.

The Original – Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake Recipe



Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

The Vegan and Gluten-free Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake Concoction



For a gluten-free, self-rising flour mix

For the gluten-free all purpose flour mix

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Line 2, 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. In two small bowls, combine each of the flour blends, separately. When mixed separately, whisk together the two blends (self-rising and all purpose). Set aside.

In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar, and beat until fluffy, for about 3 minutes. Slowly add the egg mixture, in 4 small doses, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to ensure the ingredients are well blended.

Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of plant-based food coloring (like beet juice) and mix thoroughly.

Because vegan frosting tends to melt easier than it’s dairy counterpart, store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yields approximately 2 dozen cupcakes.


About ecosalon

EcoSalon is the web's leading conscious culture and fashion publication for women. Featuring style, design, life and culture, the arts, food, sex and relationships, EcoSalon is the first and finest general interest website for the modern green woman.

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