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Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes Recipe

Amelia loves baking and cooking, especially developing her own recipes and trying out new flavours or techniques.

Lemon poppy seed cupcakes

Lemon poppy seed cupcakes

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Lemon and poppy seed! The ultimate combination! Or let’s say one of them, at least....

Well, as it happens, baking is one of my biggest hobbies, and I've developed my own recipe for lemon poppy seed cupcakes, which I would like to share here.

Developing a recipe can be quite challenging, though, especially if you've never done it before! These cupcakes are slightly more dense rather than fluffy (due to the lemon curd), but I really like this consistency as it's a nice balance to the light texture of the buttercream.

If you don't have access to vegan lemon curd and don't want to make some yourself, you could try replacing it with the juice and zest of one to two lemons for the batter, and a little more for the icing. Go slowly when making the icing, though, as too much juice might make the mixture curdle.

Recipe Development

While working on this recipe, I tried a few different options for egg replacement. Finding vegan butter or plant milk is usually no problem nowadays, but substituting eggs can be tricky as they have different functions depending on the type of recipe: usually they are there for leavening (to make baked goods rise) and/or binding (to make sure everything sticks together) purposes.

The best result came from using aquafaba, the liquid found in tins of chickpeas. The cupcakes rose perfectly in the oven, and while the lemon flavor was subtle, it was just right for my taste.

Read on if you want to try these out for yourself!

Read on if you want to try these out for yourself!


  • 100 g (vegan) lemon curd
  • 75 mL oil, rapeseed or other neutral flavor
  • 250 mL soy milk
  • 100 g sugar
  • 250 g flour, plain
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g poppy seeds, whole
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g aquafaba
  • 150 g vegan margarine/vegetable shortening
  • 100 g lemon curd


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, and poppy seeds).
  3. Whisk up the wet ingredients (aquafaba, oil, soy milk, and lemon curd) with the sugar.
  4. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat together until just combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases (I used an ice cream scoop to make sure it was distributed fairly) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the icing: Heat the aquafaba and sugar over a pan of simmering water (preferably in a large metal bowl, but heat-proof glass should work, too) until the sugar has dissolved while stirring with a spoon or whisk. (You shouldn’t be able to see or feel any "grainy bits.")
  7. Remove the bowl and beat the sugar and aquafaba until soft, white, and creamy. (It took me a few minutes with a hand mixer, so do use a stand mixer if you have one!)
  8. Add the margarine/shortening slowly, in small chunks, beating well after each addition.
  9. Finally, add the lemon curd and beat well to combine.
  10. Now all that's left to do is to decorate your cooled cupcakes to your heart’s content and enjoy!

© 2018 Amelia Bodner