Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

These Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcakes are fun, fluffy and so moreish, naturally flavoured with vanilla and high in protein. They have a creamy protein cream cheese frosting and are perfect for celebrations.

Today is my birthday and what better way to celebrate than with cupcakes. These are a fun spin on the classic vanilla sprinkle cupcake, with added protein and using more wholesome ingredients. The batter is made in one bowl with simple ingredients you will already have at home, with added health benefits, like gut healthy ingredients. I love how fluffy these are, as well as being moreish, delicious and they feel like such a treat. I have included two types of frosting here, too, a lighter yoghurt frosting and a classic cream cheese buttercream.

A Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcake with a candle
Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcakes

Why will I love these cupcakes?

These cupcakes are amazing:

  • Light, fluffy, moreish and spongey
  • Naturally sweet and packed with vanilla
  • Contains plant-based protein powder
  • Naturally vegan, egg-free and dairy-free
  • Easily gluten-free and nut-free
  • Easy to make in one bowl
  • Great for birthdays and other celebrations
  • Feel like such a treat
  • A lighter, more wholesome spin on vanilla cupcakes
  • With two frosting options
  • Great for all the family
  • Easy to make the day before and frost when you need them
  • Fun to decorate with little ones

If you already love the sound of these cupcakes then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

You can see the ingredients with weights in the recipe card below and also see my favourites in the “shop the recipe” section.

For the cupcakes:

  • Plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar: when mixed together, this is the secret to the fluffiest vegan cupcakes, as it creates a homemade buttermilk. You can use any dairy-free milk like oat, almond, soya or coconut (from the carton).
  • Coconut sugar: I love the caramel-like flavour richness this adds but you can also use golden or white caster sugar.
  • Thick coconut yoghurt: this is for adding fat and moisture to the batter which is great for light and moreish bakes. I use the Cocos Organic natural or vanilla yoghurt.
  • Olive oil: this also adds fat and moisture, while making the batter so smooth.
  • Vanilla extract: for flavour.
  • Self-raising flour:
  • Vanilla protein powder: I use the Form vanilla protein powder which is so delicious and is free-from any artificial added ingredients. It’s smooth and blends really well into the batter and the frosting.
  • Raising agents: for the rise.
  • Sprinkles: to decorate. Make sure the sprinkles are vegan where needed.

Frosting number one (the lighter one):

  • Thick coconut yoghurt: as above.
  • Vegan cream cheese: to add a slight tang.
  • Vanilla protein powder: as above.

Frosting number two (the buttercream one):

  • Vegan butter: for the classic buttercream. Make sure to leave the butter out of the fridge for a bit to naturally soften to create the best texture.
  • Vegan cream cheese: as above.
  • Icing sugar: for the classic buttercream sweetness.
  • Vanilla protein powder: as above.

Are these gluten-free and nut-free?

These are easily gluten-free as long as you use a gluten-free 1:1 flour blend of flour (make sure it contains xanthan gum, or add ½ tsp of your own to the flour). To keep these nut-free, check all of your ingredients like dairy-free milk, vegan butter and cream cheese.

How do I make these?

These cupcakes are ready in a few steps:

  • Whisk together the plant-based milk and vinegar: and leave for 5 minutes to curdle.
  • Now whisk in all of the other wet ingredients: until combined.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and whisk: until smooth.
  • Scoop the batter between the cases: and smooth over the tops.
  • Bake for 17 minutes: or until well-risen, golden and baked through.
  • Remove from the muffin tin and allow to cool: fully on a wire rack.
  • Whisk together the frosting ingredients: until smooth and fluffy.
  • Pipe the frosting over the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles: and enjoy.

How long will they last?

These will keep for 2-3 days in a sealed container, in the fridge overnight. You can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for 1 month and allow to defrost before decorating.

Half a Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcake
Vanilla Protein Cupcake Half

What else can I bake?

For more cupcakes and cakes:

A Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcake with a candle

Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcakes (Vegan Gluten-Free)

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes

These Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcakes are fun, fluffy and so moreish, naturally flavoured with vanilla and high in protein. They have a creamy protein cream cheese frosting and are perfect for celebrations.


For the Cupcakes:

  • 240ml plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 60g thick coconut yoghurt
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 40g Form Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sprinkles, to decorate

For the Frosting (yoghurt option):

  • 160g thick coconut yoghurt
  • 100g vegan cream cheese
  • 30g Form Vanilla Protein Powder

For the Buttercream frosting (vegan butter option):

  • 100g vegan butter, softened
  • 50g vegan cream cheese
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 40g Form Vanilla Protein Powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180ºC and line a muffin tray with 12 cases.
  2. Mix the plant-based milk and vinegar together and leave to one side to curdle, for 5 minutes.
  3. For the batter: into a large mixing bowl, add the milk mix, the sugar, yoghurt, olive oil and vanilla and whisk until combined. Now sift in the flour, Form Vanilla Protein Powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder with a pinch of salt and whisk to a smooth batter.
  4. Scoop the mix into the cases, filling ¾ full.
  5. Bake in the oven for 17-18 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and they are well-risen and golden brown.
  6. Carefully remove from the tins and allow the cupcakes to cool fully on a wire rack.
  7. For the yoghurt frosting: add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth.
  8. For the buttercream frosting: add the butter and cream cheese to a freestanding mixer and beat until smooth. Gradually beat in the Form Vanilla Protein Powder and the icing sugar, until really smooth and fluffy. Continue to beat for 1 minute more.
  9. Place the frosting in a piping bag with a star-shaped (or other) nozzle and pipe on the frosting. Decorate with sprinkles.
  10. Enjoy straight away or keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for 1 month, wrapped well, and allow to defrost before decorating.

Shop the recipe

Stay in touch

I look forward to hearing what you think of these Birthday Vanilla Protein Cupcakes so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review. If you do make them, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With protein cupcake love x

p.s. this recipe was first made with Form Nutrition but all opinions are my own, and this blog post is not sponsored.

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