Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes


Talk about one adorable belly bump (oh good grief, my ovaries are starting to scream down below!), Ella of Pure Ella is one of those pregnant gals that makes it look effortlessly and is simply flawless. I just want to reach out and talk in my high-pitched baby voice to that belly (only with permission, of course). Yeah, I’m that crazy lady.


 A bunch of ladies who know and adore Ella decided to put together a Virtual Gluten-Free Vegan Baby Shower for her since having one in person was unfortunately not an option (a shout-out to Meg of Beard and Bonnet for organizing all of this!). These dishes are a labor of love in honor of Ella’s to-be labor of love who is due next month. My choice in food? Gluten-free Vegan Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes (shocker that I chose to make a baked good, right?) These cupcakes are blended with fresh lemon juice and zest, filled with a homemade (easy too!) blackberry filling, and topped with a lemon-infused icing, tinted yellow from dry turmeric. Oh and there is a secret ingredient inside the batter that makes these moist…

 Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes (Gluten-Free Vegan) - Fork & Beans

Vegan mayonnaise.

These are actually the first cupcakes that I tried making with vegan mayo and I will say that they are my best to date. I didn’t lose you, now did I? I ‘ve had a really difficult time trying to get a good tasting gluten-free vegan vanilla cupcake so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try the mayo technique. The great aspect of using a vegan mayo in baked goods is that it actually takes the place of the egg replacers and the oil.

*If this weirds you out too much, keep in mind that 1/4 c. of mayo subs out 1 egg or egg substitute. With most vegan cupcake recipes only two egg replacers are called for (which is where one part of the 1/2 c. mayo comes from). Instead just use two egg replacers of your choice. Check this post out for help. Since this recipe calls for 1 cup mayo total, the other 1/2 c. can be replaced with oil. I am not guaranteeing the same results this way however I am speculating that it should work out.

 Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes (Gluten-Free Vegan) - Fork & Beans



Gluten-free Vegan Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 16
Wet ingredients
  • 1 c. vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • ⅔ c. fresh lemon juice (approx. 3-4 lemons)
  • ⅓ c. nondairy milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • zest from 2 lemons
Dry ingredients
  • ¾ c. superfine brown rice flour
  • ¾ c. white rice flour
  • ¾ c. arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the mayo and sugar together for 1 minute.
  4. Add the lemon juice, nondairy milk, vanilla, and zest and blend in until combined.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat in until combined. Repeat with the remainder dry ingredients.
  6. Pour batter into the muffin tin (you will need to work in batches as this recipe makes approx. 16 cupcakes, depending on the amount you place into the tin). Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes bounce back nicely when gently touched.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 16 Calories: 206 Fat: 11g Saturated fat: 2g Unsaturated fat: 8g Carbohydrates: 26g Sugar: 13g Sodium: 172mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 1g Cholesterol: 6mg
Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes (Gluten-Free Vegan) - Fork & Beans


Lemon Frosting and Blackberry Filling
Cook time
Total time
For the Lemon Icing
  • 1 c. non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
For the Blackberry Filling
  • ½ c. water
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 2 c. fresh blackberries (or frozen)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
For the Lemon Frosting
  1. Blend the shortening and 1 c. of powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium-speed. Gradually add the sugar by the cup until fully incorporated.
  2. Throw in the lemon juice and turmeric and blend until just combined. Your frosting should be fluffy and thick.
For the Blackberry Filling
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and lemon juice until there are no clumps. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add the blackberries and simmer for 5 minutes or until soft enough to smash down with a wooden spoon. You want some chunks in there so it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth but you want it to be thick.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch lemon juice mix until combined.
  5. Allow to cool.
  6. Cut out a 1" intact circle in the middle of the cupcake once they are completely cooled. Pipe the blackberry filling inside and then cover back with the intact cupcake circle.
  7. Pipe the frosting over the cupcake.
Pipes 16 cupcakes.
If you aren't piping the frosting, you might want to half the recipe.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 16 Calories: 223 Fat: 13g Saturated fat: 3g Unsaturated fat: 9g Trans fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 28g Sugar: 26g Sodium: 2mg Fiber: 1g
To see the entire spread of incredibly gluten-free vegan food goodness, check out all of these fabulous links:

Kris of 80 Twenty (Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

Meg of Beard and Bonnet (Shower Worthy Tea Sandwiches)

Emma of Coconut & Berries (Strawberry Orange Rosewater Smoothie

Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen (Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes )

Ashley of My Heart Beets (Artichoke Hummus)

Jenny of Nourished Kitchen (Cultured Coconut Milk & Mango Popsicles)

Gina of So…Let’s Hang Out (Cucumber Mint Limeade)

Beth of Tasty Yummies (Sprouted Hummus Cucumber Cups)

Rika of Vegan Miam (Sweet Potato Dumplings in Ginger and Jasmine Syrup {Tang Yuan})

Richa of Vegan Richa (Dark Chocolate Silk Pie) 

Gabby of The Veggie Nook (Lemon Poppyseed Truffles) 

Sherrie of With Food + Love (Blackberry + Mango Fruit Salad with Earl Grey Whipped Coconut Cream)

Sylvie of Gourmande In The Kitchen (Hibiscus, Strawberry, & Rhubarb Iced Tea)





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  1. Laura Catron says:

    My son cannot have Vegan mayo as he cannot have soy, is there a substitute for the mayo in this recipe? He cannot have dairy, eggs, soy, and on and on.

  2. Hi Cara! Your recipes are awesome–cake I make this into a 2 layer round cake or would I have to double the recipe?

  3. Hi Cara! Every time I attempt to make gluten free vegan cupcakes it is a disaster! I followed this recipe exactly as it says and I had the same results. They were yucky and gummy inside. Any thoughts on what I’m doing wrong? Thanks!
    P.S. You are awesome and so creative!

    • Aw man Jeanne–don’t I know what you are talking about! The good news is that all this sounds like to me is an oven temperature/baking time issue. To make sure your oven is at the correct temp, I would buy an oven thermometer. Also, from the sound of it, you probably just need more baking time in your oven (are you at sea level or high altitude? This can affect your results too). You can also try experimenting with placing a dish halfway full of hot water on the rack below you baked good while in the oven. This will help steam the heck out of the insides. Hopefully this helps and get you to baking up awesome cupcakes in no time! Let me know if you need anything else, xo.

  4. HOLY COW – that filling!! Are you kidding me right now?

    #needwholedozen #pleaseandthankyou

  5. At first I thought you’d made the icing with mayo and I thought, ‘THAT IS JUST TOO WEIRD, CARA, TOO WEIRD.’ But it’s only in the cakes, so I can deal with that. 😉

    Congrats to Ella!!

  6. These look scrummy – I have a friend who is gluten free although not a vegan, I think that she would love these. Could regular mayo be used???

  7. can I use coconut oil for the frosting?

  8. Such a smart idea, I’ve seen a few cake recipe that use mayo for moistness but never a vegan one!

  9. OMG stop it, these are just WAY too adorable. Seriously you kill me with your baked goods. Early on in the planning, I thought for a second about doing mini cupcakes so we’d have a dessert, then I heard you signed on and I was all “NOPE I’ll let Cara work her amazing magic. BAM here you are.

  10. Lemony desserts are just my cup of tea! And I have a freezer full of blackberries year round because of going a little crazy picking the wild ones which grow around here 😉
    P.S. Those little animal cupcake toppers are adorable!

  11. *Face plants into plate of cupcakes because of how delicious they look I can’t even handle it*

    Oh wait, this is virtual, so I didn’t ruin anything don’t worry 😉 How I wish I could eat 1 (or 3) of these! Beautiful! I’ve always been intrigues by mayo in desserts- I’ll have to give these a go soon! Especially since I’m newly super strict gluten-free!

  12. omg! these cupcakes are sooo adorable and the mini animals ..i am just going to die of your cuteness. remind me to squeeze you tight for an entire hour when i meet you, so that i can get some of the cuteness and awesomeness rubbed off on me.

  13. These are so super cute and I love the lemon/blackberry combo – sounds delish! Is it weird that I wasn’t weirded out by the mayo sub? 😉 I’ll try anything for moist, decadent vegan cupcakes!

  14. hippymomelizabeth says:

    Well glad your happy ELLA! And CARA your friggin cupcakes look so good vegan mayo sounds great Im usually eating some kind of earthbased herbal bark so your mayo is fine with me! But no sugar until my tummy allows. I will probably make a dessert soon for my family…

  15. Cara, these cupcakes look INCREDIBLE. Love the lemon & blackberry combo! And those cupcake toppers couldn’t be any cuter! <3

  16. These cupcakes look adorable, Cara, love the mini animals! How interesting that the cupcake is made of vegan mayo, which brand did you use? And these frostings look so tasty – I would go for the blackberry first! It was so nice to meet you, too, always a pleasure to meet another vegan food blogger…I noticed that we have a lot of mutual blogger friends! :) Im excited to drop by your blog from now on… and see more of your delicious baked goods!

  17. You just put vegan mayo in cupcakes… and I still wanna put them in my face. All of it. At once. I might even forget to take the lion decoration out. Just CHOMP.

  18. Michelle says:

    Yesterday I made chocolate mayo (vegan) cupcakes for my son to take to his class for his birthday. They are so moist and good. I love using mayo in cupcakes…these looks amazing…..

    • They really ARE, aren’t they Michelle? I have no idea why it has taken me so long to do it because the results are fabulous! Next stop, chocolate cupcakes :)

  19. These look great, cant wait to try them. I love the toppers too! Can you tell me where you got the toothpicks?

    • You know, one day my stepmom handed me a box FULL of cupcake liners and various baking goods. The adorable toothpicks came in a box with liners as well, specifically for a baby shower. I know that is so unhelpful but I can almost guarantee that she bought them at TJ Maxx :)

  20. Oh I love you, you crazy lady!
    You can come talk to my belly anytime!!! 😉

    Oh my, these cupcakes are purely divine!! I would just LOVE a bite right now!!
    What a labour-of-love! 😉
    The presentation is just too cute! I love everything you do Cara 😉
    I hope you can now ship me a 6-pack of those delicious little treats!

    Thank you so much for being a part of this day! It is super sweet of all you ladies!
    xo ella

    ps. I am totally digging the vegan mayo – I will be trying this Asap!! 😉 <3

    • Phew! Some people (read: my sister) get weirded out when I do that and it bums me out because I just love bellies! Glad that you like the cupcakes, Ella! xoxo to you and the little one…

  21. These are adorable!! I love them so much, I just want to eat them up. Seriously! Thank you for taking part in Ella’s shower today. I know it means the world to her:)


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