Remember the ever-popular Sprinkles cupcake era of 2010; when Cupcake Wars was the best show on TV and gourmet cupcake shops were popping up at every corner? Cupcakes were adored by the little ones for birthday parties but also by the Grandmothers who loved pairing them with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
During that time period I learned that ordinary cupcake flavors almost always disappointed me. When I went to local cupcake shops, I stuck to the classics: chocolate with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, strawberry, red velvet, vanilla birthday cake, etc. They were never magical enough for me to want to return for another.
I remember the first time I chose something out of the ordinary: a mango cupcake with a mango orange buttercream. My goodness, it was downright sensational! From that moment, I vowed to choose the surprising, unique cupcakes flavors over basic bettys.
Today’s recipe was inspired by a lemon pistachio doughnut at Stan’s Donuts in Chicago. Tony took me there for my birthday breakfast and we ordered about 6 of their doughnuts (so we can have a bite of each!); we knew the lemon pistachio flavor stood out by a mile because it was devoured in less than two minutes.
This time I wanted to create a vegan cupcake that was similar to Stan’s famous donut. I opted for pistachio cupcakes with beautiful with the beautiful spring flavors of lemon and blueberry.
How do you make these cupcakes vegan and gluten free?
I used soy free vegan buttery sticks for the both the cupcake and frosting and seriously, you’d never be able to tell that they’re vegan.
Did I mention they’re gluten free too?! This means that anyone will be able to enjoy these beauties. They’re moist with a light crumb and the lemon buttercream frosting is the perfectly fluffy, sweet and tart. Keeping your fingers out of the frosting bowl is going to be pretty difficult, so good luck.
I love that you can actually taste the pistachios in the cupcake without having to use pistachio pudding flavor additives. The lemon flavor is also very prominent, making the cupcakes feel fresh and light.
I hope you love these cupcakes as much as I did. They’d make the perfect Easter or party dessert. If you make these, please let me know by leaving a comment below or snap a photo, upload it to Instagram and tag #ambitiouskitchen! xo.
More gluten free desserts you’ll love:
Healthy Lemon Bars (gluten free, dairy free & paleo!)
The Best Gluten Free Chocolate chip Cookies You’ll Ever Eat
Gluten Free Peach Crisp with Salted Coconut Milk Caramel
Lightened Up Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Vegan and Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Pistachio Cupcakes
Lemon Blueberry Pistachio Cupcakes with the best fluffy lemon buttercream on the planet. Vegan & Gluten Free.
- 1 1/2 cups oat flour
- 1 cup shelled roasted pistachios (pistachios without the shells)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan soy free buttery sticks
- 2/3 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- For the vegan lemon buttercream
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan soy free buttery stick
- 1 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- For garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and spray the inside of the liners with cooking spray.
Add pistachios to a food processor or high powdered blender and process for about 45 seconds until pistachios are finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add in oat flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk together to combine.
In a separate large bowl, mix together lemon juice, almond milk, melted Earth Balance vegan butter, sugar, almond extract, apple cider vinegar and flaxseed meal until well combined.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries.
Divide batter evenly into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 23-27 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached.
Transfer to wire rack to cool for 5 minutes then remove cupcakes from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cupcakes have cooled completed (at least 1 hour), you can make the frosting: Using a stand or hand mixer, whip butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest together until light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes however you like and garnish with pistachios and extra blueberries, if desired.
The frosting makes just enough to frost each cupcake very lightly. If you'd like more and want them to be actual cupcake-like frosting, I recommend doubling the frosting portion of the recipe.
The cupcakes are very delicious without frosting too, if you want to enjoy them as is. Nutrition for 1 cupcake without frosting: 179 calories | 6.6g fat | 26.1g carb | 2.8g fiber | 12.4g sugar | 4.8g fiber
These look incredible Monique! Cupcake Wars is still one of my favorite Food Network shows next to Chopped.
These sound delicious. I was cupcake obsessed a couple years ago watching all the cupcake wars and went to the Sprinkles cupcake ATM. Though my favorite cupcake place in Chicago is Molly’s cupcakes. Then I moved to Philly and in the summer there was a cupcake truck at Love park and almost every Friday I would get a cupcake from there.
Beautiful! I’m with you, the unique flavours are always the best!
I love Cupcake Wars! Such a fun show with delicious cupcake pooooorn 😛 I think that if you owned a bakery, you’d snatch the grand prize on the show! Especially with these phenomenal blueberry pistachio cupcakes–they are such an awesome idea!
These are absolutely perfect! I will say I’ve always gone for the basic flavors (vanilla over chocolate, with vanilla icing) but in the last couple years I’ve tried other flavors and boy was I missing out!! These are so beautiful and I’m sure just as delicious.
Vegan!? And gluten free?!! How magical. Can’t wait to try these!!
I’m loving the sound of this flavor combo. Definitely want to make these!
Totally love the surprise blueberry inside. But the lemon and pistachios are what will keep me coming back for another bite.
There’s so much yumminess going on here it’s insane! These are so my kinda cupcake!
My contribution to Easter dinner at my sister’s this year is dessert. Can’t wait to wow the family with these babies!
These are so beautiful! I love the flavors together and the pistachios are a great addition!
These cupcakes are gorgeous, lady! I love the flavor combo of lemon blueberry and pistachio.
And I have major respect for using oat flour!! I was working on this same campaign and tried making vegan + gluten-free cupcakes with oat flour last week and couldn’t get them to work.
These are some of the prettiest cupcakes I’ve seen in a long time! And pistachio, lemon and blueberry…match made in heaven.
Have you and Tony been to Do-Rite Donuts yet?! I prefer them to Stan’s and they have a Meyer-Lemon Pistachio Old Fashioned that is killer! And now I’m drooling and need to make these cupcakes ASAP.
Mmm these cakes look delicious, great flavours too. ☺️
Can I use regular all purpose flour instead of the oat flour and use regular butter? that’s all i have and i have no experience with vegan butter or oat flour. i really love this recipe! pistachios and blueberries? knockout!
So I made this in cake form and i think it was just beautiful and the texture was so good for not having eggs. flavour was amazing i hear. i did the dumbest thing! i made it for a family member who lives far away so when i made this i forgot to make a tiny cupcake for me to taste and i didn’t think cutting into the cake would be presentable so i didnt get to taste it. but anyway i love the idea of this cake-lemon/pistachio/blueberry what a combo! no eggs yasss! but i kept mine non vegan using 2% cow milk and regular butter as well plus added regular flour for half the oats because i had a bad experience with making something entirely oat. im gonna try your recipe again exactly as it is this time! thank you so much!
I made these for a graduation party where we needed a gluten-free and vegan dessert. I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out delicious!! I will make them again even if there are no special dietary restrictions – so glad I doubled the recipe so I had a few extras at home 🙂
I’m not sure what I did wrong. I also followed the recipe exactly, but they did not rise in the oven, and deflated.
Would it be possible to make a flax egg instead of using cornstarch?
Hi, wondering if coconut oil could be substituted for the buttery stuff? Thanks, Allyssa
That should work!
If I don’t need vegan how many eggs should I use?
I would use 1 egg
I made these today, followed the recipe almost exactly and they tasted strongly of baking soda and were dry (despite baking them for a shorter amount of time). I won’t be bothering to make them again. I made some other vegan/gluten free cupcakes and they turned out perfectly.
That seems odd! I’ll have to retest the recipe as I’ve never had an issue with the baking time or the baking soda levels. So sorry about that!!
These are soooo good! I see the recipe has changed though. Do you still have the old recipe I can reference some where? That’s the one I have used in the past. 🙁
Hi Erika! Good catch – I did update this recipe. For the old one: use 1 tablespoon of the buttery stick (instead of 3) and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (instead of flaxseed meal). Enjoy!
I made these in cupcake form and they were delicious!!! I’d like to make my birthday cake using the recipe, but in cake form. Do you know how I’d adjust the baking time and temperature?
Glad you loved them! And sure, bake in 2 8-inch cake pans at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until tester comes out clean!
Wow! Super yummy! My husband has no idea that they are vegan 🙂 what a brilliant recipe. I specially enjoyed the ground pistachios, you can really taste the difference from pistachio “flavored” baked goods.
Perfect! Glad you both enjoyed 🙂
I made these today and they sunk 🤦🏼♀️ But I also accidentally poured the almond milk in the dry ingredient bowl while talking to my daughter. Yay for frosting over the sins lol I haven’t tried them completed yet, but the batter is amazing!
Oops! I bet they’ll still be delicious!
Omg these cupcakes are to die for. The creativity of the blend of flavors is unimaginable… who would have thought of putting together pistachios lemon a d blueberries… divine
hi monique….. saludos from mexico city
quick question can i use regular butter instead of earth balance soy free buttery sticks
as we dont get those here
will that work
awaiting your reply as cant wait to make these
they look simply divine
Hi, there!! Totally fine to use regular butter in here 🙂 Enjoy!