Boston cream pie, an iconic American dessert, is actually not a pie at all, but rather a two-layer yellow cake with vanilla custard or cream sandwiched in between and a shiny chocolate glaze on top. In the past, vegans and dairy-free folks might have had to abstain from this delicious dessert, but I’ve transformed it into fun, surprisingly simple vegan Boston cream cupcakes so that the plant-based eaters of the modern age don’t have to miss out on these classic flavors.

Amelia Popowics

How to Make Vegan Boston Cream Cupcakes 

How do you make a dessert traditionally loaded with eggs, butter, and cream into a delectable vegan treat? It’s actually pretty easy! These Boston cream cupcakes rely on basic pantry ingredients and a little bit of creativity to match the great flavors and textures of the cake that inspired them.

Preparing the vegan vanilla custard that will go inside each cupcake is the first step. Custard is usually made by whisking egg yolks, cream, sugar, and vanilla together on the stovetop until thickened.

A similar process is used here, but with non-dairy milk and a little cornstarch to help the mixture reach the perfect consistency. You can use any non-dairy milk you like, but keep in mind that higher-fat milks will produce a creamier custard. 

Amelia Popowics

While the custard sets in the fridge for a few hours, you can bake the cupcakes. The batter comes together in just one bowl! Simply mix together the dry ingredients, add in the wet ingredients, and fold them together until just combined. Since there’s no butter in this recipe, you won’t even need to get out an electric mixer to whip up these cupcakes!

After the cupcakes are done baking and have cooled down, it’s time to make the chocolate glaze and assemble all the different elements. Core each cupcake and fill each with some of that lovely vanilla custard we prepared earlier.

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To make the chocolate glaze, we’ll melt some vegan chocolate chips and coconut oil until we have a luxuriously smooth and glossy ganache. Spoon the glaze onto each cupcake, spreading it out to the sides with a toothpick or knife, and your vegan Boston cream cupcakes are ready to be devoured!

Vegan Boston Cream Cupcakes

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Total Time:45 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Medium


  • 1 cup non-dairy milk - divided
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract - divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp refined coconut oil
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  • Step 1

    Make the custard filling. Measure out ½ cup non-dairy milk. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and a few tablespoons of the milk until smooth.

  • Step 2

    Pour the rest of the measured-out milk, along with ½ Tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into a small saucepan. Whisk to combine.

  • Step 3

    Bring the mixture in the saucepan to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Add the cornstarch mixture and whisk continuously for about 2 minutes, until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

    Amelia Popowics
  • Step 4

    Turn off the heat and pour the custard into a small jar. Press plastic wrap tightly against the top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Leave in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

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  • Step 5

    To make the cupcakes, first preheat the oven to 400 F. Whisk together the flour, ¼ cup of sugar, 2 teaspoon baking powder, and a pinch of salt in a medium mixing bowl.

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  • Step 6

    Add ½ cup almond milk, applesauce, vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and lemon juice to the bowl. Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix!

    Amelia Popowics
  • Step 7

    Spoon the cupcake batter into 6 lined muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back once touched. Let the cupcakes cool for at least 15 minutes.

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  • Step 8

    Fill the cupcakes. Using an apple corer or a small knife, remove the middle of each cupcake. If the custard is lumpy, push it through a fine mesh sieve or whisk it vigorously until it's smooth. Spoon the custard into each hole until it is completely filled, then place the top of the core back on.

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  • Step 9

    Make the chocolate glaze by melting the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small glass bowl. Microwave the chocolate chips for 10 seconds at a time, until the mixture is completely smooth. Stir in between each interval to prevent the chocolate from burning.

  • Step 10

    Spoon about half a tablespoon of the chocolate glaze onto each cupcake and spread it out to the edges using either a toothpick or a knife. The glaze will harden after a few minutes.

    Amelia Popowics
  • Step 11

    Serve immediately. Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight, sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

I hope you make these delicious vegan Boston cream cupcakes! Who knows? After baking these cupcakes, you might be ready to take on this vegan Boston cream pie recipe, or try your hand at these vegan Boston cream donuts. As long as you have vanilla custard and chocolate glaze, you really can’t go wrong.