Vegan Green Tea Cupcakes

Green Tea #Cupcakes, inspired by Starbucks' #Green #Tea #Frappucino | #desserts Before I get into these vegan green tea cupcakes, I want to talk about my fitness progress. A few posts ago, I talked about my body image issues and my struggle with my self-esteem. In that post I kind of mentioned that I would be implementing some sort of a fitness plan for myself to improve my health, body, and self-esteem. I can definitely say that I’ve been keeping up with my regiment.

For the first week, I did the following:

  • 20 crunches,
  • 5 push ups (but I resorted to push-ups from my knees instead of my toes),
  • 20 mountain climbers,
  • 30 second plank, and
  • 50 jumping jacks.

The following week:

  • 30 crunches,
  • 7 push ups (two of them were real ones, the other 5 were wimpy ones from the knees),
  • 20 squats,
  • 30 lunges,
  • 75 jumping jacks,
  • 30 second plank.

Week 3 has started and with my intermittent swimming over the past 3 weeks (30-45 minutes of laps):

  • 3o crunches
  • 10 push ups (real ones!)
  • 20 bicycle crunches (for obliques)
  • 20 squats
  • 30 lunges
  • 80 jumping jacks
  • 30 second plank.

Green Tea #Cupcakes, inspired by Starbucks' #Green #Tea #Frappucino | #desserts

I’ve started to see an improvement in my arms mostly, and my abs are peeking through my belly. I feel stronger, especially with my quads, and I’m working to improve my glutes because I want a butt. Hopefully by the end of the summer, I’ll be toned and feeling good in my own skin.

While I haven’t particularly changed my diet that much, I’ve increased my water intake to at least about 4-6 glasses per day—not the recommended 8 cups—but a person can only frequent the bathroom so many times before it seems ridiculous. I’ve stopped drinking juice (this habit I dropped since around Christmas because juice just got too heavy to carry home from the grocery store). Over the winter season, I developed a small obsession with loose leaf teas, particularly green teas and variations of earl grey. Now drinking tea in excess is not great for you, but regularly and moderately, I see a lot of health benefits, including hydration, antioxidants, and detoxing agents.

That’s enough about my exercise and diet though. And excuse me as I harness my outer asian and drink my tea.

I’m not a huge coffee person. I like the taste, but I get too jittery and hyper whenever I drink it. (Vietnamese coffee is a weakness of a mine, but I’ll get into more about that next week). However, I’ve always liked my tea; usually strong and without milk or sugar. So whenever I go to Starbucks, I usually just get some sort of frappuccino or a tea latte—my favourite being a London Fog. I thought, why not turn a frappuccino of some sort into a cupcake? So I polled my followers on instagram and facebook, and green tea flavoured cupcakes were the most popular in demand. I love matcha powder and green tea ice cream is one of my favourite flavours, so I thought, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Green Tea #Cupcakes, inspired by Starbucks' #Green #Tea #Frappucino | #desserts

I was so sad that one of my cupcakes fell over, I wanted to document the little “splat” I heard when the cupcake hit the table. The light in this photo is a little dark, but I also wanted to show the underside of the cupcake to show the colour. I added a fair bit of matcha powder to get a strong flavour and a strong green colour in the batter. I originally had a coconut whipped cream topping, but that failed horribly, so I opted for a classic American frosting made with shortening instead of butter to keep it vegan and to have a pure, white colour in the frosting. I didn’t really care much for it, because I find buttercream in general too sweet for my tastes, but these received positive reviews, frosting and all.

Green Tea #Cupcakes, inspired by Starbucks' #Green #Tea #Frappucino | #desserts

I looked through so many recipes of cupcakes. A ton had extra egg whites, some actually steeped the milk in green tea, and those options just sounded too complicated for me. I came across some recipes that used a vanilla cupcake recipe and replaced the vanilla with matcha powder, and I thought, “GENIUS”. I have a delicious vanilla cupcake recipe that I can convert into this delicious concoction. To complicate things further, I wanted to make them vegan (I also ran out of eggs). With my vegan success from my coconut cupcakes, I decided to go with the flax meal to replace eggs as a bonding agent in the batter. The cupcakes turned out beautifully; moist, fluffy, and light. A perfect texture and crumb.

Green Tea #Cupcakes, inspired by Starbucks' #Green #Tea #Frappucino | #desserts

Since I made these for my roommate’s birthday, I needed to make an aesthetically pleasing buttercream to display for her party. The shortening-based buttercream ensured that it would stay put even in the hot weather, and that the frosting would pipe well on to the cupcakes. My roommate LOVES mini cupcakes, so I made a bunch of mini ones for her (24 mini cupcakes) as well as a batch of regular sized ones (12 cupcakes) for my photos.

So there you have it. A Starbucks frappucino turned into a cupcake. The only way to make this better is to successfully make the frosting into a coconut whipped cream instead of the shortening-based buttercream, but alas. Coconut whipped cream and I are not friends in the kitchen.

For those who are curious: the regular cupcakes are rose-piped with a 5 star open tip (1M Wilton I believe) and the mini cupcakes are piped with a 12 star closed tip. I sprinkled a little coconut on top to cover the middle piping smudge that the tip leaves behind.

Vegan Green Tea Cupcakes
  • - 1 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
  • - 1½ cup white granulated sugar (Redpath is vegan)
  • - 3 tbsp + 1 tsp flax meal
  • - 8 tbsp warm water
  • - 3 cups flour
  • - 2½ tsp baking powder
  • - 1 tsp baking soda
  • - 1 tsp salt (if your butter is salted, omit this)
  • - 2 tbsp matcha green tea powder
  • - 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (use rice milk or soy if you want to keep it nut-free)
  • - (Buttercream)
  • - 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • - 3 cups icing sugar
  • - 4 tbsp coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, line 24 regular sized cupcake molds with paper cups or 48 mini cupcake molds.
  2. Using a mixer, cream the Earth Balance and sugar until pale and creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flax meal and warm water and let sit until the mixture thickens.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, matcha powder, and salt (unless the Earth Balance is already salty).
  5. Add the flax meal mixture to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.
  6. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the almond milk until all ingredients are incorporated.
  7. Divide among cupcake liners and bake for 15-20 minutes if you're baking mini-cupcakes, or 25-30 minutes if you'e baking regular sized cupcakes. Poke a toothpick or a cake tester into the cupcakes and if it comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.
  8. Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.
  9. To make the buttercream, cream the vegetable shortening, icing sugar, and coconut milk together and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes.


    • says

      I should have probably mentioned that the matcha powder I used was second harvest matcha powder, so it’s a little cheaper than the first harvest. I forget what the difference is but first harvest has certain health benefits that second harvest doesn’t, and vice versa.
      Lisa Mai recently posted…Vegan Green Tea CupcakesMy Profile

  1. Donna Aleman says

    These cupcakes sound sooo good!! However, I have two questions:
    1. Could chai seeds replace the flax meal?Do you think they would taste as good?
    2. I love vanilla frosting so if i added a splash of vanilla to the buttercream frosting would it make a difference in taste?

    • says

      If you mean chia seeds, then I believe it would work. Basically it’s an egg replacer, but I’ve never used chia seeds before. I think on my package of chia seeds it mentions something about only using the jelly, and not the seeds? Not 100% sure. As for the frosting, I didn’t want to overpower the matcha with vanilla, which is why I went with the more muted coconut flavour. But if that’s what you’re into, I say go for it ;)

  2. vanessa tan says

    Hi, its me again..
    Can I use your recipe to make an 8″ birthday cake?
    If I want to make a vanilla cake, can I also use back your recipe by omitting the matcha green tea powder and replace with 2 teaspoon of vanilla?
    I use self-raising flour instead of all-purpose flour. Is that all right?
    thanks in advance

    • says

      Hi Vanessa,

      I’ve never made it as a cake before, but this recipe is adapted from my vanilla cake recipe, so you can replace the matcha powder with vanilla for sure. If you use self-raising flour, you could omit the baking powder and baking soda..? I’m not 100% sure because I only ever use AP flour. I think though, make sure you grease and flour the inside of the cake pan to reduce sticking, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper too. Bake the 8″ cake probably for about 35 minutes, but check probably at the 30 minute mark with a cake tester to see if there are any crumbs or batter stuck to the cake tester/toothpick when you poke it in the middle.

  3. Alex says

    I tried to make these but I substituted the flax egg for a real egg, which would have been fine, if not for the fact that I added one too many eggs…. the result was a very firm cupcake of sadness.

    Will try again when done crying.


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