This recipe is part of our Fair Trade Holiday Recipe Series. Go beyond the basics this winter and try baking with Fair Trade Certified sugar, cocoa, vanilla and spices. 

Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, these light and luscious cupcakes are so good they won our office Holiday Bake-Off. Made with Fair Trade Certified sugar, vanilla, and tea, they’re a creative approach to a classic dessert. Once you try one, you’ll never look at vegan baking the same way again. 



























Yield: 12 cupcakes

Cake Ingredients:

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) nonhydrogenated margarine
  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening 
  • 2 cups Fair Trade Certified powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1/4 cup soy, almond or coconut milk
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line tin with cupcake liners. Heat soy milk until almost boiling, add the tea and citrus zest, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid to remove the tea leaves.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and tea mixture until all yogurt lumps disappear. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and then combine with the wet ingredients. Mix until large lumps disappear; some small lumps are ok.

To bake the cake:

Fill tins full and bake about 20 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool. Makes 1 dozen.

To make the frosting:

Cream the margarine and shortening until smooth.  Then gradually beat in the powdered sugar and non-dairy milk until the mixture is very fluffy. Zest the lemon over the bowl into the frosting, add the lemon juice and stir until smooth.


Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread or pipe the frosting on top. You can put the frosting in a zip-lock bag and cut off the bottom corner to create your own piping tool. Garnish with sprinkles or edible flowers.