Custard cream biscuits are such a classic British treat, and now vegans can enjoy this nostalgic bake too!
With their lovely yellow colour, delicate custard flavour and sweet, creamy buttercream filling, these homemade vegan custard creams are the perfect treat to enjoy with a cup of tea.
Custard creams used to be one of my favourite shop bought biscuits, unfortunately they are not vegan friendly however, so I haven't been able to have them in many years.
Fortunately they are very easy to make at home and just require a few simple swaps to make them vegan so everyone can enjoy them!
What Are Custard Creams?:
Custard creams are one of the most popular biscuits in the UK, believed to have been invented in the 1900s. They are crisp shortbread style biscuits with a light custard flavour and are sandwiched together with a sweet vanilla buttercream.
Shop bought custard creams always come in an iconic rectangular shape, with the words “custard cream” and a squiggly baroque pattern imprinted onto them. You can buy cookie cutters that replicate the classic design, but you can use any cutters you want.
Custard powder: This is what gives the biscuits their classic flavour. As custard powder is mostly made from cornflour (cornstarch), it also gives them a nice, light, crisp texture. Most custard powders are vegan friendly (such as Bird's Eye), but do check the packet just in case.
Vegan block butter: Please, for the love of holy baking, use a block butter/margarine to make these cookies, not the spreadable kind in a tub.
Spreadable will likely make the dough too soft, and the biscuits may be more tough as it contains more water.
You also need to use a block butter for the buttercream otherwise you risk it splitting. I recommend Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Butter.
Plain flour: Just regular plain (all-purpose) flour is best here. I haven't tried making these gluten-free.
Sugar: I use caster sugar in the dough, though granulated or icing sugar will also work. You will also need icing (powdered) sugar for the buttercream.
Vanilla extract: Use a good quality vanilla extract for the best flavour. If you have it then vanilla bean paste would be amazing instead.
Milk: Custard creams are often made with egg. To replace the moisture from the egg I use a drop of plant milk. Any kind of unsweetened non-dairy milk will work but I always prefer to use soy for baking.
How To Make Vegan Custard Creams:
(Full measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page)
Step 1: Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and milk together until smooth.
Step 2: Mix in the custard powder until combined.
Step 3: Add the flour and mix to form a soft, smooth dough. Chill the dough if it is too soft to roll out.
Step 4: Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out as many cookies as possible. Re-roll the scraps to cut out more cookies.
Step 5: Place the cookies spaced apart on a couple of lined baking sheets and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Step 6: Bake for 12-15 minutes until pale golden.
Step 7: Once the cookies have cooled, whisk the butter until smooth then add the vanilla, custard powder and icing sugar and whisk until smooth and fluffy.
Step 8: Spread a thin layer of buttercream over half of the biscuits, top with another biscuit, gently pressing it onto the buttercream.
All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
Do not overwork the dough as that will develop the gluten in the flour resulting in chewy biscuits. Just mix it until it is fully combined then use your hands to bring it together.
If the dough is too soft to roll out, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate it for an hour to firm up.
Freezing the cookies before baking them helps to stop them from spreading in the oven.
Don't roll the dough out too thickly otherwise the biscuits won't be crisp enough. About 4mm thick is perfect.
Make sure the biscuits are completely cool before adding the buttercream otherwise it may melt.
The wrapped dough will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let it sit out at room temperature for about half an hour or so before rolling it out if it gets too firm.
The unbaked cookies can be frozen. Cut out the cookies and freeze them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-proof container. The cookies can be baked straight from the freezer, no need to defrost them first.
The unfilled custard creams will keep for around a week in an airtight container. Once filled with buttercream, they are best eaten on the same day as they may start to soften but they will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
More Vegan Biscuit Recipes:
- Chocolate Viennese whirls
- Vegan hazelnut shortbread
- Vegan lemon sandwich cookies
- Vegan gingerbread
- Vegan shortbread fingers
- Vegan coconut cookies
- Vegan chocolate orange shortbread
If you tried this recipe let me know how it went! Rate it, leave a comment or tag @domestic_gothess on Instagram and hashtag it #domesticgothess
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Vegan Custard Creams
- 160 g (⅔ cup) vegan block butter slightly softened
- 65 g (¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon) caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 65 g (7 Tablespoons) custard powder
- 200 g (1+ ⅔ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 50 g (scant ¼ cup) vegan block butter softened
- 100 g (scant cup) icing (powdered) sugar sifted
- 1 Tablespoon custard powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and milk together in a large bowl until smooth. Don't beat the mixture for too long, you don't want to incorporate too much air.
- Add the custard powder and stir until combined.
- Add the flour and mix to form a soft, smooth dough. If the dough feels too soft to roll out, wrap it and chill it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes until it has firmed up a bit..
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 4mm thick and use your choice of cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible. Bring together the scraps and re-roll to cut out more cookies.
- Place the cookies slightly spaced apart on the lined baking sheets and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180℃/160℃ fan/350℉/gas mark 4.
- Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes until pale golden. Allow to cool on the baking sheets foor a minute or two then carefully transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- To make the buttercream, whisk the butter until smooth then add the vanilla, custard powder and icing sugar and whisk until smooth and fluffy.
- Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the base of half of the biscuits, top each one with another biscuit, gently pressing it onto the buttercream.
- See post above for tips, details and step-by-step photos.
- All of my recipes are developed using grams, and as with all of my baking recipes I really do recommend using the metric measurements with a digital scale rather than the cup conversions. Cups are a wildly inaccurate measuring system and you will get far better, more consistent results using a scale, not to mention that it is also easier and less messy than cups!
- Make sure the biscuits are completely cool before adding the buttercream otherwise it may melt.