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  • Kathi

Vegan Valentine Cupcakes with Hidden Design

As we all know, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. But with these sweet cupcakes, you're also eating with your eyes.

Vegan Valentine Cupcakes with Hidden Design

For all lovers here comes the perfect dessert for Valentine's Day. The cupcake is not only a real eye-catcher on the outside. Inside hides a so-called hidden design - a motif that is baked into the dough and only appears after cutting.

This recipe has really cost me many nerves and sleepless nights. The first time I tried it, it was a complete mess because not only was the cookie cutter way too big, but the dough changed color from bright pink to bright orange after baking. The second time I tried a different coloring technique, whereupon the red dough was brown after baking. So again, I blew it.

But since all good things are three, I gave it one last (desperate) try and was rewarded. Finally the cupcakes looked at the end as I had imagined. So in order that you do not have a nice result on the plate only after several failed attempts, here are my hidden design cupcakes survival tips:

The right size of the cutter:

If you are using a regular muffin tray or muffin silicone cups, the heart cutter should have a size between 2 and 3 cm (measured from the tip of the heart to the point between the two arches. Otherwise, the hearts will later stick out too far from the cupcakes and the Hidden Design will not be as hidden.

This happens when the hearts are too big (and the dough is too orange).
The perfect cutter size.

The color:

Since the common red baking colors are unfortunately not vegan (they contain real carmine, which is extracted from scale insects), another alternative was needed. So I started my first attempt with a vegan food coloring (color: pink). Unfortunately, I only read that this color is not baking stable when I took the orange dough out of the oven. For coloring the frosting, however, it worked perfectly.

Second, pure beet powder was used (anyone who has ever processed fresh beet without gloves knows what coloring power the root has. For reasons I don't understand (chemistry or just bad karma) the cake turned out brown in the end.

The last attempt was a desperate mix of different red foods. In addition, a friend gave me the tip that acid ensures that the red color is better preserved. Said - done! And I would not have dreamed of a more beautiful result. A rich pink and completely without artificial colors. The mix of frozen and dehydrated raspberries with beet juice and in combination with the acidity of the apple cider vinegar has ultimately worked!

Beet powder is obviously not suitable for coloring a dough red or pink.

For 13 - 14 cupcakes you need:

For the pink color:

  • 100g frozen raspberries

  • 20g dehydrated raspberries

  • 250ml beet juice

For the pink batter (hidden design hearts):

  • 250g light spelt flour

  • 40g cornstarch

  • 125g sugar

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • 1 pck. baking powder

  • 125ml neutral vegetable oil

  • 250ml unsweetened soy milk

  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

  • some ground vanilla

  • the pink color

For the chocolate muffins:

  • 250g light spelt flour

  • 50g baking cocoa

  • 120g sugar

  • 1 pck. baking powder

  • some ground vanilla

  • 75ml neutral vegetable oil

  • 400ml unsweetened vegetable milk

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 100 g Alsan, soft ( room temperature)

  • 300 g powdered sugar

  • 200 g vegan cream cheese, plain

  • 1 pck. vegan pink food coloring


  • Sugar hearts for the decoration

  • 1 piping bag with large star nozzle

  • 1 heart-shaped cookie cutter (2 - 3 cm)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F top-/ bottom heat.

  2. Defrost the frozen raspberries (the fastest way is to put them in the microwave for a few seconds).

  3. For the pink color, mix the defrosted raspberries with the dehydrated raspberries and the beet juice.

  4. Pass the mixture through a hair sieve to remove the raspberry seeds.

  5. For the pink dough, sift the flour and starch into a bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients to make a batter.

  6. Grease a small loaf pan, dust it with a little flour and pour in the batter.

  7. Put the cake in the oven for about 40 minutes (test it with a stick!).

  8. When the cake is ready, let it cool a bit, take it out of the pan and let it cool completely.

  9. Then cut down slices the width of your cookie cutter.

  10. Cut out about 14 hearts and put them aside for later.

  11. You can either eat the rest of the cake as is or use it as a base for cake pops. Of course, you can also freeze it and use it another time.

  12. Now combine all the ingredients for the chocolate batter.

  13. If you are using a muffin pan, line it with small paper cups. If you use silicone molds, you can start right away.

  14. Fill the cups about 1/3 with the chocolate batter.

  15. Now place a heart in the center and gently press it into the dough.

  16. Fill the cups with the rest of the chocolate batter so that the hearts are completely covered.

  17. The muffins now go into the oven for about 20 minutes at 350°F top- / bottom heat.

  18. When the muffins are ready, carefully remove them from the muffin tray and let them cool completely.

  19. For the frosting, put the vegan cream cheese, the Alsan and the powdered sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until smooth.

  20. Divide the frosting into 2 halves and color one half with the pink food coloring.

  21. Decorate the cupcakes with the frosting using a piping bag and a star nozzle (either make one part of the cupcakes white and one pink or use a technique for a two-tone design).

  22. If the frosting is too soft, just put it in the freezer for a few minutes.

  23. Lastly, decorate the cupcakes with the candy hearts and refrigerate until ready to use.

Happy Valentine's Day

Tip: To ensure that the hidden design appears when I cut the cupcake, I make a small mark on the mold. So I know where the front of the hearts is and how I have to cut the cupcake later.

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