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Vegan Hidden Heart Cupcakes

Perfect for Valentine’s Day or as a gift for a loved one any time of year, these cute Vegan Hidden Heart Cupcakes taste as sweet as they look. Vegan, No-Egg, No-Dairy and surprisingly easy to make. Keep reading to learn how to make them.

Half of a cupcake with hidden heart inside.

Vegan Hidden Heart Cupcakes

Who needs roses for Valentine’s day when you can have a hidden heart in a cupcake to share the love!! Can we just take a moment to appreciate how adorable these cupcakes look! A light and fluffy vanilla cupcake topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting. The showstopper is the hidden heart in the middle of the cupcakes. The simple red sponge is also used to decorate the cupcakes. They are simple yet effective, take less than 20 minutes to bake and are simple to decorate. You’re going to absolutely love them and love making them!

Looking for more Valentines recipes, check out my Vegan Valentines Rocky Road, Vegan Nutella Linzer Cookies, Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes and Vegan Single Serve Brownie. More of the BEST vegan Valentines recipes linked here.

Close up of a cupcake with heart on top.

Why you NEED to make hidden heart cupcakes

I mean, you only have to look at these vegan hidden heart cupcakes to be impressed, but in order for you to make them, I have to tell you on the ‘whys’, so here you go:

  • Fully vegan – This recipe doesn’t contain any animal derived ingredients.
  • Simple yet effective design – Simply whip up a batch of vanilla cupcake batter, place a red heart in the middle and bake.
  • Perfect for Valentines Day, Mothers / Father’s day for any special occasion.
  • Fun for kids to make and decorate.
  • They topped with a swirl of whipped, light and creamy cream cheese frosting.
  • Cake batter is simple to whip up, and bakes to perfection.
  • The cupcakes are fluffy and bake with a flat top.
  • Hidden heart is so cute, and looks amazing!
Cupcakes with hidden hearts inside.

How to make hidden heart cupcakes

What I love most about these cupcakes is how easy they are to make. The full written recipe and method are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page. Here is a quick overview of the steps.

  1. Red cake

    Mix up the red cake batter until smooth, pour into a 9×9 square baking tin and bake. Use a small heart cookie cutter to chomp out hearts from the sponge and set aside. Cut out more hearts for the decoration and crumble some for sprinkling over the frosting.

  2. Vanilla cake

    Mix up the vanilla cupcake batter, line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake cases / liners. Add a tablespoon of vanilla cupcake batter into the case, place in a red heart then cover with more vanilla cake batter. Fill the cases 3/4 full. Bake.

  3. Frosting

    Whip up the frosting in a bowl, transfer into a piping bag and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.

  4. Decorating

    Sprinkle red cake crumbs over the cupcakes and place on a red heart.

  5. Serve

    Serve and enjoy!!

Hidden heart cupcakes

How to decorate these cupcakes:

I wanted the decoration of these valentines cupcakes to be simple yet elegant, so I decided to use a Wilton 1M nozzle. You can do this by starting in the centre of the cupcake and piping in a circle motion lifting as you swirl higher. As you reach the top, simple release your grip and you’ll be left with a gorgeous swirl. To give them a ‘red velvet’ effect, crumble up some of the left over red sponge and sprinkle on to the frosting. You want to add this to the freshly piped frosting so it has a chance to stick.

You can also go as crazy as you like with the decorations. Decorate these cupcakes however you like with freeze dried berries, sprinkles, fondant shapes or a drizzle of chocolate.

Tips for making hidden heart cupcakes from scratch

Making cupcakes from scratch is super easy, especially when you have some tips and tricks to help you along the way. Homemade is always 100x more delicious than a boxed cake mix as the flavour, texture and overall baking experience is always so much better! Saying that, I’ve rounded up all the tips to make homemade hidden heart cupcakes making go as smoothly as possible before you get started:

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This is SO IMPORTANT. This will help everything come together smoothly and allow you to beat the air into the batter to get those fluffy cupcakes you’re after.
  • Don’t over mix your batter! Obviously you don’t want huge clumps of flour in your batter, but as soon as everything is smooth, resist the temptation to keep mixing, and trust that you’ve gotten enough air in it during the early stages.
  • Bake the cupcakes the day before. My top tip for making cakes and cupcakes is to make the sponge the day before frosting. Store in an air tight container at room temperature. This will add so much moisture and soften the sponge.

What red colour to use?

  • Use high pigmented red food gel! Food gel doesn’t effect the texture of the bake unlike liquid food colouring, but will add a bright red to the sponge! My go-to is Rainbow Dust Pro Gel. This range is also vegan friendly! You only need a small drop for a vibrant colour which will make the hidden heart ‘pop’ against the vanilla sponge! It’s always better to add small drops of food colour and build it up. You can always add more but you can’t take it away!
  • Use high quality vanilla. The main flavour in these cupcakes is Vanilla, so it’s worth using a high quality vanilla. My favourite is Neilsen-Massey. You could also use vanilla seeds from a vanilla pod, this will also give the cake and frosting a speckled effect.
  • You can utilise the left over red cake: Once you have cut out the heart shapes from the red sheet cake, you will have some offcuts. These obviously make a great snack to share, but you can also use them to decorate the cupcakes too. Simply crumble some of the cake into a bowl and sprinkle the crumbs over the frosting. You can also cut more hearts and place on top of the frosting to showcase what is hidden inside! They look super cute!
Pinterest pin of valentines hidden heart cupcakes.

If you make, and love this recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below. Thank you & happy baking! Make sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram , TikTok and Facebook! Pin this recipe for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, above or below this post, or on any of the photos. Happy baking all!

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Cupcake with a hidden heart in the middle.

Vegan Hidden Heart Cupcakes


Description

The ULTIMATE Valentines Cupcake – Vegan Hidden Heart Cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting, perfect for your loved ones. Vegan, No-Egg, No-Dairy and easy to make. 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Ingredients for the red sponge

  • 210ml of dairy-free milk (soya works best)
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • Drop of red food gel (vegan friendly)
  • 240g of self raising flour
  • 10g of cocoa powder
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 60ml of sunflower oil

Ingredients for the vanilla cupcakes

  • 210ml of dairy-free milk (soya works best)
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 240g of self raising flour
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 60ml of sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Ingredients for the frosting

  • 120g of dairy-free block butter (room temperature)
  • 30g of dairy-free cream cheese
  • 380g of icing sugar / powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Dairy-free milk ( if needed)

Instructions

Method (red cake)

  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC  fan and line a 9×9 square cake tin with grease-proof paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and a few drops of red food. Whisk until fully combined. This creates a vegan buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well to combine.
  4. Add the oil to the ‘buttermilk’ and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.
  6. Pour the red batter into the lined tin, level out with the back of a spoon or off-set spatula. Make sure to tap the tin on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.
  7. Place the cake into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. You will know it’s ready when you put a knife or skewer down the centre of the cake and it comes out clean and it’s springy to the touch.
  8. Place the cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully.
  9. Once cool, using a large serrated knife, trim the top of the cake until flat. Use a mini heart cookie cutter (test the size by placing it into a cupcake case, it should be slightly smaller).
  10. Chomp out hearts from the red cake and set aside. You can also store these in an air tight container until ready to use.
  11. Remaining cake can be stored in an air tight container as a snack. You can also cut more hearts for decoration and crumble for cake crumbs to sprinkle over the frosting. 

Method (cupcakes)

  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC  fan and line 2 cupcake tins (making 10 cupcakes) with cupcake cases.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined. This creates a vegan buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well to combine.
  4. Add the oil to the ‘buttermilk’ along with the vanilla and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.
  6. Fill each cupcake case with approximately 1 tbsp of the plain vanilla cupcake batter. Smooth the cake batter to over the bottom of each cupcake case.
  7. Place a red heart standing up into the centre of the cupcake cases. A tip is to carefully lift the cupcake case and draw a line on the base of each cupcake case showing the way the hearts are situated so when they are baked and ready to cut you can showcase the hearts perfectly. Once the hearts are covered, you may not know which way the hearts go and may not cut right to showcase the hearts.
  8. Add more of the plain cake batter to each cupcake case so they are roughly ¾ full. Don’t worry if this doesn’t completely cover the red heart as the batter will rise on baking.
  9. Bake in the middle of the oven for 18-20 minutes. You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer down the centre of the cakes and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.
  10. Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully before frosting and decorating.

Method (frosting)

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and cream cheese, whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.
  2. Sift in the icing sugar and vanilla extract. Whip for 5 minutes on high speed until the buttercream becomes pale and fluffy in texture. If it’s too runny, add in a few more chunks of butter to get it to the right consistency. You might need a splash of milk.
  3. Transfer the buttercream in to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip nozzle. I use a Wilton 1M.
  4. When the cupcakes are cool, pipe a swirl of the frosting on top of each cupcake.
  5. Decorate with a sprinkling of the red cake crumbs. You can even place a red heart on top.
  6. Serve and enjoy! 

Notes

To store: Store these cupcakes in an air-tight / sealed container in the fridge. Best enjoyed 3 days of making. Leave at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Cupcakes can be stored in an air-tight / sealed container at room temperature overnight before frosting the next day.

Make sure the cupcakes are cooled completely before frosting and decorating, or the buttercream and caramel will melt. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18-20 minutes
  • Category: cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan hidden heart cupcakes, valentines cupcakes, valentines recipes, cupcakes

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1 Comment

  1. Laura
    February 13, 2024 / 4:35 pm

    Can I use coconut or olive oil? I don’t use any other oils.

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