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thumbnail image of a cupcake cut in half, showing a pink love heart baked inside

Love Heart Cupcakes (Vegan)

Vanilla cupcakes with a hidden pink heart inside. Dairy-free and egg-free!

Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan love heart cupcakes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes


For the hearts (to be hidden inside):

  • 110 g Self-raising flour (about 7/8 cup)
  • 60 g Caster sugar (⅓ cup)
  • 100 ml Soy or almond milk (⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • 4 Tablespoons Melted vegan butter or rapeseed oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Pink or red food colouring (start with a small amount and increase if needed)

For the cupcakes:

  • 120 g Vegan butter (½ cup)
  • 150 g Caster sugar (¾ cup)
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 215 g Self-raising flour (1 + ⅔ cups)
  • ¼ Teaspoon Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 140 ml Soy or almond milk (½ cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • ½ Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)

For the buttercream:

  • 240 g Vegan butter (1 cup)
  • 600 g Icing sugar (5 cups)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Splash Soy or almond milk, as needed

To top (optional):

  • Few Tablespoons Vegan-friendly love heart sprinkles (I used Tesco's brand)


For the hidden hearts:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/325°F if you're using a fan or convection oven). Grease, flour and line a 7-inch cake tin.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the self-raising flour, baking soda and sugar.

  3. Add the milk, vanilla extract and melted butter and mix well. Add in the apple cider vinegar and mix again until you have a smooth cake batter.

  4. Add in the food colouring and stir it in.

  5. Transfer the cake batter into the tin and spread out evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick through the centre comes out clean. Leave the oven on so it's ready for the next part of the recipe.

  6. Let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes then flip it out onto a wire rack. Peel off the baking paper and leave it to cool completely.

  7. Once the cake has cooled, use a 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut 12 small hearts out of it.

For the cupcakes:

  1. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

  2. Cream the vegan butter and sugar together.

  3. Add the vanilla and mix it in.

  4. Stir in the self-raising flour, baking soda and milk.

  5. Add in the apple cider vinegar and mix well. The batter should be slightly thick.

  6. Place around 1 tablespoon of cake batter into each cupcake case.

  7. Take your pink hearts from earlier and place one into the batter in each case. Keep them all upright and facing the same way, so you remember which way to cut into them after they're baked.

  8. Use the rest of your cake mix to cover the hearts, being careful not to knock them over as you do this.

  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes. You can check they're ready by inserting a toothpick just off the centre of the cupcake. If it comes out clean, they're ready.

  10. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack, keeping them facing the same direction again, and leave them to cool completely.

For the buttercream:

  1. Mix the butter and icing sugar together. Use an electric whisk or stand mixer to make it smooth and fluffy.

  2. Add the vanilla and mix again. If you need to loosen it, add a splash or plant-based milk, or add more icing sugar to thicken it.

  3. Place the icing into a piping bag with a large star nozzle and pipe a swirl onto each cupcake.

  4. Decorate with heart sprinkles if using and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.