Belated Valentine's Day Recipe: Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes

Posted by Erin Dillon '14

I feel just as bitter on Valentine's Day as the next demoralized romantic. Pink carnations, chocolate boxes and Groupon deals for Match.com memberships only bring to mind the bleak Skidmore dating scene that I prefer to forget. But my palate escapes the infectious bitterness of February 14th. Everyone-single, taken, hopeless, hopeful, carnivore, vegan-deserves something sweet.

How about a red velvet cupcake? These festive cakes are crowd-pleasers that tip their hats to the American South all the way from a Northwoods kitchen. Any amateur p??tissier can whip up a batch in the time gained from skipping that 3:40 class; don't let three "from-scratch" components intimidate you. Baking for others is an act of love, so the only corner we're cutting is from the zip-locked frosting bag. This vivid vegan cake, moist with chocolate undertones, buried under dense dairy-free cream cheese frosting and crunchy hazelnut brittle might just transport you back to the second grade when receiving a stockpile of Valentines was still guaranteed. If celebrating St. Valentine still isn't your thing, simply omit red dye.

Recipe notes:
- For a truly vegan dessert, use organic sugar
- If you don't have a sifter, I will lend you mine, but please sift!
- Use any nut you like for the brittle (pecans would be traditional), or omit entirely
- Recipe is adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Cupcake ingredients:
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or other mild vinegar)
1 ? cups all-purpose flour (preferably unbleached)
1 cup organic granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
? teaspoon baking powder
? teaspoon baking soda
? teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Cream cheese frosting ingredients:
? cup Earth Balance (or other nonhydrogenated margarine)
? cup non-dairy cream cheese (such as Tofutti)
2 cups organic confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 drops red food coloring

Hazelnut brittle ingredients:
1 cup raw hazelnuts
3 tablespoons organic granulated sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
? teaspoon salt

To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 350

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