Pink Love Cupcakes

This year we decided to make heart shaped cupcakes, using my recipe for Luke’s Angel Cake. I bought heart shaped mini cupcake molds. Fill them up half way with batter in order to get the perfect heart (and 6 more cupcakes.)

To make the frosting, I use the water from cooking beets. Yes, beets! They are probably my most favorite vegetable in the world anyway so cooking them for their water meant beet salad for lunch!

Cupcakes (makes 18 heart shaped cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups flour (all purpose or whole wheat)
1 cup vegan cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juiceΒ or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 375.

Sift the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water and oil.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly. When combined, add the lemon juice, stir in quickly and ladle into cupcake pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cupcakes test done. Let cool.

Pink Buttercream Frosting (makes enough for a dozen cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance, softened
2 tablespoons vegan milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/2 teaspoon beet water *
Pinch salt

* Peel and chop up one big beet. Boil it until it is soft. Drain and reserve the liquid for the frosting. Use the beet in a salad or juice. Too much beet water will cause the frosting to separate, as I have learned through experimenting. This is just enough and the hint of pink makes these cupcakes special.

Sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the softened Earth Balance, milk, vanilla powder, food coloring and pinch of salt. Blend using a hand mixer until there are no more lumps and the frosting is creamy.

Use a frosting spatula to frost the cupcakes. Enjoy!

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A Valentine’s Day Menu: Warm Asparagus Salad with Toasted Almonds & Avocado Dressing, Spaghetti with Garlicky Almond Basil Pesto & Chocolate Chip Fig Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

Last night VegNews Magazine posted an article called “8 Delicious Vegan Aphrodisiacs.” These 8 foods are: almonds, asparagus, avocados, banana, basil, chocolate, figs and garlic.

Since we are going out to Candle Cafe West for an official Valentine’s Day dinner tomorrow night, I decided it would be fun to make a full on aphrodisiac menu for tonight’s pre-Valentine’s Day dinner, and, as any good scientist would do, measure the results.Β Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu
Warm Asparagus Salad with Toasted Almonds & Avocado Dressing
Spaghetti with Garlicky Almond Basil Pesto
Chocolate Chip Fig Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

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Warm Asparagus Salad with Toasted Almonds
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 avocado
1 head of lettuce (I used a heart of romaine)
Olive oil
S and P

Avocado Dressing
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup water
The juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, to taste

Toast the almonds in a 350 oven for about 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Check on them!

Snap off the ends of the asparagus and then cut into small pieces. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and place under the broiler until slightly charred.

To make the dressing, place the flesh of half of the avocado along with the water, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a dash of salt into the food processor. Process until it thins out. Add more water to get it to a nice dressing consistency. Taste and adjust lemon and salt.

Chop up the lettuce. In a big bowl, add the lettuce, warm asparagus and almonds and toss with the dressing. Serve topped with few slices of avocado.

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Spaghetti with Garlicky Almond Basil Pesto
1 lb. of gluten-free spaghetti
1 cup basil
1/4 cup olive oil
3 big garlic cloves
2 tablespoons raw whole almonds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (nooch)
Salt, to taste

Make the spaghetti. Combine all ingredients in the processor and combine until it looks like pesto. Toss with warm pasta.

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Chocolate Chip Fig Banana Cake with Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream
2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
3 very ripe big bananas
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegan cane sugar
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup pureed dried figs (about 6oz.)
1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare the flax eggs by whisking the flax and water. Let it stand for a few minutes to get really thick. Mash the bananas really well.

Place the figs in the food processor and process until it forms a paste.

Combine all of the ingredients in a big bowl and bring together into a dough. Pour into 9×9 pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve with vegan chocolate ice cream.

Enjoy the LOVE!