Vegan Love Bug Marble Cupcakes

Sunday, 11 February 2018

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These Valentine's cupcakes are almost too adorable to eat.

Luckily I said almost.

As soon as I started working back on my blog at the start of the year, all I've been thinking about is what Valentine's Day bake I'm going to be doing, and I know I say this everytime, but these have to be my favourite cupcake to date.

vegan love bug marble cupcakes

Even though I was so excited to be back baking again, I couldn't decide what I actually wanted to do. I had a rough idea, but I was torn between cupcakes and brownies, my two favourite things to bake. I, of course, created a Twitter poll and I'm sure you can tell which recipe won. I will be making the brownie recipe soon, but tweaking it a little so it's a little less Valentine's.

That gave me the excuse to go all out on these cupcakes. Let me introduce you to my vegan love bug marble cupcakes; 3 differently decorated cupcakes with a marbled vanilla and red velvet sponge.

We'll start off with the cupcake sponge. I have made a variety of cupcakes, most start off with a simple vanilla sponge and are altered slightly with a few ingredient changes. For example, adding cinnamon for a churros cupcake, and adding chia jam for a fruit filled cupcake. For this cupcake, I split the batter in two; one was kept as a simple but always flavourful vanilla sponge, and for the other half of batter, I added red food gel and cocoa powder to create a red velvet sponge. As well as playing with the flavours, I thought I'd give marbling a go. It's very easy to do, and even if the marble doesn't work out as well as you wanted, you still have a super tasty cupcake. The combination has created a delicious sponge with a different flavour in every bite, plus it's totally vegan.

vegan love bug marble cupcakes
vegan love bug marble cupcakes

One fruit that is used throughout Valentine's are strawberries, so I have made a light and creamy strawberry buttercream icing. If you're short for time, you can use strawberry jam, but using fresh strawberries is always better. All you'll need to do is blend riped strawberries and add it to a saucepan with granulated sugar and heat until it has reduced in size and has turned into a thick consistency. Add this to your buttercream mixture and you'll have the perfect topping for your cupcakes.

I'm sure you know, I've never been one for a simple piping or a simple fondant decoration for that matter, so I thought I would make three variations. Valentine's comes once a year, so there is no way I could wait that long to make a different set. I am no way a fondant/ready rolled icing expert, so I used tutorials online to help me create my love bugs. For one design, I used a wide star nozzle to pipe the buttercream up high, and added two love bugs (both different in size), as if they're climbing up this strawberry mountain. The next I used a large round piping nozzle and pipped a big dollop of buttercream onto the cupcake, and added a large love bug with two leaves. For my last design, I turned my cupcake into a love bug by creating a ready rolled icing dome and adding wings and other decorations to complete my little Valentine's love bug.

vegan love bug marble cupcakes

You obviously don't have to create the three varieties but I think it's totally worth it. Whether you fancy treating yourself or sharing it with another, you'll be falling in love with these sweet and tasty love bugs.

.@helloaycan is sharing her vegan love bug marble cupakes perfect for Valentine's


This recipe makes 12 adorable cupcakes


  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup flavourless oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extracts
  • 1/4 tsp red food gel
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 300g fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free butter
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • Coloured ready rolled, or white with food dye


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees C (fan) / 350F / gas mark 4. Line the cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the dairy-free milk and cider vinegar. Leave for 10 minutes to curdle.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients; flour, caster sugar, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder. Mix together with a spoon.
  4. Into the dry ingredients, add the dairy-free milk and cider vinegar mix, flavourless oil, and vanilla extract. Split the mixture into two equal bowls, and into one, add the red food gel and cocoa powder.
  5. Using a small spoonful at a time, alternate between the two bowls, and add the cake mixtures to the cupcake cases. Use a toothpick to swirl through the mixture carefully. Place into a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooking, add your strawberries to a blender and blend until they have completely broken down. Place a sift on top of a saucepan and push the liquid through leaving behind any seeds. Add the granulated sugar, and on a low heat, keep stirring until it has thickened, and reduced in size. Leave to cool.
  7. Prepare your ready rolled icing by adding colour (if you're starting with a white icing), and knead until it's soft. Add icing sugar to your surface if it becomes sticky. Create your love bugs, leaves, and any other decoration you'd like to mould.
  8. To prepare the buttercream frosting, leave the butter and vegetable shortening at room temperature for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, beat together using a hand or standing whisk, the vegetable shortening and butter until it's light and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and cooled strawberry mixture.
  9. Gradually pour in the icing sugar, half a cup at a time. You may want to add more, depending on the texture you like. If it starts to get dry, add a little dairy-free milk, one tsp at a time.
  10. Scoop your buttercream into a piping bag, and using a large nozzle, pipe on to your cupcakes. Decorate with love bugs, and a little glitter.
vegan love bug marble cupcakes

These cupcakes have vanished so fast, I'm slightly sad that I didn't get to eat more. I had so much fun making these, I'm definitely going to be playing around with ready rolled icing more in the future. Let me know in the comments below any Valentine's Day plans you have, and which one of these cupcakes are your favourites. (Mine is all).