It's LOVE MONTH!
My husband and I affectionately call it this because it's both Valentine's month and our wedding anniversary. We don't celebrate both occasions, rather we lump both of them together...Valentine's Day is too commercial any way. This month (and my recipes) are more about celebrating the love we have for our family and friends than one romantic day.
When my brother and I were kids, we would celebrate Valentine's Day as a family. My mom would get out special plates, candles and all the heart shaped things she had. I think this memory best encapsulates what Valentine's Day (and LOVE MONTH) should be :-)
As a baker, I love creating different baked goods and decorating them. Often, this requires icing. (Quick question: do you say icing or frosting? I want to say frosting, because I think it sounds better, but it feels unnatural. It's like the sprinkles versus jimmies debate. It's sprinkles, by the way.) There aren't a lot of options for vegan icing out there.
Below, I've created a Vegan Buttercream Icing that's adapted from the Wilton method. The key is in the sugar and shortening. I like to use Spectrum Organic Non-Hydrogenated Shortening - it's sustainably harvested and the best shortening for you. As for the sugar, it needs to be vegan powdered sugar. Both Wegmans Organic and Woodstock brands are vegan-friendly. These are the two chief reasons that traditional icing falls short.
Vegan Buttercream Icing
Adapted from Wilton
1 c. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 c. vegan powdered sugar
2 tsp. beet coloring for pink roses*
*To make my natural beet food coloring, I suggest you look into purchasing Activz Beet Powder. It's just powdered beets that can never go bad! It can be found in my Amazon Store or at The Vitamin Shoppe. You can juice your own beets to make it naturally or you can use 1 tsp. of water with 1 tsp. of beet powder. It makes such a brilliant pink color.
For the icing:
Beat the shortening, vanilla, and coloring in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar until everything is combined well, scraping the sides as needed. The icing should have pretty stiff peaks.
If it seems too stiff, add a little more vanilla or almond milk, a teaspoon at a time.
For the roses:
Honestly, anyone can do this! You'll need to run to your local craft store (or Amazon) to get some Wilton piping bags and a 1M icing tip. It's one of the larger ones. Slip it into your icing bag, snip off the end just to expose the tip, and you'll be good to go. Fill your bag with your icing. You don't want to over-fill it; you need to have control over the bag.
Have a cupcake or wax paper ready. If you're practicing on wax paper, you can scrape it back into your piping bag, if you do it somewhat soon after.
When you're ready, remember that this needs to be one fluid motion. I stopped in the middle just for tutorial purposes. First, hold your icing bag at a 90 degree angle (perpendicular to the cupcake) pipe a small star. Next, you're going to circle around that star twice. Boom! That's it. It may take a few times for you to get the hang of it.
Here's a quick video tutorial I made to show you the motion:
Now you have the chance to make some beautiful cupcakes and cakes. Remember, your icing has to be pretty firm to pull this off. If you look closely at mine, it's a little too firm; the edges little marks on them. If it's too thin, your rose swirls will melt together.
Enjoy making these roses and let me know how it goes!