Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary - Mendon MASS
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Get Your Chocolate Fix with Two Decadent Vegan Dessert Recipes

Love is in the air—and on the farm—for Valentine’s Day! In honor of this sweet holiday, integrative health coach Susie Belanger is sharing two of her favorite cruelty-free dessert recipes, as well as tips on how you can celebrate another, lesser-known holiday this week.

Do you wish you could eat a kind diet free of meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and other animal products? Or are you a seasoned vegan looking for a new recipe for a special Valentine’s Day dessert to share with your sweetie? Either way, you are in luck! Here are two decadent recipes just in time for the 14th.

Before we start baking, did you know that it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week? Here are a few ideas for how you can celebrate with kindness towards humans and animals alike:

  • Give a homeless person a fiver (not just the loose change in your pocket).
  • Let someone out into your lane, even if there is mad traffic.
  • Smile at a stranger. Hopefully she or he will pass that smile on to the next passersby.
  • Donate to Maple Farm Sanctuary in your loved one’s name by making a one-time gift or sponsoring an animal. Your kindness will help support animals in need of love and care all year round. 
  • Skip meat and dairy for the day. There is simply no easier way to help animals and prevent suffering than by choosing vegan foods over meat, eggs, and dairy products.
  • Show the love to your furry companions. Take the pup in your life on an extra long walk, or give your kitty some extra chin scratches.
  • Love yourself. Random acts of kindness can and should also be directed at YOU. The more you love yourself, the more you will have the capacity love to other beings.

Now, on to the recipes!

Let’s start with these incredibly easy cupcakes....

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes With Chocolate Walnut Topping


  • 1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour, sifted (I used a mesh colander)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee (I use Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (I avoid Dutch processed cocoa because it is treated with alkali)
  • 1/2 cup raw brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (almond, hemp, and organic soy are all good options)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 5.3 ounce 70% dark chocolate bar
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large 6 cup large muffin pan with vegan butter (I love Miyokos Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan Butter) and a pinch of flour.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, coffee, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a small bowl, mix maple syrup, vinegar, non-dairy milk, olive oil, and vanilla extract.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until there are no lumps.
  5. Fill cups 3/4 full with mixture.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until knife comes out clean.
  7. Let cool to room temperature.
  8. Spread the topping on top of cupcakes.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!
  1. Break chocolate into pieces and heat in a double boiler on low until just melted.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in non-dairy milk, chopped walnuts, and salt.

Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Hazelnuts and Raspberry Coulis

This cake recipe is “next-level” but it’s worth the extra time and effort. It’s filled with healthful ingredients like carrots, nuts, coconut, cocoa, and dark chocolate. (No one will taste the carrots, which are the secret to its moist, dense texture.) Credit goes to my super fabulous Swiss-German friend who made it for a party I attended and I was blown away! If you read German, follow the original recipe here.

Here’s how it’s done:



  • 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup of agave (or sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 a cup coffee (I dissolved two packets of Mount Hagen Organic instant in half a cup of hot water)
  • 1/4 cup chopped up 70% dark chocolate
  • 1-2 carrots, grated


  • 1 cup melted 70% dark chocolate (about one and one half 5.3 ounce of 150g bars)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts toasted in a pan on the stove in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar to caramelize

Raspberry Coulis

  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon powdered confectionery sugar

Nota bene: Organic ingredients are always best. Also, don't have hazelnuts? Use almonds, walnuts or whatever nuts you have - or omit. As with all recipes, feel free to change it up. Use strawberries instead of raspberries. Use organic soy milk, oat, or hemp milk instead of almond. There are no rules.


  1. First, mix all dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder, coconut flakes and ground hazelnuts - well.
  2. Slowly add wet ingredients- coffee, agave, vanilla extract, coconut oil and almond milk - and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add grated carrot.
  4. Put the mixture into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 60 minutes. The baking time can vary depending on the oven, with me it took 60 minutes.
  6. The coffee or the almond milk can be replaced by other fluids, juice or tea, depending on your preference.
  7. Once the cake is done and cooling, make the icing: first toast the hazelnuts lightly in a dry pan and then remove the outer coating once cool enough to handle. Don't worry if you don't remove all of the outer coatings. Do your best. Loosely chop nuts and set aside.
  8. Add granulated sugar to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add back the hazelnuts to caramelize. Once coated and sticky like peanut brittle, spread on parchment paper in a single layer and cool.
  9. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Stir.
  10. Add 1 tablespoon almond milk, stir, and pour chocolate icing over your cake.
  11. Top with caramelized hazelnuts.
  12. Blend raspberries with powdered sugar in a food processor (mini Cuisinart is great for this step) then strain to remove seeds. Spread raspberry coulis on plate in any design you like and add a few raspberries. Voilà

Susie Belanger is a Plant-Based Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and the Founder of Belavie Health & Beauty Homemade. Cooking is her jam and creating plant-based versions of traditional meat-based dishes is her specialty. She offers healthy vegan recipes and do-it-yourself skin care recipes on her blog: