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I love the retro, vintage culinary trend of red velvet cakes, but don’t really like the idea of using artificial colorings in my recipes. So, I looked at Mother Nature to lend a ruby hue to my cocoa-kissed, plant-based vegan red velvet cake and stumbled across the good, old-fashioned beet! If you’ve ever cooked with beets, you know how powerful that deep ruby natural coloring is! Yet, in this Vegan Beet Red Velvet Cake, you would never guess that it has pureed beets in it (I have served it at parties and nobody guessed!). In fact, those pureed beets add a naturally sweet, creamy, velvety touch to this vegan chocolate cake.
What Is a Red Velvet Cake?
It’s traditionally a cocoa-based, velvety chocolate cake. What makes red velvet cake red? For decades, it’s been red food coloring. More recently, this food dye has been linked with health concerns, which is why I recommend using natural food colors from plants (turmeric for yellow, kale for green, for example). Is red velvet cake chocolate cake? Yes, it’s mostly based on cocoa powder, which is made from cocoa beans, but it typically has the addition of red food coloring to give it a deeper-ruby color.
Beets are rich in special antioxidant compounds linked with health benefits. Not only is this red velvet cake recipe void of artificial colors, it is light in sugar, contains no dairy or eggs, and includes chia seeds, flax seeds, almond meal, and dark chocolate (cocoa powder). You can make this red velvet cake gluten-free by swapping the wheat flour for a gluten-free flour, like sorghum or quinoa flour.
Basically, this is a dessert you can feel pretty good about. You can top the cake with red berries and mint leaves to give it a flair (you can substitute a seasonal red fruit when strawberries and raspberries aren’t in season, such as pomegranates seeds or cranberries), and this homemade vegan “cream cheese” frosting brightens up this easy dessert, too. Try making it as cupcakes for a fun alternative.
This all natural Vegan Beet Red Velvet Cake is light in added sugars and gets its ruby hue from pureed beets! It’s a delicious, gorgeous dessert you can feel really good about!
Red Velvet Cake:
Pink “Cream Cheese” Frosting:
- 1 cup fresh red berries (i.e., strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds)
- 2 ounces vegan dark chocolate bar, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves
- Trim beet ends, scrub the outside with a vegetable brush, (do not peel), and quarter. Place in small pot, cover with water and a lid, and cook over medium heat until tender (about 20-25 minutes). Drain liquid and reserve. Refrigerate cooked beets until they are at cool.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a large blender container, place cooked beets, 2 tablespoons reserved liquid from cooking beets, plant-based milk, oil, chia seeds, flax seeds, and vanilla and process until very smooth and creamy. May stop to scrape down sides.
- Add the sugar, flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt (optional) to blender and process just until blended and smooth.
- Spray an 8 x 12-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour batter into the pan, spreading evenly with a spatula. Place in oven in the middle rack and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely.
- While cake is baking, make pink “cream cheese” frosting. Place raw cashews in a dish and cover with boiling water—soaking for 15 minutes. Drain soaking water and add soaked raw cashews to the container of a blender, along with vanilla, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon reserved beet liquid. Puree the mixture, and add just enough additional beet liquid to make a creamy, soft frosting.
- When cake is cooled, spread a layer of frosting, and top with berries, dark chocolate, and mint leaves, as desired.
- Slice into 12 servings and enjoy! Cover and refrigerate the cake for up to one week.
Make this recipe gluten-free by swapping out wheat flour for gluten-free flour.
May bake into cupcakes using cupcake liners or spray a muffin pan.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 363
- Sugar: 24 g
- Sodium: 27 g
- Fat: 19 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 46 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 6 g
Keywords: red velvet cake, best vegan red velvet cake, vegan red velvet cake
For other plant-based dessert recipes, try some of these:
Tollhouse Pan Cookies
Pistachio Cherry Coconut Crisp
Cinnamon Apple Crumble
Summer Fruit Skillet Cobbler
Grilled Peaches with Basil
Quince Apple Compote
Dark Chocolate Rose Brownies with Pomegranates
Vegan Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Basil
Learn more about the health benefits of dark chocolate at The Plant-Powered Dietitian.
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