Eggless red velvet cake is healthy & naturally red using beets! No food coloring here, this healthy red velvet cake from scratch is the best!
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’ve been racking my brain on what kind of dessert to post. My mind kept going straight to red velvet cake.
Red velvet cakes are gorgeous, but goodness, they are FULL of red food coloring. Like, entire bottles worth. Talk about gross.
So, I set out to make a red velvet cake using natural ingredients. Afterall, how hard could a naturally red velvet cake be?
It ended up being much more difficult than I thought, and I quickly found out how brown a red velvet cake could actually be.
Fortunately, I kept at it and did my research, and after 5 or 6 different cakes (yes, there was cake everywhere in my house), I finally figured out how to make a red velvet cake with beets that actually stays red. And tastes good, too.
Red velvet cake is sweet, slightly tangy, and has just a hint of cocoa. It’s the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert because it’s healthy, pretty, but still really delicious.
Is a red velvet cake just chocolate cake?
Nope, they aren’t the same at all! They do use similar ingredients, but in different amounts. Red velvet cake does have cocoa powder in it traditionally, but it’s a really light chocolatey taste. Chocolate cake has much more cocoa powder in it than red velvet cake does.
Does red velvet cake have eggs?
Normally yes, red velvet cake has 2-3 eggs in the recipe. However, this recipe uses ground flaxseed and water to help bind the cake together in place of the eggs. This healthy red velvet cake is completely egg-free!
What does red velvet cake with beets taste like?
Red velvet cake made with beets tastes pretty much exactly like traditional red velvet cake does. It’s sweet and moist with a hint of chocolate. You may notice a slight earthy flavor from the pureed beets, but it’s very mild and barely noticable, especially with the cream cheese frosting.
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Can I make eggless red velvet cupcakes with this recipe?
Yes you can! This recipe will make 12 eggless red velvet cupcakes!
Simply make the batter as instructed, then fill each cupcake tin about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow your red velvet cupcakes to cool completely, then frost with the cream cheese frosting!
What’s in eggless red velvet cake?
Fresh beet puree – This really needs to be made from raw beets. That’s because when you oven roast or cook beets, they lose some of their color and brown easier when added to cake. If you want your cake to come out as red as possible, skip the cooking method and simply puree them raw.
Coconut oil – Because coconut oil is semi-solid at room temperature, it’s similar to butter in baked goods. The coconut oil helps moisten the healthy red velvet cake but also keeps it from becoming crumbly when it’s cooled down.
Avocado oil – A heart-healthy oil that’s perfect for baking. It withstands high heat, and has a super mild taste, so it doesn’t add any weird flavors when you bake a cake with it.
White vinegar – This adds acidity to the batter, helping to keep the beets red and your cake from turning brown.
Lemon juice – A nice alternative to vinegar because it still adds acidity to the red velvet cake without having to add too much vinegary flavor to the cake batter.
Vanilla extract – A classic flavor additive for red velvet cake. A hint of vanilla in the batter makes this cake extra delicious.
Buttermilk – This keeps the batter more acidic, and helps the cake stay red and not brown. You need buttermilk if you want a naturally colored red velvet cake.
Flaxseed “eggs” – The vegan alternative to regular eggs in baked goods. Flaxseed has a gelatinous property when ground up and mixed with water, and works really well in baked goods to help hold everything together if you’re baking an eggless red velvet cake.
Sugar – I messed around a lot with coconut sugar but I found that it just made the batter too brown. If you want your red velvet cake the right color, use white sugar. If you’re not worried about the color and are just looking for a healthier red velvet cake, use coconut sugar.
Whole wheat pastry flour – A high protein, high fiber flour that is fine enough for baked goods. I almost always use it when I bake, and it balances the cake flour out nicely.
Cake flour – The perfect flour for eggless red velvet cake. It’s very white and doesn’t alter the color at all, and adds a nice fluffy texture you just can’t get from whole wheat flour.
Unsweetened cocoa powder – Traditionally, red velvet cake was made with unprocessed cocoa that turned red while it baked in an acidic batter. These days, cocoa powder has too many additives to result in a real red velvet cake, but it adds that slight cocoa powder you’d expect.
Salt – Elevates the sweetness level of baked goods, but isn’t necessarily essential.
Baking powder – The primary ingredient that will help your eggless red velvet cake rise. Don’t skip it!
Baking soda – Also helps this cake rise, and is essential as well. However, don’t use too much or it will make your batter too alkaline and you’ll end up with the brownest red velvet cake you’ve ever seen. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience!
Cream of tartar – The last acidic ingredient, and is an essential component to helping keep this naturally red velvet cake red.
Cream cheese frosting – Made with cream cheese of course, whipped with water, powdered sugar, and more vanilla. It compliments the red velvet cake so well, and helps to cover up any beet flavor you might have tasted.
How do I make beet puree?
- Start by washing 2 medium beets, then cutting the two ends off of them. Use a cutting board that isn’t easily stained, and grab gloves if you have them!
- Peel the skin off with a paring knive or vegetable peeler, until that beautiful red color is visable around the entirety of the beets. Chop the peeled beets up in 1/2 inch chunks.
- Add to the food processor, along with 1/2 cup of water.
- Puree for several minutes, until as smooth as possible.
- Use now, or set aside to freeze or refrigerate until needed.
Do you have to put vinegar in red velvet cake?
Vinegar in natural red velvet cake helps to keep the beets from browning in the oven, so it helps keep your cake from losing it’s red color. Vinegar is pretty much required if you’re making naturally red velvet cake.
Nowadays, most red velvet cakes call for a truck load of artificial red coloring to keep them red, so you don’t really need the vinegar if that’s the case.
What does vinegar do in red velvet cake?
Adding vinegar to your eggless red velvet cake will help make the batter more acidic. By doing this, it prevents the beets from browning in the oven, so your cake comes out more red and less brown.
Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar?
If you decide to skip the vinegar in this eggless red velvet cake recipe, you’ll need to double the amount of lemon juice in it’s place. This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. So, if you want to leave out the vinegar, you’ll have to use 4 tablespoons of lemon juice instead.
Can I substitute butter for oil?
Yes you can! If you’re going to use butter instead of oil, substitute it in place of the coconut oil. I would still add the avocado oil to keep the cake from becoming too dense.
How to make Eggless Red Velvet Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, make your flaxseed “egg” replacement by mixing together ground flaxseed and water. Set aside.
- Make your beet puree. Wash 2 medium beets, then cut off the ends. Peel them with a vegetable peeler or paring knive until entire skin is removed and you can see the red color of the beets all the way around. Using a stain-proof cutting board and gloves, cut the beets into ½ inch cubes and add to the food processor along with ½ cup of water. Pulse and puree for several minutes, until smooth.
- In a large bowl, whisk together ¾ cup beet puree, melted coconut oil, avocado oil, vinegar, lemon juice, vanilla, flaxseed mixture, and buttermilk until well combined. Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- Add the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Whisk until just combined.
- Pour the batter into 2 greased, 9 inch cake pans, or 12 lined cupcake molds. Bake in the preheated oven for 24-26 minutes (for cake) or 20-22 minutes (for cupcakes). Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese, water, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- After your cake or cupcakes are done baking, allow to cool completely. Frost, then serve!
Why is my naturally red velvet cake brown?
This is the most common problem when making a red velvet cake from scratch with beets. If your eggless red velvet cake turned brown, one of these issues may be the problem:
- The batter wasn’t acidic enough. If your batter started off red or pink and turned brown, this is your issue. Try adding a tiny bit more vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, or cream of tartar to keep your batter extremely acidic to prevent any browning.
- You used too much cocoa powder. Cocoa powder does add browness to the batter, but that would be apparent before you even bake the cake.
- You used coconut sugar or other dark sugar instead of white sugar. This was one of my issues when trying to make healthy red velvet cake. No matter what, my batter would be beautifully red until I added coconut sugar. Then boom, I add it and everything is brown. I didn’t want to use white sugar, but to get that red color naturally, I just had to.
Healthy Eggless Red Velvet Cake
For this healthy red velvet cake, I used beets for the natural color, and was able to avoid using an entire bottle of red food dye. I can’t even imagine using that much food dye honestly.
I also used heart-healthy oils, a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and cake flour to make this red velvet cake higher in fiber and nutrition without sacrificing too much texture.
Unfortunately, I did use white sugar, but only for the color aspect. Use coconut sugar if you’re not too concerned with the color of this eggless red velvet cake.
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 476 calories
- Protein: 5 grams
- Sodium: 290 mg
- Carbohydrates: 65 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
This cake costs about $6.84 for the entire thing, or about $.57 per serving. When you add up a box of cake mix, the eggs, oil, and can of frosting, you’re really not paying much more to have a much healthier red velvet cake.
If you do decide to use coconut sugar instead of white sugar, expect the cost of this recipe to go up by about $2, or end up at about $.74 per serving.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the comments below! I would really appreciate your feedback!
Eggless Red Velvet Cake
- 3 tbsp ground flaxseed (mix with 6 tbsp water)
- ¾ cup raw beet puree (2 medium beets)
- ½ cup coconut oil melted
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1½ cups white sugar or coconut sugar
- 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1½ cups cake flour
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix together ground flaxseed and water. Set aside.
- Make your beet puree. Wash 2 medium beets, then cut off the ends. Peel them with a vegetable peeler or paring knive until entire skin is removed. Using a stain-proof cutting board and gloves, cut the beets into ½ inch cubes and add to the food processor along with ½ cup of water. Pulse and puree for several minutes, until smooth.
- In a large bowl, mix together ¾ cup beet puree, melted coconut oil, avocado oil, vinegar, lemon juice, vanilla, flaxseed mixture, and buttermilk until well combined. Stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- Add the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Whisk until just combined.
- Pour the batter into 2 greased, 9 inch cake pans, or 12 lined cupcake molds. Bake in the preheated oven for 24-26 minutes (for cake) or 20-22 minutes (for cupcakes).
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese, water, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- After your cake is done baking, allow to cool completely. Frost, then serve!
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Eggless red velvet cake is full of natural ingredients like beets and flaxseed, is higher in fiber, and is lower in artificial ingredients than traditional red velvet cake is. You’re sweetheart will love it! Happy Valentine’s Day!