Walk to Your Own Beet: a Natural Twist on Old Fashioned Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet, the cake of celebration, happiness, and delicious mystery. How does it come upon its mysterious hue that can vary so widely? From the deepest, and darkest of reds, to the warm chocolatey browns. Heck, they’re even a few purple-y blue varieties out there. There are many ways to get to the same place, as it turns out. Some swear that the vinegar in the recipe imparts this bold hue, reacting with the cocoa powder in just the right way. Others rely on commercial coloring to get predictable and vivid results. Others still, myself included, prefer the natural route in obtaining the desired color, if only just to know what I’m eating. So what do you do in this situation? Beets. Yes, beets. You may not want to shout it from the rooftops, but it’s just the secret ingredient you need to maintain moisture, and impart a delicate hue upon your cupcakes.

In this case, we use a puree. Yes, you could steam, peel, and puree your own beets. If you have that kind of time, go for it, but if your kitchen time is precious and hard to come by, your favorite neighborhood store may sell steamed and peeled beets already. Take advantage of a good thing. However you wind up coming by them, you need to puree them in a food processor until they are as smooth and ominous looking as they can be. Imagine a loved one biting into a piece of beet within their cupcake. Now imagine the face they’d make. You don’t want that.

Now you can assemble the rest of your ingredients to embark upon a glorious cupcake journey.

Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 1 and 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon Natural cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2/3 cup Beet puree
  • 1 cup Coconut milk
  • 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Sugar plus 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup Coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1  Flax egg ( 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds in 3 tablespoons water, combined)

Preheat your oven to 350°  F and prep a cupcake tin with liners.  Combine the flour, almond meal, baking powder and soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Combine these thoroughly, and consider sifting if your cocoa powder is lumpy.In a large bowl, combine your beet puree, coconut milk, coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, flax egg, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix these until they are a smooth, pink mess. Add the dry to the wet in batches. Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 full, and check out that lovely color.

Bake these for 18-22 minutes depending on your oven. Safe bet to start checking after 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, you can make your frosting!

Dairy Free Cream ‘Cheese’ Frosting

  • 1 8 oz container of Vegan cream cheese (Daiya also makes one) at room temperature
  • 1 stick Earth Balance at room temperature
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla extract, or seeds of 1 bean
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Coconut milk, as needed

Start by whipping the pseudo-butter and cream cheese with either a hand mixer, or stand mixer, until fluffy. Add the powder sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Slowly add in your extract, and any coconut milk you may need to achieve the desired consistency. Set aside until cupcakes have cooled.

Once you frost your lovely cupcakes, you can top them with coconut flakes and pecans, because I’m pretty sure that’s how it should be done!

Nothing luridly red here, just moist and delicious cupcakes. Think of all the fake chemicals you’ve avoided. Red food coloring is also a common source of food allergies, and it’s commonly made from coal. With these beauties, there’s hidden nutrition, which makes it perfectly acceptable to have at least two, right? Right!


About Vanessa Pastore

Vanessa is a professional baker and blogger, regularly documenting her fight for all things vegan at Hungryface Bakery. She spends every waking moment, as well as everything in between, thinking about food. She can be found in international markets, or harvesting ingredients from her backyard. Nothing is sacred, and nothing is safe. If you'd like your brand, event, or business considered for an editorial or upcoming feature, contact us

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