As a Southern favorite, red velvet cake has made it’s way up North. In fact, I embraced this cake with open arms when I was first introduced to it. I was always eager to learn how to make red velvet cake. The deep red hue and velvety texture of this cake appealed to me the most. As a loving and caring dutiful big sister, I decided to bake my kid brother a red velvet cake. I used a red velvet cake mix as I was a novice back then. Even with a red velvet cake mix, the results were disastrous. His reaction was heartbreaking. I wanted to enhance my brother’s birthday with a 3 layer red velvet cake. Not giving the cake enough time to cool, I slapped some icing on. The cake imploded resulting a hot mess. Needless to say, it was poorly thought out. I have learned my lesson. Luckily, my mother had a spare bakery-bought birthday cake reserved for baking disasters such as the one I endured. That experience didn’t cripple my efforts for trying again. I ordered a red velvet cake for my wedding as I coordinated in on Valentines Day. To my slight disappointment, the baker was not able to accommodate my request so I ended up with chocolate mousse cake instead. My brother and sister surprised me with a 4 layer red velvet cake in efforts to appease my disappointment. Their gesture was highly appreciated. I have been exploring healthy ways to recreate this cake and settled for one that was effective. Sugar-free and vegan, the secret ingredients in the cake consist of beets (you can use beet juice), and avocado among flour and cocoa powder. This healthy version tastes like any other red velvet cake. I am partial to cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake but you can use any frosting you wish. Or you can omit frosting altogether which I sometimes do mainly out of sheer laziness. I decided to make an exception for this occasion.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour (you can use gluten-free flour with 1/2 teaspoons of xanthan gum)
- 3/4 cup of whole wheat or spelt flour
- 1/4 of unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup of agave nectar
- 1/2 cup of honey or date syrup
- 1 ripe avocado or banana mashed or pureed
- 1/3 cup of pureed beets or 1/2 of beet juice
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Red food coloring (optional)
For the cream cheese frosting, you will need:
- 12 oz container of low-fat cream cheese or tofutti cream cheese
- 3/4 cup of powdered sugar (or a sugar-free version)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sprinkles for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients in a large shallow bowl. Set aside. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl. Pour wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients and mix well. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading to the edges. Gently rap the pans against the counter once or twice to settle the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto the rack, remove the pans and let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes more.
For the cream cheese frosting, Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Place one cake layer top-side down on a serving plate; cover with half the frosting, spreading just to the edges. Set the second layer on top, top-side down. Spread the remaining frosting on the top only. Garnish with sprinkles as desired.
Yields 10-12 servings