This Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake is so much healthier than the traditional version, but every bit as delicious.
Red velvet cake has always been one of my favourite sweet treats, and so this Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake has been on my list of recipe ideas for the blog for ages. I’m glad I finally got round to making it, and I really hope you’ll love it as much as I do. Just like a normal red velvet cake, this one is made up of a moist, fluffy and vividly red sponge that boasts a lovely balance of sweet, salty, sour and chocolatey flavours, and is finished off with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. But, it’s entirely vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free, and uses completely natural ingredients, so there’s no artificial red food colouring involved. Let me show you how!
I used my favourite vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar free sponge as a base for this layer cake – I love its taste and texture, and what’s more, it requires just one bowl and uses easily accessible ingredients. The coconut oil gives the sponge a rich, buttery flavour whilst ground almonds add a nutty sweetness and fluffiness. The recipe is also easily customisable, as you can use any liquid sweetener you like, and substitute the coconut oil with olive or vegetable oil if you wish.
Traditional red velvet cake is made with buttermilk, so I made a simple vegan buttermilk by mixing almond milk with vinegar and letting it sit for about 10 minutes. This trick works with any kind of non-dairy milk, as the vinegar curdles the milk so that it resembles real buttermilk.
To create a brilliant red hue, I added a few teaspoons of beetroot powder, which you can buy in most local health stores, as well as online. I love how it adds a lovely colour but is completely natural, and it also has a very subtly sweet flavour. But if you can’t get hold of it, it’s not a problem if you leave it out – you’ll just end up with a slightly differently coloured cake, but the taste will be the same and still delicious!
I also love the cream cheese frosting on this cake. It’s so simple to make vegan cream cheese at home – just mix some coconut cream or coconut yogurt with a little lemon juice, which brings out a tartness perfectly reminiscent of cream cheese.
I then topped it off with freeze-dried raspberries and cacao nibs, but you can use whatever you want to decorate it. Let me know in the comments below if you come up with any fun decorations! 🙂
This Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake would be so good for birthday parties and other such gatherings. Looking for more cake inspiration? You might like my Chocolate Truffle Cake, Tropical Carrot Cake, Lemon Blueberry Cake, Cherry Bakewell Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Chocolate Sponge Layer Cake or Strawberry Sponge Layer Cake!
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love to hear how you get on! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag photo #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! I’d really love to hear any feedback – thank you!
- 200ml (4/5 cup) milk, any kind + 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 8 tablespoons coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 8 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 150g (1 1/4 cup) ground almonds
- 150g (1 1/4 cup) gluten-free flour (or sub plain flour if not gluten-free)
- 2 heaped teaspoons baking power (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Optional: 3 teaspoons beetroot powder (adds red colour but not completely necessary for the recipe to work)
- 1 x 400g (14oz) tin coconut milk*
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees)
- Measure out the milk and, leaving it in the measuring container, add the tablespoon of vinegar and stir - leave to sit for around 10 minutes, while you make the rest of the cake
- Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if not using any other oil)
- Once melted, add the vinegar to the same bowl along with the maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and beetroot powder
- Add the 'buttermilk' and mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry
- Divide mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm baking tins)
- Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen slightly and an inserted skewer comes out clean
- Once out the oven, transfer cakes from baking tins onto a wired rack to leave them to cool completely before applying the frosting
- You’ll need to keep your tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight for the rich creamy bit to separate from the watery bit at the bottom. Make sure it is full fat coconut milk, otherwise this separation won’t happen and you won’t be able to make this cream!
- Open the tin upside down – the coconut cream will be at the bottom and you can just pour off the watery liquid (save this for adding to soups or smoothies)
- Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
- Add the lemon juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract
- Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
- Place one half of the cake onto a plate or cake stand, and spread just less than half of the frosting onto it
- Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the frosting to spread on top
- Decorate with freeze-dried raspberries and cacao nibs if desired
- Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
- *You can alternatively use 200g (7oz) thick coconut yogurt