Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

This Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake is so much healthier than the traditional version, but every bit as delicious. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

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.

Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

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. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

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! 

Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

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! 🙂 

Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

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: 

If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d really love to hear any feedback! Please give it a rating, leave a comment, or tag a photo #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! Thank you.

5 from 1 vote
Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake
Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
This Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake is so much healthier than the traditional version, but every bit as delicious. 
Course: Dessert
Servings: 8
Calories: 362 kcal
For the cake:
  • 200 ml (4/5 cup) milk, any kind
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
  • 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
  • 150 g (1 1/4 cup) ground almonds
  • 150 g (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
For the frosting:
  • 400 g (14oz) tin coconut milk*
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees)
  2. 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
  3. Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if using any other oil)

  4. Once melted, add the vinegar to the same bowl along with the maple syrup, vanilla, salt and ground almonds
  5. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and beetroot powder
  6. Add the 'buttermilk' and mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry
  7. Divide mixture between two greased baking tins lined with baking paper (I used two 7inch/18cm baking tins)
  8. Bake in oven for around 15 minutes until risen slightly and an inserted skewer comes out clean
  9. Once out the oven, transfer cakes from baking tins onto a wired rack to leave them to cool completely before applying the frosting
For the frosting:
  1. 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!
  2. 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)
  3. Place the thick, creamy part into a bowl
  4. Add the lemon juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract
  5. Use an electric whisk (or a manual one and a lot of elbow grease) to whip up the coconut cream until light and fluffy
To frost and decorate the cake:
  1. Place one half of the cake onto a plate or cake stand, and spread just less than half of the frosting onto it
  2. Place the other half of the cake on top of that and use rest of the frosting to spread on top
  3. Decorate with freeze-dried raspberries and cacao nibs if desired
  4. Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a few days
Recipe Notes

*You can alternatively use 200g (7oz) thick coconut yogurt

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8 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

    1. Hi Natalie, I don’t think completely subbing out the gluten-free flour with almond flour would work unfortunately, but almond flour would definitely work in place of the ground almonds. I’m not sure about coconut flour as I haven’t tested it with coconut flour and it requires completely different quantities. Please let me know if you try any new variations! 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Hi Maya! I used Dove’s Farm Free From Gluten Plain Flour. It’s a blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat flours. I hope that helps!

  1. Hi! I was going to use almond milk instead of coconut milk, because my boyfriend is allergic to coconut. I can’t use soy milk because my mom is allergic to soy. Are adding the ground almonds necessary? I’m afraid the almond flavor would be too strong.

    1. Hey Nikki! Do you mean almond milk instead of coconut milk for the frosting? The ground almonds are unfortunately pretty necessary, as this is what makes the texture of the sponge fluffy and moist without adding eggs. I genuinely don’t think you can taste the almonds at all in the cake because of the other flavours, but it will depend on taste obviously. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Thank you.

  2. Hi Rhian,
    I was looking for one GF and DF recipe and lo, I found yours! 🙂 Thank you 🙂
    Can I use rice flour instead of the gluten free flour? Do you think I can add 2 eggs and reduce 50 ml and 1 tablespoon of milk?

    1. Hi! Yes rice flour should work in place of the gluten-free flour. I haven’t tried the recipe with eggs so can’t guarantee results for that but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work like that either…please let me know how you get on! Thank you!

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