This show-stopping Vegan Red Velvet Cake is so rich and flavorful, no would guess it's entirely plant based. Moist, chocolatey cake is layered with a decadent vegan cream cheese frosting. Yum!
Red velvet cake has always been one of my favorites, and now that I’ve veganized it, it’s become my go-to dessert to impress guests at the holidays and other special occasions (like Valentine's Day!).
The deep red coloring, which comes from beetroot, is rather festive and the double layer of chocolate cake makes it feel totally indulgent.
The rich vegan cream cheese frosting perfectly compliments the chocolatey cake, ensuring every bite is a delicious blend of acidity and sweetness. The recipe might be a little bit of work, but you will taste every second of effort you’ve put in!
This is one of my all time favorite vegan treats for the holidays!
Ingredients and Substitutions
This gluten-free vegan red velvet cake contains a few unusual ingredients but don’t worry, I’ll talk you through them:
- Buckwheat flour. I like this brand.
- Rice flour. This is a fairly dense flour that helps the cake hold its structure.
- Xanthan gum. This is vital in gluten-free baking, as it helps to bind the cake together. Even though you may have never heard of it, it’s actually stocked in most large supermarkets!
- Baking powder.
- Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is often naturally vegan, but make sure you still check the label.
- Plant based milk. My favourite is oat milk, but you can use any.
- Olive oil.
- Flax eggs. You can make the 4 flax eggs needed for this recipe by stirring together 4 tbsp ground flaxseed and 8 tbsp water, then setting it aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
- Lemon juice.
- Cooked beetroot. You can either cook your own beetroot by boiling, or buy it pre-cooked from the supermarket. Some recipes use red food coloring but beetroot is much more natural and adds a rich flavor to the sponge cake.
Make a Vegan Red Velvet Cake (Step by Step)
Firstly, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
Then, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, rice flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dark chocolate, plant based milk, olive oil, flax eggs, lemon juice and cooked beetroot.
Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until they’re thoroughly combined.
Transfer the batter to a 10-inch cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. To test if your sponges are cooked, insert a toothpick into the center and see if it comes out clean. If it does then your sponges are ready, if not then give it another 5 minutes in the oven.
Now you’re ready for the frosting!
Make the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
You only need three simple ingredients to make this vegan cream cheese frosting:
- Vegan cream cheese. I like the one from Miyoko's.
- Vegan butter. A block or stick works better than vegan butter from a tub. It helps if the vegan butter is slightly softened before using. I like the one from Earth Balance.
- Icing sugar.
How to Make the Frosting
If you want to save time, you can make this icing while the cake is in the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk together the vegan cream cheese and the softened butter.
Then, slowly sift in the icing sugar – around ½ cup at a time – and whisk it using the electric mixer. Add more icing sugar if the frosting is too moist.
Leave the frosting in the freezer for around 20 minutes to cool.
Assembling the Cake
Make sure that the cake layers cool down fully before assembling and adding the frosting.
Use a large chef’s knife to carefully slice the cake sponge in half.
Apply a thick layer of the frosting on top of one of the sponges. Then, add the other cake sponge and add another frosting layer on top of the cake. For an even more decadent treat, you can also add it around the sides.
Tips & Tricks
I can’t stress this enough: make sure that the cake is fully cool before attempting to ice it! Skipping this step always ends in disaster – trust me, I’m super impatient but have learnt the hard way.
Melting occurs because vegan cream cheese often contains coconut oil, which melts more easily. Try to keep your cakes in the fridge as much as you can because when the cream cheese gets to room temperature it can become a slippery mess.
If you find it easier, then you can use two cake tins and make two cake layers rather than one larger sponge.
If you somehow manage not to demolish the entire cake in one sitting, then you can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. The cream cheese frosting can be made a day in advance, as long as it’s refrigerated.
More Vegan Cake Recipes
If you love this Vegan Red Velvet Cake, be sure to check out these other delicious vegan cake recipes:
- Conventional oven
- 2 Large mixing bowls
- 10-inch cake tin
- Electric mixer
- Large chef's knife
- Icing spatula
For the red velvet sponge
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 ½ cups rice flour
- 1 ⅓ cups white sugar (organic for vegan-friendly)
- 1 tbsp xanthan gum
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 oz dark chocolate melted
- 1 ⅓ cups plant based milk
- 1 cup olive oil
- 4 flax eggs (see recipe notes)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 10 oz cooked beetroot grated finely (see recipe notes)
MAKE THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, rice flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dark chocolate, plant based milk, olive oil, flax eggs, lemon juice and cooked beetroot.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the batter to a 10-inch cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre.
MAKE THE FROSTING
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk together the vegan cream cheese and butter.
- Slowly sift in the icing sugar around ½ cup at a time, whisking it using the electric mixer. Add more icing sugar if the frosting is too moist.
- Leave in the freezer for around 20 minutes.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Make sure that the cake sponge cools down fully before assembling and adding the frosting.
- Use a large chef’s knife to carefully slice the cake sponge in half.
- Apply a thick layer of the frosting on top of one of the resulting sponges. Then, add the other cake sponge and add another frosting layer on top of the cake. If you wish, you can also add it around the sides.
- You make 4 flax eggs by stirring together 4 tbsp ground flaxseed and 8 tbsp water and then setting it aside for 5 minutes.
- You can either cook your own beetroot by boiling it, or buy it pre-cooked from the supermarket.