This vegan red velvet cake recipe is rich, moist, chocolatey, and topped with an indulgent vegan cream cheese frosting!
Vegan red velvet chocolate cake
Whether you need a vegan cake for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthday parties, or a regular Sunday evening, this plant based cake is perfect for the occasion.
Its fluffy texture and deep chocolate flavor are so much better than any box cake mix you’ve ever tried before.
Two layers of soft chocolate cake are spread with tangy homemade frosting for a result that even non vegans will love.
Readers also love this Chocolate Mug Cake
The best vegan red velvet cake frosting
When it comes to icing the cake, you have a few options.
The first option is super easy, although it is not the healthiest: buy cream cheese frosting at the grocery store. Surprisingly, even mainstream brand Pillsbury cream cheese frosting is vegan.
The second option is to frost the cake with melted Coconut Butter.
Or you can go the traditional route and make your own dairy free cream cheese frosting from scratch, using the simple recipe below.
Bring 8 ounces of nondairy cream cheese to room temperature. Use beaters or a stand mixer to combine the cream cheese with 4 ounces of softened plant based butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar or sugar free sweetener, and an optional teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
If the icing texture is too thick, slowly beat in a teaspoon of dairy free milk as needed.
Garnish the finished cake with piped frosting, dairy free chocolate chips, chocolate ganache, pink and red heart shaped sprinkles, or crushed walnuts and cake crumbs.
I also added a dusting of edible red glitter, which you can buy at cake decorating shops or at some craft stores.
Use leftover frosting on Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients for vegan red velvet cake
To make the recipe, you need cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, salt, sweetener, applesauce, oil, pure vanilla extract, vegan red food coloring, and water.
The recipe works well with spelt flour, all purpose white flour, oat flour, and some brands of all purpose gluten free flour.
We do not recommend coconut flour or brown rice flour.
If you’d like to use almond flour, try these Keto Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Choose a neutral oil, such as vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or refined melted coconut oil. Or for an oil free cake, simply replace the oil with softened almond butter instead.
Some readers say you can omit the oil and increase the applesauce by a half cup. However, we have not tried this fat free option and therefore cannot vouch for the texture of such a substitution.
You may use regular sugar or a granulated sweetener that measures like sugar, such as granulated xylitol, or packed unrefined coconut sugar or date sugar.
Feel free to swap out the applesauce with an equal amount of mashed banana, roasted sweet potato puree, or nondairy yogurt. If using yogurt, you do not need the vinegar.
The recipe was adapted from this Vegan Chocolate Cake
Plant based red velvet cake recipe video
Watch the step by step recipe video above
Food coloring and substitutions
I went with liquid food coloring for this recipe.
If you prefer to use red gel food coloring, scale the amount back to just two teaspoons because gel coloring is more concentrated. Also add an extra tablespoon and a half of water to make up the difference in liquid.
As a natural alternative to food coloring, you can use pureed beetroot or beet juice instead. Simply replace one cup of the water in the recipe below with one cup of beet juice. The resulting healthy red velvet cake will feature an elegant red hue, with no food coloring required.
You can also omit the food coloring entirely, substituting two tablespoons of water in its place. While the cake will no longer exhibit a crimson hue, it will be just as tasty.
How to make the recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease either one 9×13 inch rectangular pan or two 8 inch round or square pans. Set these pans aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sweetener, and salt until they are evenly combined.
You can also stir in a handful of mini chocolate chips if desired.
If using hard almond butter that is not easy to stir, gently warm just the amount you need in the microwave or a warmed oven until soft and easily stir-able.
Whisk all liquid ingredients, including the food coloring, in a new bowl. Or for a one bowl cake, you can technically just add them to the original mixing bowl.
Now stir all ingredients together to form a cake batter. To ensure the cake turns out light and soft, not dense or tough, do not overmix.
Transfer the red velvet cake batter to the prepared baking pan or pans. If using two eight inch pans, evenly divide the batter between the two pans.
Bake on the center rack of the oven for twenty eight minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a cake. It should come out mostly clean.
Allow the cake to cool for at least a half hour. If time permits, refrigerate the cake until it is fully cooled.
This step will ensure the cake is firm enough to easily remove from the pan and also that the frosting will not melt upon hitting a warm cake.
To remove the cake or cakes, go around the sides of the pan with a knife before inverting the cakes onto a large plate or cooling rack.
Frost each layer separately, then stack one on top of the other if you want a double layer vegan red velvet cake.
Decorate the cake as desired, then serve and enjoy. Or refrigerate the cake overnight and remove from the fridge around ten or twenty minutes before slicing.
Leftovers may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for about five days.
Because there are no eggs, you can also store leftover cake at room temperature for a day or two. Cover the whole cake with saran wrap or store in a covered container.
Or slice and freeze leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw frozen cake fully before enjoying.
Vegan red velvet cupcakes
For dairy free and vegan cupcakes, make these Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, replacing one tablespoon of the water with vegan red food coloring.
Top the cupcakes with your favorite vegan cream cheese frosting or the homemade frosting recipe included below.
Vegan Red Velvet Cake
- 2 cups flour (for low carb, try this Keto Cake Recipe)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup sugar or xylitol for sugar free
- 1/2 cup applesauce or banana or vegan yogurt
- 1/2 cup oil or almond butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp vegan red food coloring
- 1 tsp white vinegar (omit if using yogurt)
- *Frosting ideas, including a recipe for the one I used, are included above. Or feel free to use your favorite frosting. The recipe works with spelt, white, or some brands of all purpose gluten free flour.To make vegan red velvet cake, preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-inch pans or one 9×13 inch pan. Set aside. Stir dry ingredients in a bowl. If using almond butter, gently warm until soft and easy to stir. Whisk in wet ingredients until just evenly mixed. Pour the batter into the pans. Bake 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out mostly clean. Let cool, then refrigerate if time permits, so the cake is cooled and firm before frosting. Go around the sides with a knife, then invert each cake onto a large plate. Frost separately before placing one cake on top of the other if you'd like a double layer cake.View Nutrition Facts
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