Enjoy the richness of the traditional red velvet cake without artificial colors with this Beet Red Velvet Cake. And yes, the kids will still love it!
Something changed in me when I had my daughter. It happened to my husband, as well. After bringing two beautiful boys into the world, we knew we would be happy with a healthy baby, girl or boy. My husband did admit that he secretly wanted a girl.
I, on the other hand, was terrified to have a girl. I had two boys, I knew how to raise and take care of boys. I had everything ready for another boy. When I learned we were having a girl, something changed.
I became excited. I went through a nesting stage that I never experienced with the two boys. I spent hours scouring the website examining girls’ rooms and came up with a two-tone pink room with white bead board. My husband handled my obsession well, and put the room together as I so meticulously specified.
Our life has been full of pink since then: pink blankets, pink tights, pink dresses, pink barrettes.
My daughter turned six this week. She still adores pink. And dresses. And butterflies. And flowers. And glitter.
She’s a very girly girl. Yet, she’s tough, too. You have to be if you are the youngest of three, with two older brothers. Quite a contradiction.
I have been making her pink birthday cakes from the beginning. They started simple and have turned a bit on the elaborate side.
From flowers on top:
To flowers on top, on the side and even INSIDE the cake:
A dash of purple with these totally yummy and naturally colored Blackberry Honey Cupcakes:
And for this year, an All-Natural Beet Red Velvet Cake, using no artificial colors or flavors. I never really understood the American fascination of the red velvet cake. It’s a chocolate cake with lots of red frosting. It’s not a flavor but a color!
Even Food and Wine tells us that this infamous chocolate cake, became red because “a man in Texas wanted to sell more food dye.”
“After Congress passed the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938, shoring up regulations for food coloring, [John A.] Adams (owner of the Adams Extract Company) figured he could sell a lot more extracts and dyes, and a red cake would be just the way to do it.”
I just wanted to make another pinkish cake for very girly girl. So I began my research into the infamous red velvet cake. And that’s when I found this recipe for a dye-free beet red velvet cake.
When I first published this recipe back in 2011, there were not many recipes that featured beets in a red velvet cake. Today, the original writer of this post was Sophistimom, but it looks like she’s not blogging anymore. Which is a real bummer because she wrote a great post all about red velvet cake.
So as I am updating my own post, hoping to give Sophistimom some justice. Now you can steam your beets, cook them in microwave, cook them in a pot or buy them canned. But the best flavor (and color) comes from roasting your fresh beets.
And when I say flavor, don’t cringe thinking of beets and tasting them. In all honesty, I can’t stand eating beets. And I loved this beet red velvet cake.
Once your beets are roasted and are cool enough to peel, you can then purée them in the blender. Isn’t the color magnificent?! Then pour the beet purée in with the rest of batter.
And what you have now is a bright, hot pink cake batter with fruity undertones. This recipe makes a 3-layer cake, with each cake layer approximately 1-inch thick.
The cake itself is dense, not fluffy. But don’t let that fool you. It really is one delicious and moist cake. You don’t really taste the beets, but just a slight fruity flavor.
I served this beautiful beet red velvet cake to my daughter and about 10 of her closest friends and their moms. Everyone ate it up! I only told them afterwards that it was made with beets. No one could tell, but they all were happy that it was made naturally and dye-free.
- 2 large beets, fresh, (enough to make 1 1/2 cups of beet purée)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 TBS white wine vinegar
- 1 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature, divided
- 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature, divided
- 2 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, large
- 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder, unsweetened, (not dark or Dutch processed)
- 1 lb powdered sugar, (4 cups)
- 2 TBS heavy cream
- 1 tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a small baking dish, place beets and water. Cover the dish with parchment paper and foil. Roast until tender, about 60-90 minutes.
When beets have cooled completely, peel and cut into small chunks.
- Place beets and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. There should be 1 1/2 cups of purée. Stir in white white vinegar and mix to combine.
- Line the bottom of 3 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Apply non-stick spray along the sides and bottom of the pans. Set aside.
- In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 1/2 cup butter and 16 oz cream cheese together.
- Add sugar and mix until smooth and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder until there are no lumps.
- In batches, mix flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
- Fold beet puree into the cake batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Tap pans on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake at 350ºF for 20-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Invert cakes onto cooling racks, and allow to cool completely.
- If not frosting after cooled, place another piece of parchment paper on top of the cake rounds and wrap with plastic wrap.
- To make the frosting, combine remaining 8 oz cream cheese, remaining 1/2 cup butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, remaining 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Once ingredients are fully incorporated, switch to the whisk attachment, and mix until smooth and slightly fluffy.
- Frost cake as desired.
Serving Suggestions: This is a dense cake where one thin slice is all you need per serving.
Cooking Tips: Canned beets can be used, but the resulting color will not be as vibrant.
Lemon juice used can be substituted with 1 tsp citric acid.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 755Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 566mgCarbohydrates: 98gFiber: 1gSugar: 79gProtein: 8g