Enjoy the richness of the traditional red velvet cake without artificial colors with this delicious and kid friendly Beetroot Red Velvet Cake.
After having two boys, I admit I was a little terrified to have a girl. I knew how to raise and take care of boys. I had everything ready for another boy. But, 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 went all out on my little girl’s room.
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.
Why this recipe is so awesome
I have been making my children’s birthday cakes from day one. And after making many boy cakes, I totally enjoyed making my girl her cake. From simple vanilla cakes to Pink Strawberry Cupcakes.
So this year, for my girl’s 6th birthday I am making her 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!
There are different rumors about the history of this cake, from chemical reactions to a food coloring manufacturer wanting to sell more food dye. My friend Jenni has a spectacular traditional red velvet cake with ermine frosting you purists must try!
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. 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.
Ingredients you need
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- Beets: I used fresh beets and roasted them for this recipe. I would not use canned beets.
- Lemon juice and white vinegar: This acid helps preserve the color of the beets and keeps it from browning in the baking process.
- Butter and cream cheese: This is the fat and flavor in the cake. You could just use butter.
- Pantry staples: Granulated sugar, all purpose flour, vanilla extract, baking powder, kosher salt
- Eggs: I bake using large eggs.
- Natural unsweetened cocoa powder: Do not use dark or Dutch processed cocoa powder as this will change the color.
- Cream cheese and butter: For the cream cheese frosting, butter is mixed in as well.
- Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioner’s sugar.
- Heavy cream: This helps thin the frosting without making it watery. You could use whole milk instead, but I prefer heavy cream.
- Vanilla extract
Tools to Use
1. In a small baking dish, place beets and water. Cover the dish with parchment paper and foil. Roast at 350ºF until tender, about 60-90 minutes. When beets have cooled completely, peel and cut into small chunks.
2. Place beets and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. There should be 1 ½ cups of purée. Stir in white white vinegar and mix to combine.
3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and mix until smooth and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add vanilla extract.
5. 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.
6. Fold beet puree into the cake batter.
7. 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. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Tap pans on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
8. 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.
9. To make the frosting, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and 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.
Recipe tips and FAQs
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Beetroot Red Velvet Cake
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!
- 2 large beets, fresh, (enough to make 1 ½ cups of beet purée)
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 TBS white wine vinegar
- 1 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature, divided
- 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature, divided
- 2 ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, large
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup natural cocoa powder, unsweetened, (not dark or Dutch processed)
- 1 lb powdered sugar, (4 cups)
- 2 TBS heavy cream
- 2 ½ teaspoon vanilla 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 ½ 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 ½ 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 teaspoon 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 ½ cup butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream and remaining 2 ½ teaspoon vanilla 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 teaspoon citric acid.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 755Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 566mgCarbohydrates: 98gFiber: 1gSugar: 79gProtein: 8g
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A beautiful cake (as are all the others) and a delightful tribute to your daughter. Please wish her happy birthday!
I am 14 years younger than my brother.My mother was 30 when she got me..unexpected the clock was ticking..almost.My grandma told me she was at ourt place when they called her from the hospital to tell her it was a girl and everything looked ok.She tought my mom won the Lotto;))(love that story)
And I have a little princess now myself and you are right to spoil her :))
In defense for my boys, I've made plenty of Batman, volcano, football and soccer cakes. Even a giant Lego cake!
Girls are often treated with extra time and attention and I can't really blame you if you will find extra preference on "pink objects".
This cake is so pretty and perfect for your daughter! i love that you colored it with beets instead of food coloring!
@RecipeGirl This beet cake is more dense than traditional red velvet and has a fruity flavor. I'm not a fan of traditional red velvet, which is chocolate based cake. The beet cake only has about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.
Love it! Happy birthday to your princess!
Pretty!!! I love red velvet… would love to try an all-natural variety. Does it still taste like red velvet cake?
wonderful! I love contradictions: we all are full of them, we have black&white;, yin&yang…; xoxo, Valentina from Italy*
What a stunning cake…and beets are so much better than all that red food coloring. My 23 y/o daughter asked for red velvet cake for her birthday this year!
What a great post! Such a sweet tribute to your girly girl 😉
This cake is really great and the fact that it is natural is just fantastic
That is a gorgeous cake. Like you my third child was a daughter (after two boys). Caroline is a wonderful girly girl…and I think you and I can appreciate how much fun that is…but oh how much work it is after having two boys (which to me always seem easy).
Thanks so much for sharing a wonderful, and natural, recipe.