Red Velvet cupcakes (no synthetic red dye, dairy-free, low-gluten, vegan option)

You probably saw my ‘preview’ on my Facebook page last night…

I seriously had been wanting to make this for a long, long time. First of all, I was curious. I’ve never eaten a Red Velvet cupcake before. The red colour was never really appealing to me, and more recently of course, the thought of eating toxic synthetic red dye just repulsed me completely.

But I see them often, so they must be popular, right? So, I went online to find a classic recipe and changed everything about it to make it healthy, because my inspiration (a recipe from Martha Stewart) was far from being healthy! Yikes! All white flour and a ton of sugar!

I’ve eaten 4 of them in 24 hours, so I guess they must be good. haha Not my favourite though, but yummy nonetheless.

So, what did I use? Well, instead of using red dye, I used fresh red beet juice. The cupcakes don’t taste like beet at all, no worries! haha It’s really just for the colour.

So, here you go, another classic recipe easily transformed into a healthy one that you can make for your next special occasion, and mostly enjoy a treat that won’t leave you feeling guilty or feeling like crap! :)

I did use a little bit of stone-ground unbleached white pastry flour in this as a treat (cupcakes are a treat after all), but that can easily be switched to spelt or whole-wheat if you prefer to stay away from “white” flour completely. Pastry flour is made using soft wheat, instead of the traditional hard wheat variety; soft wheat has much less gluten then hard, so if you have a mild gluten sensitivity, you should be ok with that.


ECP xo

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Classic Red Velvet Cupcakes (no synthetic dye, dairy-free) approx. 18 cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cup total flour (all organic and stone-ground): 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, 1/2 cup unbleached white pastry flour, 1/2 cup spelt flour, 1/2 cup rye flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour, 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp unrefined grey sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp organic & fair-trade unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup unbleached white organic cane sugar (I will definitely reduce to 1/4 cup next time, or even less)
  • 1/3 cup whole organic cane sugar (Sucanat) (I also suggest reducing this one to 1/4 cup)
  • 2 large organic & free-range eggs, at room temperature (not mandatory, but it helps to mix) — you can easily make this vegan by using 2 Tbsp chia seeds in 1/3 cup warm water, wait for a few minutes and use instead of eggs
  • 3/4 cup high quality extra-virgin cold pressed organic olive oil
  • 1 cup organic almond or rice milk (I used some rice ‘cream’ as well as milk)
  • 1 Tbsp pure organic vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh organic red beet juice (you could go up to 1/3 cup for deeper red)
  • Icing (I used some simple organic vegan buttery spread mixed with organic icing sugar and a bit of vanilla)

Mix all the dry ingredients (except the sugars) in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the eggs and the sugars using a whisk, then add the rest of the wet ingredients, one at a time. Combine the dry mix into the wet ingredient bowl, using a rubber spatula. If the batter is too liquid, you can add a Tbsp of extra flour, or if it’s too dry, you can add a bit more rice milk. Mine was a bit runny, but it was perfect; once the baking powder kicked in, it was a nice fluffy batter, and it was bright dark pink, like crushed raspberries.

Equally distribute the batter into lined muffin pans. It should give you about 18-19 cupcakes.

Bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Make sure you cool completely before icing, probably a few hours. You can speed this up by putting them in the fridge in the 2nd hour.










  1. says

    How cute and lovely! I’ll have to try making these sometime as well. <3

    I also have a dessert post today, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Also, if you’re ever interested in being featured on my blog for my cooking series, let me know! You look like a great baker. :-)


  2. says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that these are naturally coloured! I usually steer clear of red velvet for that reason! I’m pinning this as a recipe to try! Thanks for sharing these lovely cupcakes!

  3. says

    I used to LOVE red velvet cupcakes, but havent had one in yeas due to all the added nasties. I’ll have to give these ones a go, I love that you have used beet juice to colour them, what a great idea!


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