Y’all. These cupcakes.
Vegan, gluten-free, red velvet cupcakes colored naturally by beets. It sounds like magic, and to be real, it probably is, but I’m going to equip you with all of the tools to pull off this magicnificent trick (… get it?).
But first, story time.
Kim and I just applied for an event where we would be able to sell our creations to the public for the first time, which is a HUGE deal. We don’t just want “the usual” vegan baked goods such as banana bread, brownies, and cookies. We want to offer something that says “hey, I’m fancy. I’m a work of art. I live in downtown Manhattan and wear scarves every day, even when it’s hot.”
What better suits that description than red velvet cupcakes? And while I haven’t searched the depths of the internet, I have never seen both vegan AND gluten-free red velvet cupcakes out there in the world. That had to be fixed.
Roasted beets bring rich red depth and a fudgy moisture that cannot bereplaced. Meanwhile, cocoa powder comprises the body of flavor.
Stevia cuts down the sugar content of these cupcakes by more than half that of a normal cupcake without anyone ever noticing.
To lighten things up, whipped aquafaba is folded in right before baking to transform the chemistry of these jewels from that of a brownie to a light, yet moist and rich cupcake.
Topped with a zesty, coconut oil based frosting that mimics the tang of cream cheese icing, these cupcakes are elevated to the next level.
Not only are these cupcakes approved by yours truly, they have received the seal of approval by BOTH, I repeat, BOTH of my parents. This really is magic we’re talking about.
BEGIN… THE MAGIC!
Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes
Moist and rich red velvet cupcakes made with roasted beets topped with a zesty coconut oil based cream cheese icing.
- 1 medium beet, diced
- 1 ½ cups (255g) all-purpose gluten-free flour*
- ½ cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp (10g) baking powder
- ½ tsp (2g) baking soda
- ½ tsp (2g) ground sea salt
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flaxseeds mixed 5 tbs of water)*
- 1 ¼ cups (12oz) almond milk, divided
- 1 tsp (4g) apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup (4oz) organic light brown sugar*
- ½ cup (84g) virgin coconut oil, plus more for coating
- ¾ tsp (3g) liquid stevia extract
- ½ cup chilled aquafaba (liquid from one can of chilled chickpeas)*
- ½ cup (84g) virgin coconut oil
- 1 tbsp (0.5oz) lemon juice
- 1 tbsp (0.5oz) almond milk
- 2 ¼ – 2 ¾ cups (around 300g) organic powdered sugar*
- Pinch of salt
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Coat diced beet with just enough coconut oil to cover and add a pinch of salt. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for an hour or until fork tender. Took about an hour and 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and leave out to cool. Turn oven temperature down to 350 F.
- Line a dozen cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
- Place medium mixing bowl along with the beaters of an electric hand mixer in the fridge or freezer to chill.
- While beets cool, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Once combined, sift mixture onto a pliable cutting board or another bowl.
- Once beets are cooled, blend with ½ cup of almond milk until smooth. Then add in the rest of the almond milk, along with stevia, apple cider vinegar, and blend.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with an electric hand-mixer, cream together coconut oil, salt, and brown sugar until the mixture is light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add flax eggs and mix.
- Add a third of the dry ingredients, mix to combine. Then, add a third of the wet ingredients, mix to combine, and so on until both the wet and dry are fully incorporated.
- In the chilled bowl, whip aquafaba until medium/stiff peaks are formed, 5-10 minutes. Fold whipped aquafaba into batter until just combined.
- Fill cupcake tins with batter, a little over three-quarters of the way full.
- Place in oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If the center feels soft but a toothpick comes out clean – let them rest, they will be perfect once they cool.
- While the cupcakes bake, prepare frosting by whipping together coconut oil, lemon juice, almond milk, and salt. Add powdered sugar in large batches until the frosting becomes smooth and thick, but not runny.
- Allow cupcakes to cool in pan until comfortable to handle, then place cupcakes directly on a rack.
- Top with a light layer of frosting, post to Instagram, and devour!
*The flour blend you choose has a large impact on the outcome of your baked goods. The flour blend I have found to work best for baking is one which is comprised of brown and rice flour, tapioca starch, and often xanthan gum. My favorite mixes are Arrowhead Mill’s Organic Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour or Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour (ensure it doesn’t contain leavening agents and isn’t made up of predominately fava and chickpea flours).
*To prepare a flax egg, mix 1 tbs of ground flaxseeds with 2.5 tbs of water and let sit for 5 minutes
*Organic brown sugar ensures that it’s vegan-friendly, more humane to the environment, and usually humane for workers of sugarcane plantations.
*It’s crucial the liquid of your chickpeas is throughly chilled, thus I usually place cans of chickpeas in the fridge immediately whenever I get them. If you don’t have much time, transfer the liquid into a small container and place in the freezer for roughly 30 minutes – this will do the trick!
*Organic powdered sugar is not only vegan-friendly, but is free of a strange aftertaste that most conventional powdered sugars receive from their processing. I’ve used conventional powdered sugar in frostings in the past and the result has tasted like plastic sandwich bags. This may be because most conventional powdered sugars are processed with cornstarch, while most organic powdered sugars are processed with tapioca starch, which has no funky aftertaste.