This gluten-free vegan red velvet cake is moist, fluffy and deliciously chocolatey. Finished with a thick layer of vegan cream cheese frosting, you would have no idea this cake is dairy-free, making it the perfect dessert to impress your non-vegan friends.

Gluten-free vegan red velvet cake

I love cooking for friends and family, especially around this time of year, but I always end up baking the same thing for dessert. Although lemon, vanilla or carrot cakes are lovely, after a while I want something equally delicious but a little more exciting. That’s where this vegan red velvet cake comes in.

Red velvet cake has always been one of my favourites, but now that I’ve veganized it, it’s become my go-to pudding to impress guests. The red colouring is rather festive and the double layer of sponge means there’s enough for everyone to have a generous slice. 

Vegan red velvet cake on a plate

About this gluten-free vegan red velvet cake

This gluten-free vegan red velvet cake is a decadent treat to tuck into with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or as the showstopper dessert to finish a three course dinner party. 

Slice of vegan red velvet cake

Although a key ingredient is chocolate, the flavor is much more subtle and elegant than a traditional chocolate cake. Plus it turns a gorgeous red shade, with the addition of the cooked beetroot. 

Red velvet cake with frosting on a plate

The tangy veganized cream cheese frosting perfectly compliments the chocolatey sponge, ensuring every bite is a delicious blend of acidity and sweetness. The recipe might have a few elements to it, but the flavor is so worth it and you will taste every second of work you’ve put in!

Slice of dairy-free red velvet cake

Ingredients and substitutions

This gluten-free vegan red velvet cake contains a few unusual ingredients but don’t worry, I’ll talk you through them:

Ingredients for vegan red velvet cake
  • Buckwheat flour.
  • Rice flour. This is a fairly dense flour that helps the cake hold its structure.
  • Sugar.
  • Xanthan gum. This is vital in gluten-free baking, as it helps to bind the cake together. Even though you may have never heard of it, it’s actually stocked in most large supermarkets!
  • Baking powder.
  • Salt.
  • Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is often naturally vegan, but make sure you still check the label.
  • Plant based milk. My favourite is oat, but you can use any.
  • Olive oil.
  • Flax eggs. You can make the 4 flax eggs needed for this recipe by stirring together 4 tbsp ground flaxseed and 8 tbsp water, then setting it aside for 5 minutes.
  • Lemon juice.
  • Cooked beetroot. You can either cook your own beetroot by boiling, or buy it pre-cooked from the supermarket. Some recipes use red food colouring but beetroot is much more natural and adds a rich flavor to the sponge.

How to make this gluten-free vegan red velvet cake

Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).

Then, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, rice flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dark chocolate, plant based milk, olive oil, flax eggs, lemon juice and cooked beetroot.

Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until they’re thoroughly combined. 

Transfer the batter to a 10-inch cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. To test if your sponges are cooked, insert a toothpick into the centre and see if it comes out clean. If it does then your sponges are ready, if not then give it another 5 minutes in the oven.

Now you’re ready for the frosting!

Ingredients for vegan cream cheese frosting

Ingredients for vegan cream cheese frosting
  • Vegan cream cheese. 
  • Vegan butter. A block or stick works better than vegan butter from a tub. It helps if the vegan butter is slightly softened before using.
  • Icing sugar.
Slice of vegan red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

How to make vegan cream cheese frosting

If you want to save time, you can make this icing while the cake is in the oven.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk together the vegan cream cheese and the softened butter.

Vegan cream cheese frosting


Then, slowly sift in the icing sugar – around ½ cup at a time – and whisk it using the electric mixer. Add more icing sugar if the frosting is too moist.

Leave the frosting in the freezer for around 20 minutes to cool. 

Assembling your gluten-free vegan red velvet cake

Make sure that the cake sponge cools down fully before assembling and adding the frosting. 

Use a large chef’s knife to carefully slice the cake sponge in half. 

Apply a thick layer of the frosting on top of one of the sponges. Then, add the other cake sponge and add another frosting layer on top of the cake. For an even more decadent treat, you can also add it around the sides.

Frosted vegan red vegan cake on a wooden board

Tips and tricks

  • I can’t stress this enough: make sure that the cake is fully cool before attempting to ice it! Skipping this step always ends in disaster – trust me, I’m super impatient but have learnt the hard way.
  • Melting occurs because vegan cream cheese often contains coconut oil, which melts more easily. Try to keep your cakes in the fridge as much as you can because when the cream cheese gets to room temperature it can become a slippery mess.
  • If you find it easier, then you can use two cake tins and make two sponges rather than one larger sponge.
Layered red velvet cake

Storing and freezing

If you somehow manage not to demolish the entire cake in one sitting, then you can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. The cream cheese frosting can be made a day in advance, as long as it’s refrigerated.

Other mouth-watering vegan cakes

Gluten-free vegan red velvet cake

What’s your favourite dinner party dessert? If you do make this vegan red velvet cake then tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can drool at your creation! Remember to comment below if you have any thoughts about this recipe, and leave a star rating.

Gluten-free vegan red velvet cake

Get the Recipe: Gluten-free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

This gluten-free vegan red velvet cake is moist, fluffy and deliciously chocolatey. Finished with a thick layer of vegan cream cheese frosting, you would have no idea this cake is dairy-free, making it the perfect dessert to impress your non-vegan friends.

Ingredients

For the red velvet sponge

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 ½ cups rice flour
  • 1 ⅓ cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 ⅓ cups plant based milk
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 flax eggs, (see recipe notes)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 oz cooked beetroot, grated finely (see recipe notes)

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 7 oz vegan cream cheese
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar

Equipment

  • Conventional oven
  • 2 Large mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • 10-inch cake tin
  • Electric mixer
  • Sieve
  • Freezer
  • Large chef's knife
  • Icing spatula

Instructions 

Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, rice flour, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dark chocolate, plant based milk, olive oil, flax eggs, lemon juice and cooked beetroot.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Transfer the batter to a 10-inch cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre.

Make the frosting

  • In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk together the vegan cream cheese and butter.
  • Slowly sift in the icing sugar around ½ cup at a time, whisking it using the electric mixer. Add more icing sugar if the frosting is too moist.
  • Leave in the freezer for around 20 minutes.

Assemble the cake

  • Make sure that the cake sponge cools down fully before assembling and adding the frosting.
  • Use a large chef’s knife to carefully slice the cake sponge in half.
  • Apply a thick layer of the frosting on top of one of the resulting sponges. Then, add the other cake sponge and add another frosting layer on top of the cake. If you wish, you can also add it around the sides.

Video

Notes

You make 4 flax eggs by stirring together 4 tbsp ground flaxseed and 8 tbsp water and then setting it aside for 5 minutes.
You can either cook your own beetroot by boiling it, or buy it pre-cooked from the supermarket.
Calories: 517kcal, Carbohydrates: 71g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 230mg, Potassium: 246mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 49g, Vitamin A: 276IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 83mg, Iron: 2mg
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Gluten-free vegan red velvet cake