Cake is where it all started for me. I learned to bake before I learned anything else in the cooking world. It’s where my love for the kitchen began and it still is my favorite today. Partly because I am a sweet-loving gal, but also because it’s so much more of a reward when something you bake comes out scrumptious!
When you’re baking, you’re making sure you have the perfect amount of everything, because a little too much baking powder can really ruin some things. I know that first hand. I think the reward is all about not knowing if something new is going to come out or not until it’s served. You don’t typically cut a slice of cake to make sure it’s good before you bring it to a party, do you? You just watch everyone’s faces when they take their first bite, hoping for a good reaction. And boy, when you take your own bite and it’s mouth-watering, there is some sort of awesome gratification in that. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know, but I love it.
Anyways… who doesn’t love a good red velvet cake? Is it even a red velvet cake if it doesn’t have cream cheese icing? No, of course not. So, my friends, here is dairy-free recipe for a delicious red velvet cake from yours truly that is sure to knock your socks off!
To begin, mix together the non-dairy milk with apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside for at least 5 minutes. This curdles and turns into a “buttermilk”, which is exactly what we need to make this cake extra rich and moist. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the butter, vanilla, and sugar until it’s well combined and a bit fluffy (this is much easier with a electric mixer, but it’s not needed). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl with a whisk. Now, add the butter mixture, the “buttermilk” mixture, and the red food coloring until smooth. Pour into a 9-10″ baking pan and bake for 30 minutes on 350°F.
Red dye can be tricky for a vegan. If you didn’t know, some natural red dyes come from dried insects called Cochineal, which of course wouldn’t be vegan. Just check for anything that says Carmine, Natural Red 4, or E120. Those are the insect derived, so you want to stay away from those. Artificial dyes can be a tricky place in the vegan world too. Where most of them are plant-based, they may not be vegan. Artificial dyes are often tested on animals, so you can use/research them at your own discretion. Beet juice could work too, but I haven’t tested it, so I don’t know how much you’d need. Feel free to test it and let me know!
I like to bake my cakes in a spring form pan, because it makes it easy to remove without the worry of it sticking… to the sides at least. Whenever I’m baking something that could potentially be ruined if it stuck to the bottom, I always use my handy-dandy parchment paper. The greatest thing about the spring form pans and parchment paper is that you can just lay it over the bottom, put the sides over it, and click it shut. Then, you can just cut the remaining paper off the sides and there is no way the bottom of your cake is sticking to the pan!
For the cream cheese icing, you just need some vegan cream cheese, room-temperature vegan butter, a splash of non-dairy milk, and powdered sugar. I used the Kite Hill brand this time, but there are various different options in many grocery stores and health food stores. Using a hand mixer, you mix in the cream cheese and butter until it’s smooth. Then you add in the milk and powdered sugar and mix until thick, sweet, and delicious! You may want to add in the powdered sugar a little at a time to prevent “sugar dust” from getting everywhere.
Once the cake has cooled completely, ice the cake and serve!
*If the cake is still warm, the icing will just melt off. Allowing the cake to cool at room temperature is crucial. Cooling it too quickly can dry out and harden it.
Vegan Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp red coloring
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp non-dairy milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a small bowl, mix the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar together and set aside for at least 5 minutes
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla until well combined and fluffy (about 1-2 minutes with a hand mixer or 5 with a spoon/fork)
- In a large mixing bowl, stir the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) together with a whisk.
- Add the butter+sugar+vanilla mixture, the milk+ACV mixture, and the red coloring to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined and there are no clumps.
- Oil or parchment paper the bottom of your 9-10″ baking pan and pour cake batter in. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out the center clean.
- Allow to cool at room temperature completely before icing
- Ice the cake, serve, and ENJOY!
- Using a hand mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy
- Add in the non-dairy milk and powdered sugar and continue to mix until desired consistency.