As ironical as it may be, my very first cake recipe on my blog has a cream cheese frosting. Lol. I have always enjoyed red velvet cakes with cream cheese frosting bought from various cake shops. What I was not aware of about the recipe, was the amount of red food coloring that goes into it! It is not like I don’t use food coloring at all for my cakes and icings, it is just that a red velvet cake recipe (in most cases) calls for 2 tbsps of red gel food coloring! 2 tbsps! So anyway, I decided that I wanted to to try out a recipe that used natural food coloring. In our case, the natural food coloring comes from beets. In all honesty, I hate hate hate beets! There was a time in my life when I was juicing for a couple of days to get a natural body cleanse, and I had to juice a lot of beet and I did not like it one bit! All that to say, I hate beets, BUT I could not tell the taste of beets in this cake. So, that was exciting! I was happy with the color too. It wasn’t exactly red, but I could settle for magenta/purple if I didn’t have to use a whole jar of food coloring.  I did do a little experiment on the batter before I put the tray into the oven though. I used half the batter as is, and in the other half, I added 1/4 tsp of Wilton no taste red food coloring. I found no difference in the color of the cakes after they came out of the oven. Hence, I will not be using any food coloring in this recipe the next time around. I will, however, reduce the amount of cocoa, only to see if it helps the color of beets to come out more. And also because I thought the cocoa flavor was overpowering. If any of you tries this recipe out, please let me know, in the comments section below, what you thought about it. So here goes!


Red velvet beet cake:

Yields one 9-inch round layer cake or about 20 cupcakes

You will need:

3 large beets
¼ cup lemon juice (the lemon juice helps retain the color while baking, or the cake will turn out brownish due to oxidization)
½ cup oil
¼ cup buttermilk
3 tablespoon regular mayonnaise
2 eggs
¾ cup all purpose flour
⅔ cup sugar
½ cup dutch processed cocoa (I will use ¼ c. the next time)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash your beets thoroughly (do not peel) and place them in a regular loaf pan with 1/2 cup of water. Completely cover your loaf pan with foil, and roast the beets for about 60-90 minutes, or until they are tender. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely.


2. While they are cooling, lightly mix together all of the dry ingredients and set aside.

3. After the beets are cool to touch, the skin should peel right off with little effort. If you don’t want stained fingers, it is a good idea to wear gloves while removing the skin. Put the beets in a blender along with the lemon juice and blend the ingredients until it turns into a nice puree.


4. Add the remaining wet ingredients and blend until it reaches a uniform consistency.

5. Using a stand mixer or a spatula, stir together the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until combined.


6. Scoop your batter into the prepared muffin pans or liners.


7. Bake for 30 minutes. Keep checking on your cake for doneness starting at 25 minutes, as I have had someone else try this recipe out and it took them closer to 40 minutes. (The best way to check if your cake is done, is by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, then you’re done! If not, leave it in for a couple more minutes.)

8. Allow your cake to cool completely before icing it.

Best with white chocolate cream cheese icing.

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6 Thoughts on “Red velvet cupcakes with beets and white chocolate cream cheese frosting

  1. Interesting recipe! I never attempted a red velvet recipe; but I understood it to have raspberry and red food color. This recipe doesn’t need the food color. The beets take care of that.

    • Yes, the beets do take care of the color which is why this recipe was so appealing to me :) I cannot convince myself to use a whole little tub of food coloring in just one batter lol. I wonder if it will do the same thing with raspberries. Hmm! That will be an interesting thing to try :D

  2. I don’t think using actual raspberries is a good idea because of the seeds. Raspberry jelly sometimes goes between the layers although you could probably use the seedless type in the batter; or for that matter any red jelly (except currant). Now that I notice, the half cup of cocoa powder is excessive.

    • Thanks for the suggestion :) I’ve used raspberry sauce in one of my brownie recipes and that is something I’d like to try in the future. I know there are natural food coloring out there as well. Regarding the cocoa powder, I used half a cup to mask the flavor of beets while keeping the color. I’m not very fond of the beet flavor to be honest. If you are okay with it, you can most definitely use less cocoa powder in the recipe :)

  3. Reading your last reply and not having tasted this cake, maybe the recipe needs that half up of cocoa powder.

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