Vegan red velvet cupcakes which are moist and melt in your mouth! I included an option for vegan gluten free red velvet cupcakes and ones with no food dye.
Ingredients for these vegan red velvet cupcakes
I'm a huge fan of vegan recipes with simple everyday ingredients. These cupcakes use:
- Plain or all-purpose flour
- Cane sugar (use organic if you're in the USA)
- Plant-based milk
- Liquid vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Apple Cider Vinegar or regular vinegar
- Vegan-friendly red food colouring
You only need 9 ingredients to make these cupcakes (plus the frosting)! Therefore these cupcakes are much healthier than shelf-stable commercial cupcakes such as Sprinkles vegan red velvet cupcakes which has a very long ingredient list!
Is red food dye vegan?
A lot of red food dye is made with carmine. According to Vegan.com, carmine is made of crushed beetles so is not vegan! Gross!
In Australia, we're lucky to have Queen Fine Foods in our major supermarkets (not sponsored) which sells vegan-friendly red food dye, including this red food colour gel and the pillar box red food colour.
That brand of red food dye include e124 which is vegan. I checked their ingredients in January 2021 but ingredients often change so double check in case!
If you're in Australia and prefer a more natural food dye, check out Hopper Foods.
Red food dye vs beetroot powder
You can customise these vegan red velvet cupcakes and make them with either red food dye or beetroot powder.
As red food dye is very concentrated, you'll need a bigger amount of beetroot powder to make your vegan cupcakes a beautiful red/pink colour!
Beetroot powder is very absorbent. So, if you use it, make sure you add a extra dash of water or milk (around 1 tbsp) to the batter to balance it out
As you can see below, both the dye and powder make the vegan cupcakes a beautiful red/pink colour. The cupcakes coloured with food dye are vibrant red/pink whereas the cupcakes coloured with beet powder are a dark earthy red colour.
Making vegan gluten free red velvet cupcakes
I also included a gluten-free option of these cupcakes for those who need/prefer it.
The gluten free red velvet cupcakes are fluffy, moist and delicious! Instead of wheat flour, I used a blend of blanched almond meal/ flour and a store-bought gluten-free flour blend which has xantham gum.
The almond meal/flour adds moisture to the cupcakes and the gluten-free flour blend helps bind everything together! The gluten free version is definitely fluffy. However, the cupcakes don't rise as much and are slightly less fluffy than the ones with gluten. This is typical of gluten free baked goods!
I served these gluten free cupcakes to a bunch of omnis and they devoured it! The photo below shows the texture of a gluten free vegan red velvet cupcake.
I do not recommend omiting the almond meal/flour as vegan baked cakes using only a gluten free flour blend can be gummy and unpleasant.
Or see my other vegan Valentine recipes:
- Vegan Strawberry Cupcakes
- Straberry Cheesecake (unbaked)
- Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie with Berries
- Vegan Beetroot Brownies with Chocolate Avocado Frosting
See my other vegan cupcake recipes:
Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes (customisable)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a cupcake tray with liners.
To make the cupcakes:
- Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix until combined or until there are no lumps. Add all the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in more food colouring or beetroot powder until the batter is your desired colour, keeping in mind that the batter will fade when baked.
- Divide the batter between your cupcake liners.
- Bake the cupcakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer can be inserted into a cupcake and it comes out clean. The baking time will depend on the size of your individual cupcakes.
- Cool the cupcakes in the cupcake tray for 5 minutes then cool them on a wire rack.
To make the frosting:
- Add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl or stand mixer. Whip until just combined. Add the sugar and whip until just combined. If you overmix the frosting, it will become loose and may not hold up. Add more icing sugar for a firmer frosting. (note 5)
- Use a piping bag with a round nozzle to pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Alternatively, use a knife to spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
- Serve immediately. Alternatively, store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
- To make the cupcakes gluten-free, substitute the flour with 1 ¼ cup (200g) gluten-free flour blend and 1 cup (100g) almond flour/meal. Make sure you use a gluten-free flour blend with xantham gum.
- Food colouring gel is more strong than liquid food colouring. If you use liquid food colouring, you may need around 2 tsp.
- If you use beetroot powder, add an extra tablespoon of extra plant-based milk to your batter.
- More icing sugar will create a firmer frosting whereas less icing sugar will create a softer frosting.
- To achieve a two-toned frosting like the pictures, mix ½ cup of the frosting with red food colouring or beetroot powder. Smear the pink frosting on one side of your piping bag and fill up the rest of the bag with the plain white frosting. Then pipe your frosting as desired!
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