The best Red Velvet Cake that happens to be Vegan!

Guest blog by Beverly Baldwin.

I am a Southern Belle at heart. I was born in Winchester, Kentucky–both my parents grew up there. We still have quite a bit of family living in the South. I love everything about Southern food, except for the high calories and fat counts! My favorite is Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.

My husband suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 44, and it was after that scare that we started to radically change our diet (Sorry Paula Deen). While I still ADORE desserts, I try to find alternatives that are Vegan and still tasty. While I wouldn’t profess that many Vegan desserts are necessarily low in calories and fat, this recipe for Vegan Red Velvet Cake with Vegan Frosting does a good job of keeping down the fat grams but most importantly without taking away taste.

This is a unbelievably delicious cake that is so moist and flavorful. A lot of people turn up their nose when they even hear the word Vegan without actually understanding what it means. Vegan is No Eggs, No Dairy, No animal products. I actually took an old family recipe and Veganized it. I did a test run at work this past week, and the cake was gone in less than 10 minutes. People raved about it and loved it, even though they knew it was Vegan. Many said that if I didn’t tell them they would not have known! I also came up with a fun holiday spin by adding peppermint to the frosting and decorating it to look like peppermint candies! Enjoy!

  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-3/4 cups plain non dairy milk (I use unsweetened almond but you can use any kind you like. Just don’t vanilla version)
  •  1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons white  vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red food coloring (you can use2 oz bottle of  regular but I use Vegan India Tree coloring or 1/4 cup beet juice)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and flour Q2 8″ round metal baking pans.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt
  3. Add non-dairy milk, oil, food coloring (or beet juice), and vanilla to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Stir in vinegar until just blended.
  4. Immediately pour batter into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 35-50 minutes. To test doneness, I use a toothpick and stick it into the center until it comes out clean. If it comes out clean the cake is done. If not, then cook in 5 min. increments and test as you go along.
  5. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on wire rack. Run knife around edge of pan after 10 min. then invert cakes onto rack to cool completely. Once cooled cut each cake layer in half so you have 4 total slices.


  • 6 cups confectioner’s icing sugar (Q1 32 oz bag)
  • Q1 8 oz container of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, softened (I buy mine at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup vegan margarine ( I use Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks that I get at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup vegan vegetable shortening (again I buy this at Whole Foods)
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract-(yup I said 4, what can I say, I love vanilla!)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Vegan Soy Creamer or Non Dairy Milk
  • 1 tsp Peppermint Extract (or more or less to taste)



  1. In a large mixing bowl, place vegan margarine, vegan shortening and whip on medium speed until blended and there are no lumps. Then add container of Vegan Cream Cheese and blend on Med speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  2. Start with a 1/2 cup of Non Dairy Milk or Vegan Creamer and add this to the vegan margarine/shortening mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time and blend until mixed together on med-slow speed. If the mixture is getting too dry, add a touch more milk or creamer and continue blending on med-slow speed.
  3. Add salt and vanilla and continue mixing (for about 1 minute)—add peppermint extract to taste
  4. Once all ingredients are blended, turn mixer on high and beat for approximately 4 minutes. If the frosting seems too thick, add more creamer or milk and continue to blend.
  5. Split the frosting up into 2 bowls and color the one bowl with red coloring (either the India Tree color, beet juice or regular red food coloring).

  6. Place one cake layer, flat side down on cake plate or platter. Take about 3/4 cup icing and frost the first layer with white. Then, place the next sliced cake layer on top and ice that with Red icing. Alternate with each layer until finished. When done layering, cover the entire cake with a thin crumb coat of white icing and place cake in fridge for approximately 15 minutes to chill.
The Vegan Buttercream Rose Swirl

Video Tutorial for doing the Rose Swirl by Baking 911 (love that site!!!)
Now for the fun part! I have included a video tutorial on how to do a Buttercream Swirl Rose. It is so easy!!I have included some pictures below of my design process for placing them on the cake. Follow the video above for more detailed instructions on how to actually prepare the icing bag and create the rose swirls.You will want to make sure that you have a large pastry bag and 1M decorating tip. Both can be found at your local Michael’s Craft Store or Local Cake Supply Store.


38 thoughts on “The best Red Velvet Cake that happens to be Vegan!

  1. I am going to bake this cake for my brothers wedding. It looks amazing. I just ordered the India tree food color. Can you tell me exactly how much of that to put in. 1/4 cup??? It only comes in a 2 oz bottle or did you put the whole bottle in?
    Thanks so much.

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  3. thank you for the recipe!!! my daughter wanted a red velvet cake but were vegan so we had search the internet till we found a good cake. yours beat the rest by miles thank you so much!!!!

  4. This cake was AMAZING. one of the best cakes I have ever made and eaten- vegan or not. Do you have a chocolate cake version of this recipe? or any other cake recipes like this (vegan)? If so, I would love to have them. Thanks!

    • Sugar doesn’t cause heart attacks! My gosh, this lady was kind enough to share a recipe that she made to be.plant-based rather than full of animal fats (now THAT would, especially for someone like her husband or my Dad, who have survived heart attacks!), shared it with you-along with a beautiful tutorial, and you’re saying this could cause a heart attack? Use less sugar then! There just is a lot of sugar in frosting, folks, especially since IIRC, this is a layer cake.
      You and the “duh” lady…. mind your manners! Please!

      To Jenna- thank you for this recipe and I am so glad your husband did survive that attack. 44 is so young. My father’s was three years ago and I am still so often just terrified. But health care has come a long way… as has baking 😉

  5. Hi! My daughter has a severe intolerance to high fructose corn syrup and lactose but she loves red velvet cake! SO, I found your recipe and thought I would give it a try for her 13th birthday! I have to tell you that this cake was a HUGE hit not only with her but all of her friends as well! I was extremely thrilled to be able to finally make a cake for her that she was able to enjoy with out worry! It was moist and packed full of flavor and the frosting was to die for! Thank you so much, I am truly grateful!

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  7. It’s always nice too see non-vegans trying “our” food. Funny how people are afraid to try our food until they actually DO. All that’s missing from most desserts is the egg, anyway.

    I’m laughing the comment about your cake being a heart attack on a plate because of the sugar content. Hilarious! Someone needs to brush up on nutrition and heart disease. I wonder if she was eating bacon and eggs or a cheeseburger with an all-meat pizza chaser as she wrote that?

    Anyway, we vegans have LOTS of great food if you ever get curious about it again!

    Your cake is gorgeous, by the way!!

    • I wish I had seen your comment before my head exploded and flew around the room, I would have just co-signed. Well, not with the “our food” bit, since so many people refuse to be vegan due to concerns that they don’t have a Whole Foods or other “special” kind of grocery store nearby or that it will be too costly. We who choose to be vegans eat regular, not hard to find things, of course, just nothing from animals. My newest cookbook that is 100% vegan is filled with ingredients my mother was delighted to see were indeed things she already had in her kitchen. :)

  8. Can you please send me a link to the exact food color? I have found a 3-pack of decorating colors by India Tree with red in it but it says the total package is 2.25 oz including the yellow and blue colors as well.. do they sell just red on its own? Thanks!

  9. OK I just made this with the full bottle of India Tree food coloring (very expensive) and it came out brown like a chocolate cake!! I had tried an artificial food coloring with the same recipe which looked great but I didn’t like the taste. I give up!

  10. hello im gluten free and dairy free and im baking for a nut-free, soy free crowd. do you think this would work with coconut milk? would it still be as moist and good? most recipes use buttermilk and subs for buttermilk include almond and soy milk, any other milk they say, would make the cake too dry. does that apply to this recipe??
    thx :)

  11. Hello :) i just want to say i am thrilled to have found a vegan red velvet cake. I plan on making this cake for my little one’s second birthday. although my family is far from vegan my son is allergic to eggs,soy, and has a pretty bad lactose intolerance which leads me to have to use vegan options for him…. My question is can other oils be used to substitute the vegetable oil??

  12. Hi! I’ve been looking for a vegan red velvet recipe for a lonnnnng time and finally i found one! I haven’t tried it, but when i do i’ll be using it for cake pops. And i was wondering how to get the cake to not look deep/rich red? I want a slightly brighter pure red, and i don’t know what i would do, would i add less coloring?

  13. Image this for my husbands birthday. The cake was nice and moist. However, I used a natural food coloring and indeed it came out brown. The seelect brand, for anyone wondering. I couldn’t use artificial food coloring after I’m constantly bugging my husband to ditch artificially colored drinks. I used coconut sugar in the cake and I think it made it not too sweet.
    The frosting came out great too. I used a little less sugar and it was the perfect sweetness level with the cake.

  14. hey Jenna ! the cake looks amazing ! 😀 i’d like to know if i can use dairy milk instead of almond milk and still kee it eggless?

  15. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but confectioner’s sugar is not vegan. Most is made from white sugar that has been processed through bone char, Domino being one.

    Your cake looks lovely though. 😉

    • Well, the Smug Vegans are out today. This is the reason it took me so long to become fully plant based. Rather than tell her what she is doing WRONG, so you can feel superior, how about suggesting sugar brands that are not cut with bone? I have been baking from uber-vegan Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World cookbook, and they are fun and light hearted, and actually helped me rather than the old “judge and leave”. At least an effort is being made here.
      We aren’t all smug know it alls. I promise!!

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  17. This is by fara the worst recipe i have ever tried. the cake is not sweet enough and not nearly red enough, and the icing is SHOCKING. disgusting. Be wise and do not try this

  18. For those who question powdered sugar, you can have vegan confectioner’s sugar from whole foods. The cake is pretty good and the frosting flavor is excellent. What I want to know is, how to make the frosting really smooth? My guess is I may have not whipped it enought? Please let me know. As for the sweetness, I don’t care for ultra sweet desserts so I even lessened the sugar by 1/3 cup. Thanks for the recipe.

  19. I used the beet juice. My batter was red, but the cupcakes onced baked were akin to a german chocolate brown.

    I baked these for my bday. :-(

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  21. Vegetarians vary in their feelings regarding these ingredients, however. For example, while some vegetarians may be unaware of animal-derived rennet’s role in the usual production of cheese and may therefore unknowingly consume the product,[..*^-

    Find out more about our very own blog too

  22. My 5 year old son is anaphylactic to eggs so I’m always on the lookout for good eggless recipes. He asked for a red velvet cake for his 5th birthday, and so I made this one for him. He’s still talking about it a week later. Excellent recipe, thank you!

  23. This recipe sounds amazing. However, it is a huge misconception that granulated sugar is vegan. It is NOT vegan! granulated sugar is processed with the char of animal bones. This uses a by-product of an animal therefore it is not vegan.

  24. I just made this for Valentine’s Day. Yummy! Instead of red coloring or beet juice I pureed 2C frozen strawberries and added them to the cake mixture. I did the same for the frosting. Delish!

  25. This recipe has always received rave reviews, but I felt something was a little off. My great aunt also always says that it’s the best she’s had, ALMOST as good as her mom’s recipe. So, I compared to some other red velvet recipes and reduced the cocoa to 2 Tbsp, the vanilla to 2 Tbsp (still more than others) and the dye to 1 oz (less cocoa means less dye needed). Turned out beautiful and tastes more like red velvet than chocolate with a hint of red velvet.

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  27. I made this cake for my mum’s 50th birthday because my sister and boyfriend are vegan. I made it exactly as the recipe says and it went down well with everyone in the family. I usually make the magnolia bakery red velvet cupcakes and it almost compares!

  28. I baked this cake twice and both times it fell apart after taking it out of the pans. I followed the recipe exactly. What am I doing wrong?

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