Traditional recipes for Red Velvet Cake call for insane amounts of red food coloring– sometimes as much as an entire bottle. Many reports and studies have shown red dye (often referred to by it’s number- red 40 and red 3) to have a negative impact on childrens behavior, and many parents of ADHD and autistic kids steer clear of anything with red dye in it. Adults who experience migraines have sited red 40 as a trigger, amongst other reports of upset stomach and feeling jittery.
Not everyone will experience these kinds of symptoms when eating red dye, however, if you can keep the amount you ingest to a minimum, it’s worth doing. Pouring an entire bottle of the stuff into cake is not only unnecessary, but may elicit feelings of panic once digested, and eliminated (yes, I’m talking about going to the bathroom- “Oh my gosh, call an ambulance, death has come knocking at my door!”).
That being said I still want my cake and to eat it too! There’s a secret ingredient that makes this cake moist and a wee bit healthy at the same time. However, I have to say that the cake tasted a bit grassy the first day. By the second day, the flavors had mellowed and melded into a delicious and moist cake that everyone enjoyed.
Red Velvet Cake (or cupcakes)
Yield: 4 dozen cupcakes or 3 cake layers
3 ounces quality dark chocolate
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups Rapadura (or granulated sweetener of your choice)
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, where to buy coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat pastry flour but it will be heavier- more like a quick bread)
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds canned beets, drained and pureed (I used part pickled beets and they work too)
1/2 teaspoon beet powder or 1 teaspoon of the beet “juice” (from jar)
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until just melted.
Mix eggs, sugar and coconut oil until incorporated and creamy. Add vanilla.
Add chocolate mixture, pureed beets and beet powder or juice and mix on low speed until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients together.
Add dry ingredients to chocolate mixture. Mix until just combined.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If you’re making a cake: Butter three 9″ cake pans and line them with parchment or waxed paper.
If you’re making cupcakes: Line 4 muffin tins (that hold a dozen muffins/cupcakes each) with a paper cupcake liner or spray generously with oil. Fill half to three-quarters full.
Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little bits of crumb. For cake about 20-25 minutes. For cupcakes 12-15 minutes.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and turn out on wire racks to cool completely.
Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting or chocolate ganache.