Healthy Red Velvet Cake

by Daniela

Imagine one of the best cakes on earth made in a version that is actually good for you! The Healthy Red Velvet Cake will surely impress you: moist layers, delicious frosting and all that made with nutritious ingredients. Last but not least, it is also quite easy to prepare.

Healthy Red Velvet Cake on a wooden background, one piece cut

What is so special about Red Velvet Cake

If you never tried this famous dessert you might be wondering what is the big fuss about it. Why red? Why velvet? And what flavour is actually red velvet?
The secrets of this cake are three: first, its flavour is a combination of vanilla and cocoa. In fact the cocoa is just a tiny bit, so its taste is not very distinctive. However the overall impression is really nice. Secondly, the batter is made with buttermilk plus vinegar, which make the layers incredibly moist and tender. Every bite literally feels like “velvet”. The third point is the redness: nowadays in the ordinary version typically a red colouring is used, but that was not always the case. Most probably when this cake was created in the 19th century, the cocoa powder itself, due to not being alkalised, was making a reaction with the vinegar and buttermilk and so was giving a reddish colour to the layers.

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

How do you make this cake healthy

It is all a matter of substituting some of the classic ingredients with healthy ones. I made a careful selection because I wanted to keep the perfect texture and great taste of the “real” Red Velvet Cake. And I managed a perfect result!

Healthy Red Velvet Cake work in progress

Below are the necessary ingredients for my recipe:
– Cocoa Powder: preferably choose the natural kind because it hasn’t been through the chemical process of alkalising. In addition the natural cocoa powder reacts well with the baking soda and contributes for the soft texture of the cake.
– Coconut Sugar: with lower glycemic impact and higher nutrition qualities than the cane sugar.
– Spelt Flour: known for its nutritious qualities
– Beetroot Powder: works as a colorant but it is also quite healthy. However I found out that after baking its colour changed from bright red to brownish. Still I believe it is a great addition to the cake and might be contributing for its tenderness
– Olive oil: one of the healthiest oils in the world
– Eggs
– Buttermilk + Vinegar
– Cake flour
– Baking Soda
– Vanilla extract

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

Is the Healthy Red Velvet Cake recipe hard to make?

Not at all! You don’t need any special equipment, apart from two cake pans (or one but taller), a mixer and a rubber spatula. The method of mixing the batter is the simplest one: just add the ingredients gradually to the bowl while the mixer is working at a low speed. No butter creaming, neither long egg beating.

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

What kind of frosting goes on Red Velvet Cake

Traditionally this cake was made with a variation of buttercream frosting. Today you can find it most often with cream cheese frosting. It is just the perfect addition to the tender velvet layers! Nevertheless, if you want to try that cake with a chocolate frosting or just with whipped cream, it would be great as well.
The current recipe is with cream cheese frosting sweetened with maple syrup. I divided it in two and coloured one half with beetroot powder: a step that I found great for the final effect of the cake but is totally optional.

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

As usual, I will love to receive your comments regarding this recipe. Please let me know if you have made it!

Healthy Red Velvet Cake
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3.6 from 5 votes

Healthy Red Velvet Cake

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins


For the cake base:

  • 1 cup (200 g) coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup (150 g) spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup (100 g) cake flour*
  • 2 tbs (30 g) beetroot powder
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • 1 tbs (10 g) cocoa powder, natural*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1,5 teaspoon baking powder*
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup (75 ml) maple syrup
  • 16 oz (450 g) cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) butter, soft
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Cake Bases:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C /350 degrees Line two 7 inch / 18 cm cake pans with circles of baking paper. Grease well the pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine coconut sugar, spelt flour, cake flour, cocoa, beetroot powder, baking soda and baking powder. Start whisking with a hand whisk (or with the mixer at a very low speed), until the ingredients are blended. Gradually add the eggs, oil and vanilla and continue whisking If you are using a mixer, you can increase the speed a bit. At the end add the buttermilk, mixed with the vinegar. Whisk just until all ingredients are combined well and the batter is smooth. Do not overbeat!
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, dividing it in equal halves. Bake about 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove the bases from the oven. Let them cool completely before assembling the cake.


  • In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except the beetroot powder. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy and smooth.
  • Optionally divide the frosting in two equal parts and add the beetroot powder to one of them. Beat until the colour is uniform.


  • Using a large serrated knife, cut horizontally each base into two equal layers. Trim any uneven parts (they will be used for decoration).
  • Place one layer on a serving plate and put half of the red frosting on top (in case you made two colours, otherwise use about 1/4 of the whole frosting). Place another layer on top and cover it with about 1/2 of the white frosting. Continue the process with the other two layers, alternating the frostings. Cover the cake on top and on the sides with the remaining white frosting.
  • Decorate as desired. I used artificial flowers and crumbs from the trimmed parts, coloured with some beetroot powder.


  • If the cake flour is self raising, add only the baking soda and skip the baking powder
  • Natural cocoa powder (acid) has a lighter colour, while the dutch process (alkaline) is darker. Alternatively you can use dutch process cocoa powder but natural is preferred for this recipe.
  • If the batter seems too thick, you can add a few tablespoons of water at the end. Add them one by one to avoid making the batter too thin.
Cake Pan Conversions CalculatorAdapt any cake recipe to your pan with this calculator!
Tried this recipe? Show me your creation!Mention @daniscookings in Instagram or tag #daniscookings!

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Рая Saturday September 21st, 2019 - 11:15 AM

Тортата изглежда прекрасно и съм сигурна, че е много вкусна, както други Ваши рецепти, които съм пробвала. Какво крем сирене използвате за крема?

Daniela Saturday September 21st, 2019 - 11:31 AM

Много благодаря, Рая! Радвам се, че Ви харесват рецептите ми!
Ако не се лъжа в тази рецепта използвах класическото на Филаделфия, но спокойно можете да пробвате с други марки крем сирене. Често купувам от Лидл или също Hochland (полска марка, в кутия по 200 г), което е доста разпространено из супермаркетите.

jessheupel Tuesday March 17th, 2020 - 05:38 AM

Could I replace the cake flour with more spelt, or a gluten free mix?

Daniela Tuesday March 17th, 2020 - 08:31 AM

Spelt instead of cake flour is fine. With the gluten free mix I am not sure as the texture would change. It might work but needs to be tested.
Good luck and happy baking! 😊


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