Red Velvet Cake

This beautiful red velvet cake with beetroot is a delicious way to “hide” beets inside of something decadent.

Since this red velvet beetroot cake recipe has a natural red tint from the beets, we don’t have to use quite as much of the unnatural dyes that other recipes call for.

What you will love about this red velvet beetroot cake

What is not to love, when you can hide beets into a recipe and your kids still devour it?  You will not taste the beets whatsoever in this recipe.  It tastes like a delicious chocolate cake.

PLUS, I made this recipe easy since we are using a box cake mix!  You won’t be spending too much time making everything from scratch.

Tips

DISCLAIMER: I want to give a little disclaimer to this recipe.  If you look up other beetroot red velvet cake recipes online, they all claim that the beets alone color the cake a deep red.  As much as that sounds great, they are all either photoshopping their pictures, or they are adding food dye.  You will not get the deep red velvet color by beetroots alone.  It is my intention to be completely honest with you about this recipe that no matter what you do, you will need to add some sort of food dye to get the burgundy color of the cake.

That being said, recipes for red velvet cake used to be made with traditional Dutch process cocoa along with some sort of acid (like vinegar) creating a chemical reaction that would turn the cake red.  Dutch processed cocoa is not the same today. It is processed differently because you can’t recreate that chemical reaction anymore.  Maybe I just haven’t found the right cocoa powder.  If you have found it, please comment below and let me know!

After my disclaimer, I also want to add that the beets do provide a little color to our recipe, so that we don’t have to use quite as much dye.  Most other recipes call for about 4 tablespoons of red dye in order to get the proper coloring in the red velvet cake.  Since we have a little help from the beets, we will only be using 3 teaspoons of red dye (which is significantly less).

Ingredients

I’ve tried to keep this recipe as easy as possible.  You will need to buy your favorite chocolate cake mix at the store (don’t purchase red velvet mix).  On top of that we are going to be adding beets.

If you have homegrown beets, you can roast them in the oven, then puree them in a blender to use in this recipe. You will get a more vibrant color if you use fresh roasted beets as opposed to canned beets.  But if you are in a hurry, you can use one 8 oz. can of sliced beets.

If you use a can of beets, the color will not be as deep, but it will still work.  Make sure to reserve the liquid from the can to use in your cake mix for better color.

It is weird, your cake batter will look quite burgundy before it is cooked, but for some reason, after baking the cake batter, the natural color of the beets fades quite a bit, that is why we still must use some food dye.

I also want to talk about frosting for just a moment.  Everyone and their mother seems to have a different opinion on what kind of frosting goes on red velvet cake.  Some people prefer vanilla buttercream frosting.  Some people prefer chocolate buttercream frosting.  Traditionally, red velvet cake should be made with cream cheese frosting.  You can just buy a can of cream cheese frosting from the store for this recipe.  If you want to make it from scratch, check out my cream cheese frosting in this recipe for carrot cake.  It is the best cream cheese frosting you will ever make from scratch!

These are the ingredients for red velvet beetroot cake:

  • Chocolate cake mix package (15.25 oz)
  • Beetroot puree (either fresh roasted beets or 1 can of sliced beets 8 oz.)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Water
  • Eggs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Baking powder
  • Red food dye (see disclaimer above)
  • Your choice of frosting

How to make red velvet beetroot cake

I’m going to go through both fresh beets and canned beets so that you can choose which one you want to do.

If you are using fresh beets, preheat the oven to 400°F, wash them and cut the greens off.  Poke them with a fork and wrap them in foil.  Roast them in the oven for at least 45 minutes, or until they are very tender.  Remove them from the oven and let them cool.  When they are cool enough to work with, peel the skin off and place them in the blender.  You will want a total of 1 cup of beet puree.  Add the remaining wet ingredients to the blender (eggs, water apple cider vinegar and vegetable oil) and blend until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

If you are using canned sliced beets, open the can and pour the water into a measuring cup, reserving it for the batter.  Place the sliced beets into a blender with the apple cider vinegar, eggs and vegetable oil.  In the measuring cup with the reserved beat juice, fill it the rest of the way with water until you reach 1 cup of liquid.  Add the liquid to the blender also.

Blend the mixture until completely smooth and liquified.  In a large mixing bowl, add the chocolate cake mix and baking powder.  Pour in the pureed beets and wet ingredients along with the food dye and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until completely smooth.

Butter two 8-inch cake pans and pour the batter equally into each.

Bake in the oven according to the box directions until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

After it has baked, let it cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove it to cool all the way on a wire cooling rack.

Place the first cake on the serving dish and generously frost it with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

Carefully place the second cake on top and finish frosting them both.

Serve and enjoy!

Variations

This beetroot red velvet cake is also delicious with mascarpone frosting if you are wanting a lighter, fluffier frosting.

Equipment

  • 8-inch cake pans
  • Electric mixer
  • Blender

FAQ’s

Is red velvet cake a kind of chocolate cake?

Yes, red velvet cake is basically just chocolate cake with red food coloring added to it to give it its burgundy color.

Why is there vinegar in red velvet cake?

The vinegar or acid in the ingredients of red velvet cake, help to make a more vibrant color of red.  The vinegar reacts with the cocoa powder to help color it red.

Red Velvet Cake (with Beetroot)

Print Recipe
Course Dessert
Keyword Beetroot, cake, Red Velvet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 18

Ingredients

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix 15.25 oz
  • 1 can sliced beets* 8 oz can, reserve liquid
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup liquid beet liquid reserve plus water to equal 1 cup
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons red food dye
  • Cream cheese frosting of choice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Place the sliced beets, apple cider vinegar, reserved beet liquid + water (should equal 1 cup), eggs and vegetable oil in a blender. Purée it until it is smooth and liquified.
  • Pour the cake mix into a large mixing bowl and add the pureed liquid to it along with the red food dye. Mix it with an electric mixer on high for 2 full minutes until completely smooth.
  • Butter two 8-inch cake pans and pour the batter into them equally.
  • Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 15 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pan to completely cool on a wire rack.
  • Frost and layer the cakes on a serving dish with your favorite cream cheese frosting.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

If you are using fresh beets, clean them and poke them with a fork. Wrap them in foil and roast them in the oven at 400°F for about 45 minutes or until very tender. Remove the skin when it is cool enough to work with. Puree the cooked beets and measure out 1 cup of pureed beets for the recipe. Follow the rest of the instructions, blending the beets with the other wet ingredients (eggs, vinegar, water, oil) before mixing it into the cake mix.