I am so excited to share today's Healthy Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes with you guys! These cupcakes are super easy to make and vegans and non vegans alike will love them!
What Makes These Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes Healthy?
Making desserts that are truly healthy can be a struggle. There are plenty of recipes online that claim to be healthy, yet are loaded with processed oils and refined sugars. However my recipes are different.
Every recipe on my website is whole foods plant based, and therefore super healthy. Basically what I'm saying is you can eat these healthy red velvet cupcakes and improve your nutrition at the same time #GOALS.
What is it that makes the vegan red velvet cupcakes healthy? It's actually a couple different things.
They Are Refined Sugar-Free:
First and foremost these red velvet cupcakes are naturally sweetened! I used one of my favorite plant based sweeteners for this recipe: Maple Crystals! Maple Crystals are essentially a pure form of maple syrup.
This means they contain fiber. It's SUPER important that when you are looking for a healthy sweetener that you choose one that contains fiber. Fiber helps to not spike your blood sugar, and for the sugars to be absorbed slower. Maple Crystals have a whopping 4 grams of fiber, and contain antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals! That's not even the best part.
Maple Crystals work just like regular caster sugar (melt and everything!), they make healthy vegan baking super simple! I do have a Wilderness Poets discount code: "VEGAN10" for $10 off if you're interested in maple crystals!
They Are Oil-Free:
These vegan red velvet cupcakes are also made healthy because they are completely oil-free! I personally avoid baking with oil (especially coconut oil and canola oil) because it adds unnecessary calories. I'm a volume eater, so I prefer low calorie recipes so I can eat more! These low fat red velvet cupcakes are made with applesauce in place of the oil which helps to make them super moist and low fat!
To sum it up, this recipe is:
- Refined sugar-free
Keys To Making The Best Healthy Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
How do you make oil-free and refined sugar-free vegan frosting? It sounds quite impossible considering that traditional frosting is made of butter and powdered sugar, and vegan frosting is made from vegan butter (oil) and refined sugar. This healthy vegan cream cheese frosting recipe on the other hand is made with whole foods plant based ingredients.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when making this healthy vegan cream cheese frosting recipe. First, choose the right cream cheese frosting. My personal go-to is Kite Hill. I am obsessed with almost all Kite Hill products, but their vegan cream cheese is especially good. It's super creamy and oil-free (the label is all clean ingredients!). I haven't tried this recipe with other vegan cream cheeses, but I would not recommend the Miyokos brand, because the taste is very sour, and the texture is too grainy for frosting.
Second, since the cream cheese frosting uses liquid sweeteners and cassava flour instead of powdered sugar I recommend letting it sit (covered in an airtight container) in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight. This helps the flour taste goes away and the icing firms up a bit (this helps to make it more pipe-able).
You don't have to do this step, but I recommend! If you follow these steps I can guarantee that you will end up with the best healthy vegan red velvet cupcakes!
Tips For Making These Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes:
How To Make Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes:
Making moist cakes/cupcakes can be a major struggle - especially when it comes to healthy vegan baking. It took me a couple tests (no complaints here lol!) to make these refined sugar-free red velvet cupcakes moist, but I finally got it right!
One of my absolute favorite tricks for making cakes moist is to wrap them with aluminum foil right out of the oven and place in the freezer overnight to trap the steam in. It's a game changer! However this is much harder to do with cupcakes. You can wrap the whole pan with aluminum foil, and place in the freezer overnight, however it's hard to get an air tight seal. Therefore it is even more important that the ingredients for these plant based red velvet cupcakes work to make the recipe super moist!
Using Applesauce Instead Of Oil:
Since this vegan red velvet cupcake recipe is oil-free we have to rely on applesauce. Applesauce works great as an oil substitute. However I like to add a few more ingredients to level up the moist factor a little more.
Making Homemade Non-Dairy Buttermilk:
One of the most crucial ingredients when making anything red velvet is buttermilk. Vegan buttermilk is extremely easy to make, and can be made with any non-dairy milk.
I strongly recommend using unsweetened soy milk for vegan buttermilk. I believe that soy milk is the best non-dairy milk for baking recipes like these vegan red velvet cupcakes. It has a decent fat content and is oil-free. This will help make your cupcakes moist and healthy at the same time! If you don't like soy milk, I'd say that oat is the next best option.
To make the non-dairy buttermilk at home all you need is a plant based milk (oat milk, almond milk, and soy milk all work well!) and white vinegar or lemon juice. Both of these work well, but I recommend white vinegar. Combine these ingredients together in a small bowl and mix until it curdles!
Best Gluten-Free Flours For Whole Foods Plant Based Vegan Baking:
At this point the amount of gluten-free flour mixes out there is simply overwhelming. It honestly kind of bugs me when a recipe calls for "gluten-free flour", because they are all made completely differentIy. Most gluten-free mixes are starch based and contain very few nutrients. I stay away from these for the most part.
What do I use to make the best gluten-free and vegan desserts? Well, for these Red Velvet Cupcakes I used Sorghum flour! Sorghum flour is one of my favorite gluten-free flours, because it's light and fluffy and works just like all purpose flour. It doesn't get too dense like some other whole foods flours. It is super nutrient dense and has a mild flavor that compliments many desserts!
If you can't find Sorghum flour you can always use a pre-made gluten-free flour, however you need to keep in mind that it may adjust the texture and the nutrition of the recipe. There are some gluten-free flour mixes that contain less than 1 gram of fiber, and I would avoid these since they are essentially a bleached white flour.
How To Naturally Color These Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes:
Red velvet is traditionally colored with artificial dyes. Needless to say artificial colors are pretty horrible for your health. Therefore I strictly avoid them. Most of the time it is very easy to obtain the fun bright colors with natural food colorings.
However, red velvet has been something I've struggled with. I love using beetroot powder, because it gives a red hue and even adds a bit of sweetness. However it does not give the bright red color you see in these photos.
To achieve that color seen in these photos I had to bring in backup with the Whole Foods Plant Based Red Food Dye. If I'm baking for just myself I like to stick to beetroot powder, because it's simple and tastes the same. However if I'm baking for guests, or photos I'll use natural red food coloring drops to achieve the vibrant red velvet color we all know and love.
Ingredients For The Healthy Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- Sorghum flour - Works just like all purpose flour, but is gluten-free!
- Maple Crystals - "VEGAN10" for $10 off - Maple cyrstals work just like caster sugar. They are amazing.
- Beetroot powder - Adds color and some sweetness. You will not achieve the vibrant colors like the photos with just the beet powder
- Cacao powder - You can also use cocoa, but it is less nutritious.
- Baking powder -
- Applesauce - Make sure to use unsweetened.
- Soy milk - Can sub almond milk, or oat milk.
- White Vinegar - You can also use lemon juice.
- Vanilla Extract - Mexican is the best!
- Natural Red Food Coloring - Optional, but necessary to get the vibrant color.
Ingredients For The Best Healthy Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:
- Plant Based Cream Cheese - Make sure to find a brand with clean ingredients I always recommend Kite Hill.
- Coconut Cream - Just the white pat.
- Cassava Flour - It sounds odd, but it works a lot like powdered sugar!
- Maple syrup - Make sure to use pure maple syrup.
- Vanilla Extract - I personally love using Mexican Vanilla Extract. It's way more expensive, but the flavor is significantly better.
What You Will Need To Make This Recipe:
- Large Bowl
- 2 Small Bowls
- Piping Bag
- Wire Rack
- Stand Mixer - You can also use an electric hand mixer
- Cupcake Liners
- Cupcake Pans
How To Make The Best Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes:
Begin by making the cream cheese frosting ahead of time. To make this cream cheese frosting, begin by creaming the vegan cream cheese, and coconut cream together (just the white part!) in a stand mixer. I like to keep my coconut cream in the fridge to make sure that it's solid when I am ready to use.
Next add and mix in the maple syrup, cassava flour (just trust me!), and vanilla extract. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours. When ready to frost the vegan red velvet cupcakes, scoop the cream cheese frosting into a piping bag with tip of choice.
To make the cupcakes begin by preheating your oven to 350. Next, sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the soy milk and white vinegar (you can also use lemon juice). As you mix this mixture you will begin to see the vegan buttermilk start to form.
In the other small bowl combine the remaining wet ingredients together. Add this mixture and the vegan buttermilk to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and until smooth. If you are looking for the vibrant red, add in your natural red food coloring as well.
Scoop out 12 equal portions of the batter and place in the lined cupcake pans. Bake for 20 minutes. Once cooked all the way through, remove from heat and place to chill on the wire rack (see my tips for achieving the moistest cupcakes above!).
Once completely chilled, pipe the cream cheese frosting on top. Serve and enjoy!
Additional Healthy Vegan Red Velvet Recipes:
Vegan Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 12 cupcake liners
- 2 small bowls
- 1 stand mixer or hand mixer
- 1 piping bag and tips
- Begin by making the frosting ahead of time. Cream together cream cheese and coconut cream* in a stand mixer. Add the cassava flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract and soy milk. Mix until smooth.
- Cover with an air tight container and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).
- To make the red velvet cupcakes, begin by preheat oven to 350.
- Sift together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl combine the soy milk and white vinegar. Mix until it curdles.
- In another small bowl add the remaining liquid ingredients. Mix and then add to the large bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.
- Pour into 12 lined cupcakes and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Once done remove from heat and place on a wire rack. I put mine in an air tight container and freezing.
- Once completely cooled, pipe the cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes. Serve and enjoy!
- it helps to refrigerate the coconut cream ahead of time