Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet (Birthday) Cake


UPDATE: I initially created this cake for my twin sister and I’s birthday. I wanted to make a healthier version of one of our favorite cakes – red velvet – using beets instead of artificial food colouring and making it vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free so that we would both feel less guilty having a piece or two or three. I was very pleased with how the cake first came out (the one you see on the photos). Everyone at our dining table loved it and couldn’t believe it was made of beets and was totally guilt-free. I was so happy with the result that I chose to post the recipe here on the blog.

Then a few readers reached out to mention that the recipe didn’t turn out for them. So I decided to get back into the kitchen to test it again. I made it again in my own oven and in my sister’s oven too. And the truth is the results were inconsistent. I started tweaking the recipe, changing ratios, ingredients and techniques here and there, trying to improve it and make the recipe totally foolproof. I’ve lost count of how many cakes I’ve baked. As much as I wanted to share the perfect vegan gluten-free red velvet cake recipe with you here, at this point I know I’ll never achieve a recipe I’ll be completely satisfied with. I’ve made it so many times that it killed all the magic and I’m just not excited by the idea of a beet cake anymore. Baking, cooking and sharing recipes here with you is something I cherish and am passionate about. It should be fun and exciting, and the truth is this cake is not for me anymore. So I’ve decided to delete the recipe.

I know how important making a birthday cake is – it’s all about making a delicious, perfect, memorable cake for the one your love. And because I can’t guarantee that at this point anymore, I prefer deleting it. I apologize to anyone who might have been disappointed by the recipe. Who knows, I might try my hand at another natural red velvet cake recipe one day, but for now I’ll focus on bringing you many other delicious recipes that I’m proud of and that I know you’ll love.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Birthday Cake // www.thegreenlife.caVegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Birthday Cake // www.thegreenlife.caVegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Birthday Cake //

Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Birthday Cake //

Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Birthday Cake //

Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Birthday Cake //


Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it will get you the right ones.

Vegan & Gluten-free Red Velvet Birthday Cake //



Leave a Reply to Lisa | The Viet Vegan Cancel reply

  • Happy Birthday! My birthday is this week too! What a coincidence =) It looks absolutely delicious, nicely done for making it gluten-free! I suck at GF baking haha, but I’m glad my recipe worked out for you. Thanks for linking back and I hope you enjoy the cake with your sister!

    • Thanks so much Lisa!!
      Your birthday is this week?? Amazing! What a coincidence indeed! Happy birthday to you too!
      I loved your recipe! It turned out perfectly. And I loved that it was vegan too. Oh yes, we enjoyed it, it’s almost entirely gone already! 🙂

  • Happy birthday to both of you 🙂 Sophie, it’s a masterpiece! I’ll be sure to remind you when my birthday’s coming up… 😉

    • Aw thank you my friend!!
      Haha yes!! But I’d be way too intimidated! You’re the master of baking!!! I need a lot more practice before I can even dream of reaching your level. 🙂

  • This recipe was an unqualified disaster. The cake did not cook properly leaving the inside very dense and the coconut cream for the icing refused to thicken when whipped. This is the first time I am trying a vegan and gluten-free red velvet recipe and it will be the last. What a disappointment! Perhaps it’s better to go non-vegan sometimes.

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that the cake didn’t work for you! Did you switch some of the ingredients or followed the recipe as is? In terms of baking time, it can always vary depending on the oven. Some ovens require a little more time, so it’s important to test with a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean. If there’s still batter on it, it means it should be baked a little longer. The cake itself is of course a little more dense than your traditional non-vegan non-GF cakes, so it might explain why you didn’t like the texture.
      As for the coconut icing, did you refrigerate the can overnight before whipping? The milk won’t whip if it’s not cold enough. Again, I’m sorry the recipe didn’t turn out as good for you as it did for me.

    • Hi Tara! If you don’t like the taste of coconut, then you could substitute coconut oil for refined coconut oil (refined oil is tasteless). Otherwise you could use butter or ghee, but then of course the cake won’t be vegan anymore. Coconut sugar could be replaced by other types of sugar, although it doesn’t taste like coconut at all. It’s actually similar to brown sugar in taste and texture. As for the icing, if you don’t want to use coconut milk then you’ll have to go with a more traditional non-vegan icing (buttermilk, cream cheese or mascarpone icing for example).

  • This cakes looks super yummy!

    Is it also possible to make it with regular flour and perhaps some aquafaba to make it more fluffy?

    I tried using baking soda in a red velvet cupcake recipe and it made the cake turn green (chemical reaction between beets and soda I think).

    Love to hear your opinion.

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Helen! Thank you so much for your comment! Yes, you can use regular flour (or other types of flour). And aquafaba is a great idea! I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it would work very well here. You’re right, using baking soda would dull the vibrant red color of the cake. This is why it’s important to use baking powder – it doesn’t have the same effect and actually preserves the red color. 🙂

  • I hate to be so critical but considering the cost of the ingredients used for this cake I must say that this recipe is nonsense! I have followed the recipe exactly and I have two flat, cracked “cakes” that aren’t even red! I don’t have time to bin it and start again but am now wondering if it’s even worth attempting the coconut milk icing, I will have to fill with fresh fruits to give it some height. Love the idea of this recipe but unfortunately has ended in an ultimate fail.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that the cake didn’t turn out for you. This is strange… Did you use the exact same ingredients? The color you see on the photos is the exact color of the cake – so I don’t see why yours wouldn’t be red? As for the height of the cake, of course it depends on the size of the pans you used. As you can see from the photos, it’s not a very tall cake. You would probably have to use three smaller pans instead of two large to make it taller.

  • Can I substitute coconut butter or applesauce for coconut oil?
    Also, what other flours will work? Is buckwheat flour good?
    Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Magda! I haven’t tested the cake with coconut butter or applesauce, so unfortunately I can’t guarantee the results – but I’m guessing it would considerably change the texture. I’m not sure about coconut butter as it is much more dense, but I’m thinking applesauce would probably be a better bet. As for the flours, you could use all-purpose or any of your favorite gluten-free blends. Buckwheat flour would probably work too, although it has a stronger flavour, so the taste would likely be slightly different. I hope this helps!

  • Hi Sophie!
    I’m trying to curdle rice-coconut milk and it doesn’t want to work out.
    Could you suggest me some other type of plant based milk?

    This one will be my second cake ever so probably don’t know something really basic about it 🙂


  • I also hate to be critical but the cake didn’t work out well for me either. It was really undercooked so needed about 20 extra mins in the oven and even then the texture was just oily and weird. It’s not completely inedible, it’s a bit like a chocolatey bread and butter pudding, but not the cake I was hoping for.

    • Hi Lou,
      I’m sorry to hear that the cake didn’t turn out the way you were hoping. I went back to re-test it again in a different oven and I had an issue similar to yours. The cake didn’t cook as well as when I did it in my own oven. After many trials and after realizing that the results were inconsistent from one oven to another, I’ve decided to delete the recipe. I apologize again for the inconvenience. Thank you for your feedback, it’s much appreciated.

  • Where is the recipe? I would like to make this for my step-mom and father, so would you mind adding that recipe on this page?

  • I tried your recipe last year for my husbands birthday and my entire family absolutely loved it! He requested same cake again for this year and I had your page book marked but the recipe is gone ☹️ The cupcake recipe isn’t the same as what you had.

  • I personally made and this cake for my sister in law’s birthday and it came out so great! So great that I was about to try it again to make cupcakes. I understand and respect your decision to delete it but if you still have the directions available, I would love a copy.

  • I made this cake for my sister in law’s birthday sometime back and it came out great! So great even that I want to make it again but as cupcakes, come to find the recipe is gone. I understand and respect your decision in deleting it but would like to ask if you have a copy of the directions available, I would LOVE a copy. Sincerely, someone who loved this cake!

    • Je comprends votre frustration mais effacer la recette et en priver celles et ceux qui veulent s’y essayer c’est pire à mon avis. C’eat comme d’avouer que ca ne fonctionne pas. Moi même je commence à croire que c’est difficile de réussir un gateau vegan, Et franchement je me rebelle car je ne veut pas faire jaser inutilement les gens qui croient que les oeufs et le lait sont nécessaires pour réussir un gâteau! Non je préfère continuer et essayer. Sauf que à a mon actif je n’ai qu’une recette de gâteau au chocolat, je la fait car je la réussi toujours. Mais c’est lassant. Je veux faire un coup d’éclat dans ma famille avec une nouvelle recette. SVP ramenez la recette! On a saisi la mise en garde : laissez-nous essayer! Si les gens vous en ont voulu parce que la recette n’a pas fonctionné, ca n’a rien à voir, c’est bien dommage pour eux. Merci!

      • Bonjour Audrey! Il me fait plaisir d’envoyer la recette par courriel aux personnes qui m’en font la demande. Je préfère simplement ne pas la laisser publiquement sur le site pour éviter des déceptions/frustrations.:) Je peux vous la faire parvenir par courriel si vous le souhaitez!
        Vous trouverez aussi une recette de gâteau à la vanille et de gâteau au chocolat végans sur le site qui ont toujours reçu d’excellents commentaires. 🙂