Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made vegan red velvet cupcakes for the first time this past weekend!  I am a little inclined to call them “brown velvet” though…

You see, I was hesitant to use red food coloring, even though red velvet traditionally has it, because of its…”chemical-y” nature.  I am fully aware of the food mantra “everything in moderation”, but I still couldn’t justify buying a whole bottle of it just for this one recipe.  I thought a good alternative might be beet juice – have you ever prepared beets?  One time I roasted them and after cutting them and washing my hands, the deep reddish-purple dye still tinted my fingertips.   So imagine my joy when I saw bottles of this lining the shelves of my local Trader Joe’s:

Woo hoo!   Now that my red food coloring dilemma was solved, all I needed was a vegan red velvet cupcake recipe.  I asked my mom for Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for Hanukkah, and had yet to make  anything from it, so I decided to make their version of red velvet (or as they put it, “crimson velveteen”) cupcakes.  The main changes I made were putting in a little less sugar, and of course replacing the food coloring.

Red Velvet Cupcakes (adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/14 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp beet juice (for true “red velvet”, use red food coloring instead)
  • 2  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin (recipe makes 12 cupcakes).

Stir together soy milk and vinegar and set aside.  (This will allow the milk to curdle – the vegan equivalent of buttermilk).

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix together in a bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients to the curdled soy milk, and mix.  Fold wet ingredients into dry until it’s all incorporated, but do not over-mix.

Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full, and bake for 18-20 minutes.

So…apparently beet juice isn’t as intensely red as red food coloring is :-/  It’s just a tad more noticeable when you bite into it:

Oh well!  Still tastes yummy 🙂

You’ll notice I’m not giving my recipe for frosting…this is because I was originally planning to use the cream cheese frosting recipe in the book, but unfortunately my cream cheese went bad 😦  So I just mixed a lot earth balance butter with a little bit of almond milk, vanilla, and some powdered sugar.  The end result looks and tastes like…well, something that’s ok, but not exactly frosting.  Moral of the story:  make sure all of your ingredients are in good shape before you go to the grocery store!

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