Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes with beetroot

I get asked a lot at markets what a red velvet cake is and despite what many people think, it’s not just a vanilla cake with red food colouring.
Red velvet cakes contain buttermilk and a small amount of cocoa powder. These ingredients give the cake a subtle and very distinctive flavour which makes it different to a chocolate or vanilla cake.
The original red velvet cake is said to have had a reddish hue that was caused by the reaction between natural cocoa powder and an acidic ingredient, like buttermilk.

Nowadays the intense red hue mostly comes from red food colouring.

If you have been following on instagram you would have noticed a few trials for natural red velvet cupcakes with beetroot.
Good news, the kids loved them and even though they know they contain beetroot they don’t seem to mind.




Here’s the recipe:

Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes with beetroot
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes with beetroot
Serves: about 12 cupcakes
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 30g almond meal*
  • 20g beetroot powder***
  • 15g natural cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g pureed raw beetroot
  • ½ teaspoon vinegar
  • ½ cup buttermilk**
  • 110g sugar
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Cream Cheese Icing
  • 150g butter, room temperature
  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 350g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake papers
  2. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside
  3. Grate peeled raw beetroot and puree it in food processor or use a hand held blender,
  4. combined with the vinegar and buttermilk so it becomes a fine texture
  5. Using an electric mixer, cream the oil, sugar and vanilla for a few minutes then beat in
  6. eggs one at a time, mixing until combined
  7. Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients to the creamed mixture, mix until combined
  8. Spoon batter into cupcake papers, about ⅔ filled. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25
  9. minutes. Test with a skewer
  10. Remove from oven and cool completely before icing
  11. Cream Cheese Icing
  12. Beat butter and cream cheese until well combined
  13. Add vanilla and sift in 1 cup of icing mixture and beat until combined. Then sift in the remaining
  14. sugar and mix until smooth and thick, about 8 minutes.
* If you don’t want to add nuts then just replace the almond meal amount with self-raising flour
**How tomake buttermilk:
Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a cup and then fill up to 1 cup with milk, set aside for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
For this recipe use ½ a tablespoon of vinegar to make ½ cup. You will notice curdled looking milk, that’s your buttermilk
*** Beetroot powder available from health food stores or online



The colour in these isn’t as vibrant as the food colouring ones, but that doesn’t matter does it, they are natural!

Have you made any with beetroot, did you like them.

Have you got any tips?

Have a super week ♥

  • i am sadly off of instagram – took it off my phone to repair phone and now the older version is no longer available. love these beetroot cupcakes! what a great idea. you are wonderful! love the staging too on the red splotched table.

  • These look so beautiful! Our little guy is a big fan of the red velvet cake!! I'll have to try this one some time..x

  • It worked! They look very yummy! To answer your question, I have no idea what we're having for dinner. Must go and do something about that! Maybe we could have red velvet cupcakes. That way I know everyone will eat it!

  • Bel

    Oh my they look amazing. Now if I could only find a way to get the sugar out of this recipe life would be perfect!!!!!

  • they look fabulous!

  • Yum Cathie…these look delicious. Love the peeling red paint too! I have recently grown my own beetroot and made homemade beetroot pasta (very bright!)and beetroot chocolate brownie. I am having the beetroot pasta for dinner tonight with caramelised walnuts, goat cheese, lemon rind and fresh mint! Would you have any tips on colouring icing with beetroot?

  • Yummo, we just harvested some beetroot from the veggie patch, so I'll have to try this one for sure. xx

  • Can you buy buttermilk at the supermarket, i've never noticed it, but i haven't looked for it either..

  • Cathie, this is so good.
    My mum made a red velvet cake for my sister's wedding and I was appalled at the amount of red colouring in the recipe.
    I'll have to give this a try, as I do love the texture of red velvet cake.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.
    Have a gorgeous week. x

  • I will try these! Love the 'all natural' about them. I have recently made just 'velvet' cupcakes without the 'red' because I didn't want to use so much food colouring. Hope I'll find beetroot powder, a great alternative for food colouring. Btw, your cupcakes look delicious!

  • Loks fantaic and very yummy! I cameto ove making cupcaks, and will certainlytry these! xx

  • Cathie I have never tried a red velvet cupcake but boy I want to after reading this post 🙂
    Homemade burgers were on tonights menu.

  • Kat

    Yum! Red velvet are my favourite cupcakes. Question – my sister is living in Melbourne now and was saying the other day how all the markets they go to are farmers markets and she wanted to find some craft markets to check out. I told her about made n thornbury but I was wondering if you know of any other good ones she should check out.

  • Gosh – don't they look so yummy!
    We had bbq chicken burgers.
    Hope you are having a beautiful September!
    xo Catherine

  • Thanks for sharing – lovely!

  • THanks Cathie. I got your response. Looking forward to trying your recipe.

  • Oh my they look fab! I have made red velvet cupcakes before but never with beetroot. Such a genius idea will have to give that one a go! The colour looks spot onto me. x

  • Just splendid xx

  • You are a fabulous person posting this recipe. I love red velvet cake, but hate the red colouring as I always remember my brother almost dying from a red and orange colouring allergy when he was a kid. So try to avoid the artificial stuff as much as possible!

  • everything looks so beautiful my friend.

    i send you love.

    ps: stuffed acorn squash for us tonight.


  • You take the most beautiful images.

  • I just wanted to pop by and wish you the happiest new year. May your 2013 be full of blessings, laughter, and happy surprises. Thank you for being a blog friend and a joyful part of my life.

  • Thank you so much for posting this. They turned out red and beautiful and honestly the most delicious cup cakes I've ever made. instead of traditional cream cheese frosting , topped with a fresh raspberry buttercream. A great match! Thank you again… you've helped me through my current beetroot-phase!

  • Looks delicious, and so cute! I'll try to make some ^^