Every recipe I develop and share is special to me, but I hold this one especially close to my heart. When I was really coming to terms with my obsession for baking in high school, I obsessively watched the Food Network. This was in 2007 or so, right around the time that Red Velvet Cakes were all the rage. I watched cooking show after cooking show, with Alton Brown brown teaching me the science behind the perfect cake, and Paula Deen teaching me the trick to the perfect cream cheese icing.
I was so obsessed with Red Velvet, as I'd never had anything like it. I learned that original bakers of the cake used beet juice to color each layer of cake red, and that the cocoa powder was subtle but brought out the tartness of the rest of the cake.
Paula Deen's Red Velvet recipe was the first "from scratch" cake I ever made for a crowd. I stayed up late into the evening to make sure they were ready, and brought them to my history class the next day. Nobody there knew whet red velvet was, so everyone was shy to try it. But once they did, my cupcakes were a total hit.
How could they not be? The soft cake, lightly flavored with cocoa powder and mixed with a bright cream cheese icing? One of the best things on this earth. I fiddled with the recipe enough times that I was able to make it my own, increasing the cocoa powder and formulating a completely new icing. I've made this cake so many times that I can basically do it by memory.
And now I've got a treat for you, I've adapted my previously adapted recipe to create this Coconut Oil Red Velvet Cake, and I've topped it with a Vegan Cream Cheese Icing!
I know... right? This cake is every bit of a hit that it's predecessor was. I've been testing this recipe for about 3 weeks, and when I brought the last batch into work, every single person that tried it, loved it. It tastes SO good. I know this because I straight up ate an entire layer of cake, with my hands, during the "recipe testing" process. I literally couldn't put it down.
This little cake is also the second installment in my Year of Cake series, where I challenged myself to make one cake each month to grow my skills. I decided to texture this frosting using an offset spatula, after of course crumb coating the shit out of it. Can I tell you how much I love crumb coating? I literally can't believe I didn't know about it before. Thinly icing the cake and allowing it to set makes for a much smoother frosting application later on, and actually makes it fun instead of terrifying and anxiety inducing.
I topped the cake with dark chocolate flakes that I got by using a literal cheese grater. Vegans finally have a use for cheese graters again!
After the success of this cake, I'm already feel so inspired to make next month's cake, Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!
Coconut Oil Red Velvet Cake with a Vegan Cream Cheese Icing
makes three 6in layers or two very full 9 in layers.
Coconut Oil Red Velvet
- 1 1/2 cup plant based milk
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder ( I used Hershey's special dark)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 2/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted but not hot *
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- red food coloring
Vegan Cream Cheese Icing
- 1/2 cup earth balance buttery sticks, room temp **
- 1/2 cup shortening (crisco brand is vegan friendly), room temp
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese (Trader Joe's brand is perfect and it's coconut oil based), room temp ***
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Combine the plant based milk and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Set aside and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Slowly add in the melted coconut oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, vanilla and the milk mixture. Once combined, add red food coloring in to achieve desired color.
Pour batter into prepared cake tins and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
To prepare the icing, combine the butter, shortening and cream cheese before adding in the powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar to get a thicker icing. Frost cake when it's completely cool and enjoy.
Cake will store in an airtight container for about 3 days, and might have to be stored in the fridge to prevent the icing from melting.
* Refined coconut oil won't have a coconutty taste, so it is preferred here. But un-refined will work as well.
** - I highly recommend the buttery sticks, they're formulated so well for baking compared to vegan spreads that come in tubs. (Note: I am not sponsored by Earth Balance, I just really dig their products.)
*** - Make sure to stir it up before mixing it in with the other ingredients. Once it sits at room temperature it tends to separate, but it need to be at room temperature in order to prevent the frosting from having chunks.
Recipe lovingly adapted from Paula Deen's Recipe.