Can I Make Red Velvet Cake With Beets Instead of Dye?
Q: I’ve been looking for a recipe to make red velvet cake or cupcakes using beets instead of red food coloring. I had tried an organic food coloring derived from beets, but it turned purple after baking. I’m guessing the color reacted to the chemical leavener.
Have you come across a recipe, or way to adapt a recipe, to do this?
Sent by Stacy
Editor: Oh, the great dilemma of the natural baking world! A quick recap: The scarlet red velvet cake that is currently so popular gets its color from not one but two bottles of red food coloring. (Old-fashioned red velvet cake is not nearly so red; it has an earthy reddish tone from the light touch of cocoa interacting with the leavener.)
The answer is to make cake without baking soda or baking powder. I actually was going to present you with an angel food or pound cake cupcake today, dyed bright red with beet powder. The only problem is that I really was not a fan of the strong taste of beet powder in both batches of my cupcakes. You can get pretty great color, though, by adding beet powder to a cake recipe without baking soda or baking powder.
This is what Stephanie Jolly did over at Suite 101 — here’s her recipe (pictured above) for red velvet cake sans dye. It does use beet powder; I just didn’t care for the taste. But try it and see what you think!
• Naturally Colored Red Velvet Cake at Suite 101
Readers, any thoughts? Have you tried the recipe above?
Related: Recipe: Velvety Beet and Cocoa Cake
(Image: Stephanie Jolly)