Fudgy Vegan Layered Chocolate Cake with All Natural Food Coloring

February 2, 2018
As we roll into February, it's all about the love, hearts, and chocolate. This chocolate cake recipe is super fudgy and has a heart-healthy secret ingredient: beets! Yes, you read that right. Beets add a ton of fudgy texture and bring a pop of color to the frosting without the use of chemical food colorings. I promise the cake doesn't taste like a pile of vegetables. It's fudgy, decadent, and it's a perfect small sized cake to add to your Valentine's Day celebrations.
Decadent fudgy vegan chocolate layered cake

Fudgy Vegan Layered Chocolate Cake with All Natural Food Coloring

Recipe Type: Sweets
utensils YIELDS 8 Slices of Cake
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 3-4 Small Beets (1 cup beet puree)
  • 3 tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/4 cup + 7.5 tablespoons Water
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa
  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces Earth Balance Vegan Butter (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 4 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Reserved Beet Water
        graphic for recipe card


1. Remove the greens and stems from the beets and slice them into quarters.
2. Place the beets in a pot and add enough water to almost submerge them, but not cover them completely. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Keep an eye on the water level. You want the water to reduce but make sure you don’t completely run out of water and singe the bottom of the pot. Simmer until the beets are tender when poked with a fork, which usually takes approximately 25 minutes.
3. Remove the beets from the pot and allow to cool to the point you can comfortably remove the skins (tip: run them under cold water if you are tight on time). Don’t throw out the remaining water that has been dyed purple! You will use this later.
4. Place the beets in a high powered blender or food processor, add ¼ cup water and puree.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. For the cake, line 2 x 6 inch cake pans with parchment paper (I used pans that are 2 inches deep). Spray with non-stick spray and sprinkle a touch of unsweetened cocoa over the parchment paper.
7. Mix together 3 flax eggs by stirring 3 TBS of ground flax seed and 7.5 TBS of water and allow to sit for approximately 5 minutes until it thickens.
8. Add the flax egg to your mixing bowl with the sugar and vanilla. Beat on high for approximately 1 minute until you see the mixture lighten slightly in color and texture.
9. Turn the mixer on low and stir in the beet puree and unsweetened vanilla almond milk until the wet ingredient mixture turns to an even purple color.
10. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and unsweetened cocoa.
11. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
12. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
13. Allow to cool in the pans for 10-15 minutes and then remove from the pans and continue cooling on a wire baking rack.
14. While the cake is cooling, prepare your frosting by placing the Earth Balance vegan butter into your mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and 1 cup of powdered sugar.
15. Mix on medium speed.
16. Add in another cup of powdered sugar and continue to mix.
17. Add in the unsweetened vanilla almond milk and continue to mix.
18. Continue to add in the remaining sugar, beet water and mix. The frosting will turn light pink.
19. Once all ingredients are added, increase the speed of the mixer to medium/high and mix for approximately 1 minute to add air and lightness to the texture. Note: you can add more or less beet water if you want the frosting a deeper or lighter color. It is important to keep in mind that using more or less changes the liquid quantity in the frosting. If you go with less, you can substitute more unsweetened vanilla almond milk for liquid. If you go with more to get a deeper color of frosting, you may need to add some more powdered sugar. Start with a small amount less than or equal to a ¼ cup and increase from there until you get the texture you want.
20. Once the cakes are cooled, you're ready to frost! You can leave the cake in 2 layers to frost or you can slice each cake horizontally and create 4 layers.
21. The steps for frosting the cake are to cover the top of the bottom layer with frosting, add the next layer and repeat until all layers are complete.
22. Add frosting to the top and sides of the entire cake and smooth with an off-set spatula.
23. Slice and enjoy!

Also by Colette: Vegan, Gluten-Free Vanilla-Glazed Banana Bread

Related: Vegan Matcha Mini Bundt Cakes

Tropical Coconut Vegan Gluten-Free Cupcakes

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Photos: Colette Goguen

Colette is a chocoholic and home baker who regularly messes up her kitchen experimenting with recipes and decorating cakes for her kids. Also a yoga teacher, Colette strives to bring elements of yoga to her work and daily life in New England with her husband, children, dogs and chickens. Follow Colette on Instagram at @sunday_bakers and on Facebook.


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