RED VELVET PROTEIN CAKE
I did it! I did it! I finally came up with a super moist, ultra decadent, gorgeously vibrant Red Velvet Protein Cake made without artificial food coloring. You can’t even imagine my excitement as I cut into this cake and saw that it was bright red through and through. The secret? Roasted beet puree! I highly adapted my recipe from the top-rated Beet Red Velvet Cake Recipe found in New York Times Cooking. Pastry chef Pamela Moxley uses roasted beets in her recipe, which was so popular, it earned a spot on the regular menu at her restaurant!
I know you’ll love this version too, even if you’re not a huge fan of beets on their own. This cake tastes like classic red velvet with rich vanilla, a touch of cocoa, and the faintest hint of beet flavor that blends so well with the sweet cream cheese frosting. Don’t worry, if you absolutely can’t stand beets, you can use baked sweet potato instead of beets and add 1 ½ tablespoons of red food coloring.
The texture of this cake… oh my, the texture… it’s perfectly tender without being dense or dry at all. Surprisingly, there is no oil or butter in this recipe, just unsweetened applesauce and nonfat plain Greek yogurt! Best of all, this cake is gluten-free with 14 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat per 150-calorie slice!
Protein powder substitutions
To up the protein factor, I used Jamie Eason Lean Body for Her Whey Protein Isolate in Natural Chocolate flavor. You can substitute any whey-casein blend or whey concentrate, but most whey isolates do not work well for baking! I have tried all the popular brands and most give baked goods a weird spongey or dry coarse texture. The Jamie Eason line is an anomaly in that regard! Aside from whey blends or whey concentrate, substituting soy isolate should also work as it behaves similarly to whey in baking. Keep in mind, anytime you change the type of protein, it changes the texture and flavor of the end product somewhat!
This is my first recipe using tapioca starch/flour paired with coconut flour, and it yielded the perfect tender crumb! I don’t really recommend using different flours here, but you can swap out the tapioca starch for arrowroot starch, cornstarch, or potato starch. Coconut flours vary quite a bit in coarseness and taste, so a lot of people don’t like coconut flour based on the brand they tried. However, I love Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour which I find in the bulk foods section of my local Kroger store. If you absolutely must substitute the coconut flour, I would try twice as much (1/2 cup) gluten-free baking flour, all-purpose flour, cake flour, sweet white sorghum flour, or cassava flour.
To sweeten this lovely cake, I used my favorite organic stevia blend, which has become a staple in my pantry. I love that it’s calorie-free with no bitter aftertaste! It’s also twice as sweet as sugar so a little goes a long way. You can substitute baking stevia, granulated erythritol, granulated monk fruit or regular sugar, but you may need up to twice as much to get the same amount of sweetness.
For the frosting, I used confectioner’s erythritol, which has a similar texture and taste to powdered sugar. You can also use powdered monk fruit sweetener, powdered sugar (NOT calorie-free!) or your sweetener of choice to taste. I think vanilla stevia drops would be especially good! NOTE: I did not include any sugar alcohols in the recipe carb count since they don’t provide calories.
Cream cheese frosting
The base of the frosting is simply Greek Whipped Cream Cheese. I love this stuff 🙂 You can buy it at select Walmart and Kroger stores, or substitute whipped cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese. This has become my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe: it’s thick and creamy and perfectly sweet!
Without further ado, here’s the recipe for this Red Velvet Protein Cake. Please do me a favor and rate and comment below if you do try it! 😉
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Red Velvet Protein Cake
- 2/3 cup (80g) chocolate whey protein powder* preferably whey-casein blend or concentrate
- 1/3 cup calorie-free sweetener* I used one that's twice as sweet as sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut flour* or gluten-free baking flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch* or cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt optional
- 250 g (2 medium) roasted beets or baked sweet potato + 1 ½ tbsp. red food coloring
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt or dairy-free yogurt
- 1/2 cup (4 large) egg whites
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. butter extract optional
- 6 oz. whipped or Greek cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese
- 1/3 cup calorie-free powdered sweetener I used Swerve Confectioner's
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Scrub and trim 2 medium beets and wrap in tin foil. Place in a baking dish and bake for 1 1/2-2 hours until pierced easily with a fork (the longer you bake, the more the natural sugars develop and the sweeter your beets will taste). This step can be done up to a day in advance.
- Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees F.
- Scrape off outer skins of your beets and add to blender along with yogurt, egg whites, and other wet ingredients (through butter extract). Blend until smooth.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (protein powder through salt).
- Add beet mixture from blender to dry ingredients and mix until no clumps remain.
- Lightly coat two 5-6″ diameter ramekins/Pyrex bowls or one 8-9″ cake pan with cooking spray.
- Pour batter into prepared ramekins/bowls/pan and place in preheated oven.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean.
- While cake(s) cool, combine frosting ingredients and place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
- Frost cake(s) and garnish with chocolate shavings if desired (optional). Enjoy!
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container up to one week, or in the freezer up to one month.
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