Red Velvet Cupcake Without Food Coloring by Ling Abson

I once made a batch of red velvet cupcakes to a Tupperware type party. I topped it with cream cheese frosting and everyone raved about it after.

Someone then asked me what made the cake red. I sheepishly admitted that I used red food coloring.

Even though most red velvet that’s available in stores all use red food coloring, I felt so bad! If you’re not sure why they are bad, you can read them here.

Since that experience and reading more about the harmful effects of food colors, I try not to bake with any food coloring. An exception is if I have to decorate with fondant. In that case, I will tell my kids not to eat the fondant.

Ever since, I have been on the hunt for a red velvet that is red and doesn’t use any red food coloring.

Over the years, I’ve tried various recipes and experiments. Even though the batter would be bright red, the cake would turn out brown once it’s cooked (I think due to oxidation?).

Anyway, I have good news……*DRUMROLL*…….

I think I have finally found the recipe for a red velvet cake that does not use any red food coloring but still looks red and tastes good!
Red Velvet Cupcake Without Food Coloring by Ling Abson


Yes, I use beets. 🙂 I had to tweak the recipe a little because the first batch tasted a little beet-ish.

In my second batch, I reduced the amount of beets asked for . When I took the cupcakes out of the oven, it smelled heavenly. It had the subtle chocolate smell. And the beet taste was gone.

This time, I used one of my all time favorite frosting (a cooked flour frosting) and it was the perfect combination.

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Red Velvet Cupcake Without Food Coloring by Ling Abson

YUM. It was moist and even better the next day.

Red Velvet Cupcake Without Food Coloring by Ling Abson


Here is the recipe developed by Pamela Moxley, a pastry chef at Miller Union in Atlanta. To make 6-7 cupcakes I divided the entire recipe by 1/3.

I have also adapted this recipe for a half dozen cupcakes which you can download below.

I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as I do! Let me know in the comments below if you’re going to try it and the results you got.

For those who love to experiment, here’s another recipe I’ve found online which I’ve yet to try.


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2 thoughts on “Red Velvet Cupcakes Without Any Red Food Coloring

  1. Looks so delicious ! We love your blog and such great pics ! Thanks for sharing

    Posted on June 5, 2016 at 4:53 am
    1. Thank you Mindy! 🙂

      Posted on June 14, 2016 at 2:24 am