Healthier red velvet cake


Happy Valentine’s Day!


Nate and I decided to celebrate last night, since our Sundays are often spent grocery shopping and preparing meals for the week.

Both of us went about our Saturdays as we normally do. I went to the gym, got a mani/pedi and ran errands while Nate worked on his car. He had to run a couple of errands, himself, during the mid-afternoon. While he was out, I baked him a red velvet cake from scratch. (Sidebar: This was actually the first time I’ve ever made cake and frosting from scratch!) He already told me late Friday that, earlier in the week, he made dinner reservations to one of my favorite local restaurants, The Bee’s Knees. Then, to my surprise, he came home with roses in my favorite color, purple, and an adorable card – also in purple. He knows me too well!

So, about this red velvet cake…

As you can imagine, I lightened it up and made it a bit more nutritious with the following swaps:

Original red velvet cake Healthier red velvet cake
White flour Wheat flour
Sugar Stevia
Oil Applesauce
Buttermilk Plain yogurt and nonfat milk mixture
Regular red food coloring Amoretti food coloring
Cream cheese ⅓ reduced fat cream cheese
Butter Coconut oil

I was ambling around Whole Foods Market Augusta in search of a few ingredients. I never bought vinegar at Whole Foods, so I had no idea where to find it. I asked an employee, and he said something to the effect of, “Vinegar is actually against Whole Foods’ policy.” I definitely considered that to be a possibility and that he could’ve been serious, but he quickly snickered and walked me over to the wall of various vinegars and oils.


Thank you to the sweet man at Whole Foods who gave me a sample of the food coloring, since they don’t sell it!

In jest, I shot back with, “So, I probably shouldn’t even bother to ask about food coloring, right?” He told me that he had an idea and that he’d be right back.

He tracked me down in another section of the store and presented me with a bottle that he said he couldn’t sell to me but then handed me a two-ounce container of it that he said he got from the bakery for me. How kind! This gentleman has no idea how much time and heartache he saved me that day. Images of “squeezing” beets to get the juice to use as food coloring were flashing through my head. No, thank you!

Since this was the first time I made a cake and frosting from scratch, thankfully, the whole process from finding all of the ingredients to baking the cake and making the frosting was easy and fun!


  • Cake:
    • Cooking spray for pans
    • 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 ½ cups stevia
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
    • 1 ½ cups applesauce
    • 1 cup buttermilk (2 tbsp nonfat milk plus enough plain yogurt to equal one cup)
    • 2 Tbsp. or 1 oz. red food coloring (I recommend Amoretti food color.)
    •  1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Cream cheese frosting:
    • 12 oz.  reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
    • 3 cups confectioners’/powdered sugar
    • ¾ cup coconut butter, melted
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and flour a 9×9-inch and 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, stevia, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until batter is formed.
  5. Divide the cake batter between the greased cake pans. Spread the batter evenly in both pans. Check this by poking the batter in various points with a toothpick until it hits the bottom of the pan. Inspect all of the battered toothpicks; they should have the same amount of them covered with better.
  6. Place the pans in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven, and let them cool before removing from the pans.
  8. Add the cream cheese, sugar, coconut, coconut oil and vanilla into a medium bowl, and mix with a hand mixer on low until whipped.
  9. Cool completely before frosting.
  10. To quote my girl, Kate Spade, “Eat cake for breakfast.”



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