travel, food, events, etc.

Red Velvet Beet & Kale Cupcakes with Coconut Icing (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Red velvet has always been a favorite of mine. I find it rich, moist, and just visually stunning. When I stumbled upon a recipe using beets and kale, I couldn’t pass it up for Valentine’s Day. Beet juice made the icing decadently pink and appropriately festive. There appear to be a lot of steps, but this was actually pretty easy, which means you can make everyday like V-Day with these treats (shouldn’t everyday be full of love and yum, anyway?)



  • 1 cup coconut fat from 2 cans of coconut milk (not reduced fat and place can in the fridge overnight first)*
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or vanilla extract if that’s all you have)
  • 1 tsp date syrup, honey or maple syrup (all optional; the coconut is yum without it too)

Cake – Dry Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1 cup all purpose, gluten-free baking flour
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (I prefer pink Himalayan)
  • 1 cup cane sugar (I actually used 1/2 cup sugar + honey to taste)

Cake – Blend / Wet Ingredients

  • 2-3 leaves purple kale, ribs removed and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chia
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or vanilla extract if that’s all you have)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup diced beet

*I used the remaining coconut milk in a delish miso soup to combat a cold (recipe to come)!


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line cupcake tins with unbleached parchment paper liners (I use silicone baking cups)
  3. Skin and dice your beet (save the greens for a healthy juice or smoothie!)
  4. Steam beets over a pot of boiling water with the lid covering for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
  5. Wash kale and remove ribs. (Original recipe calls for chopping them into tiny pieces, but I just added them to the blender so no kale bits would be discovered in the final cake…your call!)
  6. While beets steam, place chia, water, vinegar, coconut oil, extracts and lemon juice in the blender and set aside. (You want the chia to sit in the liquid to “plumpen”)
  7. Once beets are ready, add them to the blender (with the kale, if you choose) and mix on low until well blended and beautifully beet red.
  8. I ended up juicing an additional beet to add some more liquid red to the mix. And I saved about a Tbsp for the frosting because I wanted it pink!
  9. While blending, in a large bowl, sift together almond flour, gluten-free flour, cane sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cacao and salt. I found it helpful using a whisk to grind the dry ingredients through the sifter. Anything that was too big to make it through I just dumped in the blender.
  10. Now, fold together the wet and dry ingredients.
  11. Taste for sweetness. Add honey here if you’d like it sweeter.
  12. Spoon batter into cupcake liners so they are 85% full. Now place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  13. While they bake, open up your cans of coconut milk. Scrape out the fat on the top of the can and place in the medium glass bowl.
  14. Add vanilla extract (+optional sweetener +optional beet juice for color) and whisk together. Place in the fridge or freezer (if you’re in a hurry).
  15. Remove cupcakes and allow to cool completely.
  16. Using a pastry bag, a plastic baggie with a small whole in the corner, or with a trusty spoon or knife, top your cupcakes.
  17. The frosting is a bit runny, so next time I’ll try mixing it with my raw creamy cashew icing. Stay tuned!

xoxo Enjoy!!

Recipe adapted from YumUniverse

Red Velvet Beet & Kale Cupcakes with Coconut Icing (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Related Posts


Join the conversation
  • Violet's Veg*n e-comics - February 18, 2014 reply

    That cake looks sooo good. I really want that. 🙂

    Dine by Design - February 18, 2014 reply

    Thanks Violet! Let me know if you try it 🙂

  • Shayla - September 29, 2014 reply

    Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Thank you

    Dine by Design - November 8, 2014 reply

    Hi Shayla, yes, feel free to share away! Thanks!

  • Island Girl | Last Good Meal - March 16, 2015 reply

    […] Red Velvet Beet & Kale Cupcakes with Coconut Icing (Vegan, Gluten Free) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *