Her answer didn't surprise! (Hopefully it didn't ruin her surprise party either - I tried to ask her casually through out a conversation). I knew she loved Granny Cranney's Red Velvet Cake. Did you know my family claims we brought over the red velvet cake recipe from Italy? And we're not even Italian! (My family, my husband's family is very much Italian). Yes, I know it sounds presumptious but I love that story. I'll have to get Dad to tell it again.
This however is my wild, healthy and herbal interpretation of that recipe. I don't even know what happened to the original recipe so I made it up... Also I've been wanting to try hibiscus decoction as a substitute for red food coloring and was tickled I got to do it here. Plus with the additional beet puree, this cake is a healthy treat, full of protein and antioxidants. The cake is not supersweet but it's nicely complimented by the date frosting.
It's also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, cane sugar free, and soy-free!
Happy Birthday, Alli!
The overall consensus of the party was the frosting was amazing and the cake was good. The few toddlers present enjoyed it but the cake did have a "healthy" taste. It's not something you could sneak past picky eaters and because of that, I debated blogging the recipe. But don't get me wrong! There were many people who thoroughly enjoyed it and I would make it again for my health-nut family so I knew it had a place here on the blog. There will be a second red velvet cake inspired recipe making it's way on to the blog so stay tuned if you come from a family who has more defined tastes (that sounds better than picky).
I got the idea for chocolate sprinkles from Including Cake! This is my own version listed below but I loved her idea found via foodgawker. I wanted to have some sort of contrast to the creamy frosting. These sprinkles take the cake if you know what I mean! They actually remind me of a healthy version of cocoa krispies - I found myself having half a cup with almond milk as a dessert. There will be extras sprinkles here so you can refridgerate them for later use! Like on top of chocolate muffins, smoothies and so on and so forth.
I meant to get a better picture of the individual slice but it was too dark before we sliced into it again, but oh well. Better to enjoy the party!
Everything can be made the night before and then assembled the next day. However I think the cake is best fresh so I made the frosting and the chocolate sprinkles the night before.
Hibiscus & Beet Red Velvet Cake
1 1/2 c oats
3/4 cp buckwheat groats
1/4 cocoa powder
3/4 c flaxseeds
3/4 tsp cream of tartar*
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 c beet puree
1/2 c applesauce
3/4 c coconut oil, melted
3/4 c hibiscus tea
3/4 c agave
2 vanilla beans or 1 Tb vanilla extract
1 Tb unflavored vinegar (apple cider or white) **
* Instead of cream of tartar and baking soda, you can substitute 2 tsp baking powder.
**The vinegar is optional. I've baked the cake without but it does help draw out the red color of the cocoa when included.
1. Grind flaxseeds, oats, and buckwheat groats in a coffee grinder, spice grinder, or food processor (depending on the size of your machine, you may have to work in batches).
2. Combine ground flours and rest of dry ingredients.
3. Combine wet ingredients.
4. Combine wet into dry ingredients until incorporated. Pour into TWO greased 8" cake tins.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, alternating the cakes on the racks halfway.
Vanilla Date Frosting (aka Dairy-free Cream Cheese Frosting)
1 can coconut milk, full fat
1 cup raw cashews (soaked optional)*
8 medjool dates
1 vanilla bean
1. Scrape the vanilla bean.
2. Process the cashew in a high speed blender until coarse (I use my handy-dandy vitamix). Add remaining ingredients and blend until completely incorporated.
* If you'd prefer a thicker frosting, more the consistency of buttercream, you can add one more cup of cashews.
Chocolate Buckwheat "Sprinkles"
1/2 c buckwheat groats
1/4 c cocoa powder
2 Tb oil
2 Tb agave
Sprinkle of Salt
1. Soak buckwheat over night (or in boiling water for one hour).
2. Rinse thoroughly and pat groats dry.
3. Combine melted coconut oil with agave and cocoa powder. Coat over buckwheat groats.
4. Spread the buckwheat groats thin over a parchment paper lined tray and stick in 350 oven for 25 minutes, turning the groats halfway through.
I buy my coconut oil from vitacost (sign up for a $10 coupon on your first purchase).