Image: Paleo Red Velvet Cupcakes

Gluten Free Paleo Red Velvet Cake or Cupcakes with Crème Cheese Frosting

Perseus Books Group presents Jane Barthelemy’s gluten free paleo red velvet cake or cupcakes recipe from “Paleo Desserts”.

In Day 12 of the Authors’ Gluten-Free Recipes and KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway Event , Perseus Books Group publishing brings us Jane Barthelemy’s gluten free paleo red velvet cake or cupcakes recipe from her cookbook, Paleo Desserts. If you unfamiliar with the paleo diet (aka caveman diet), just think natural: gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, low-carb, with lean meats, fish, shell fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and natural oils. In addition, think coconut and nut flours. How Jane created such a masterpiece, naturally, is no wonder Paleo Desserts is flying off the shelves!

Jane is a a natural foods chef with over 25 years’ experience, and a health practitioner. Her philosophy is that a fresh, natural diet, free of refined foods, gluten, and common allergens is better for us all.

You may connect with Jane via her blog, Jane’s Healthy Kitchen, befriend her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

This cake is a luscious deep red color because it includes beets. I think it’s even yummier than my mom’s. It is moist and very tasty with either basic Crème Cheese Frosting [below] or Raspberry Crème Cheese Frosting (page 180) [of Paleo Desserts cookbook]. It took twelve trials for me to finally get this recipe’s rich burgundy color and velvety texture. And let me tell you, that’s a lot of beets! So, in any event, I hope you truly enjoy it. For best results, follow this recipe exactly.

You’re going to fall in love with this Crème Cheese Frosting. It is quick to blend and tastes absolutely scrumptious. It has a sweet, tangy flavor of lemon and a consistency something like that of cream cheese but without all the calories and dairy impact. This frosting is great on Carrot Mini Cupcakes (page 49), Gingerbread Cupcakes (page 52), Whole Apple Spice Cake (page 45), and just about anything else you can imagine. The flavor variations below will tantalize your taste buds.

Due to the temperature sensitivity of coconut butter, this is not a good recipe for a warm summer day. If the coconut butter is cold, you may place the jar in a bowl of lukewarm water to soften it so it is easier to measure. For the best flavor and texture, have all the ingredients at room temperature, 68F to 72F, and follow this recipe exactly.

Paleo Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake or Cupcakes with Crème Cheese Frosting


Yield: Makes one double-layer 8-inch round cake or 12 regular cupcakes; frosting: 1 1/4, 2 1/2, or 3 3/4 cups

Paleo Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake or Cupcakes with Crème Cheese Frosting

An extraordinary gluten free, sugar-free, paleo red velvet cake or cupcakes recipe with a dairy-free creme cheese frosting.


    For the Red Velvet Cake or Cupcakes:
  • 11/4 cups Just Like Sugar Table Top
  • Top natural chicory root sweetener (not Baking). A second choice is 1 2/3 cups Organic Zero Erythritol.
  • 11/4 cups medium-shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
  • (not coconut flour)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon unprocessed salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon pure cacao powder
  • 1 large beet, cubed and lightly steamed* (170 grams)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tart apple, unpeeled, cored, and cut into chunks* (50 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon raw yacon syrup (optional, for a caramel flavor)
  • For the Crème Cheese Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (1 cup) (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup Just Like Sugar Table Top sweetener (not Baking) (2 cups) (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (2 tsp) (3 tsp)
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 Tbsp) (3 Tbsp)
  • 1 pinch unprocessed salt (2 pinches) (3 pinches)
  • 110 grams (1/2 cup tightly packed) Pure coconut butter** (not coconut oil), at room temperature (220 grams/1 cup packed) (330 grams/1 1/2 cups packed)


    To Make the Cake or Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and lightly dust with coconut flour or arrowroot powder two 8-inch round cake pans or a 12-cupcake pan.
  2. In a dry food processor fitted with the “S” blade, grind the sweetener to a very fine powder.
  3. Add the shredded coconut to the sweetener in the food processor. Spin it for a minute until a very fine powder. Open the lid, stir the bottom, replace the lid, and grind again until the powder is uniformly fine.
  4. To the ingredients in the food processor, add the arrowroot, baking powder, salt, nutritional yeast, and cacao powder. Mix well and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  5. For the wet ingredients, it is better to use a blender for a smooth red color. Place in the blender the beet, eggs, apple, vanilla, almond extract, and yacon syrup (if using). Blend very well until the beet and apple are liquefied and smooth.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir briefly until smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan(s). Bake cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or 8-inch layers for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in the pan(s) on a rack.
  8. To Make the Frosting:
  9. Have ready all the ingredients at room temperature. Choose the quantity desired and follow that column.
  10. In any style blender, place the coconut milk, sweetener, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Blend until smooth and the sweetener is completely dissolved. Add the coconut butter last and blend until very smooth, translucent, and gummy. Pour into a bowl.
  11. Refrigerate for 1 hour, until it solidifies a bit. Remove it from the refrigerator and spread it on your cake or cupcakes. The frosting is most spreadable at room temperature. If you chill it for too long or store it in the refrigerator, it will solidify and be too hard to spread. If that happens, just set it out to warm very slowly to room temperature.


Variation Red Velvet Mini-Cupcakes: Follow the recipe above, using a 24-compartment mini muffin tin. Bake the mini cupcakes for 14 to 18 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a rack or serving plate.

* Equipment Needed for Cake: A food processor; any style blender; and a digital scale, as apples and beets vary in size.

** Equipment Needed for Frosting: Any style blender and a digital scale, for the coconut butter.

Excerpted from the book Paleo Desserts, by Jane Barthelemy. Reprinted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012.

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Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes


6 comments on “Gluten Free Paleo Red Velvet Cake or Cupcakes with Crème Cheese FrostingAdd yours →

  1. Well made it today…complete fail. Have no idea why..unless the fact I used Xlitol instead of Just Like Sugar. Also instead of a beet cubed and steamed I used beet juice. The cupcakes did not rise but instead sunk in the middle and burned around the edges, wet in middle.

    1. Hi Venus,

      Sorry you had a bad experience with this recipe. I haven’t made it myself, but know that Just Like Sugar contains inulin, which contains fiber. That would be make a difference alone. When making a new recipe, especially one that is gluten free, follow the instructions exactly until you learn how different ingredients react. But heck…you won’t know until you try it, unless someone else has before you.

      I’ve used xylitol in a few recipes. Check out my Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Recipes category at


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