This is the BEST keto red velvet cake recipe with a smooth crumb and delicious vanilla, cocoa and buttermilk flavor. This red velvet cake won’t disappoint, I guarantee!
What’s a keto red velvet cake?
A red velvet cake is way more than a vanilla cake with red color. It is a moist, vanilla, cocoa cake with a subtle flavor of buttermilk.
This keto red velvet recipe has all of these without the carbs or sugar. It uses almond milk and apple cider vinegar to mimic classic buttermilk. The secret for a moist low-carb cake crumb is in keto flours like almond flour and coconut flour.
Keto red velvet cake ingredients
This very easy red velvet cake recipe is made with just a few simple ingredients. But before you start baking this amazing keto cake, there are a few simple things you need to know to make sure you get the most delicious cake.
Prepare ingredients at room temperature
This is a standard for any keto baking recipe. In fact, if you don’t use ingredients at room temperature, your batter can end up ultra-thick or lumpy. So what does it means to bring ingredients to room temperature you would ask? Well, it means taking all the ingredients out of the fridge at least 3 hours before you start baking.
Eggs – if you want to bring eggs to room temperature quickly, you can immerse them in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Of course, don’t use boiling water or you would cook the eggs! Otherwise, the best method is to place the eggs out of the fridge the day before baking the cake or at least 3 hours before baking.
Butter and cream cheese – to soften butter or cream cheese quickly, I recommend measuring the amount called by the recipe. Then, cut the block of butter or cream cheese into small cubes. Finally, store the cubes of butter or cream cheese into a bowl, on the kitchen countertop for at least 3 hours or overnight. You know your butter is ready when it is ultra-soft, if you squeeze it with your fingers, it melts easily.
Other ingredients – if you usually store flour or erythritol in the fridge, take it out the day before or 3 hours before baking.
Choice of ingredients
Ultra-fine almond flour – the almond meal is coarse and would not be a good fit for this cake. It would dry the cake crumb, making it dense and not moist at all.
Coconut flour – it is a high-fiber flour so it has to be measured with precision otherwise the cake comes out dry.
Erythritol – or allulose or a blend of Monk fruit erythritol. Note that erythritol decreases ingredients temperature, read more about it in my keto sweetener article. Therefore, if you bake this cake in winter, make sure your house is between 20C-22C or erythritol can solidify butter forming lumps.
Liquid natural red food coloring – if you want to use food coloring powder instead of a liquid coloring, add 1 1/2 tablespoon of unsweetened almond milk to compensate.
Large eggs – as mentioned above they must be at room temperature and large. In fact, using small eggs results in a dry cake crumb.
Butter – soft, at room temperature, read my paragraph above for more details about how to bring butter to room temperature quickly.
Light olive oil – or any nut or seed oil like avocado oil, almond oil, grape seed oil. I don’t recommend using coconut oil in this recipe simply because it firms up when in contact with unsweetened cocoa powder.
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Baking powder – this is a keto gluten-free cake so it won’t rise much. In fact, gluten protein is what reacts with baking powder and raises cakes a lot. Here, the baking powder will react with apple cider vinegar to add a lighter texture to the cake layer. Don’t expect a high-raising layer as in a regular red velvet cake though.
Unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk.
Apple cider vinegar – the specificity of red velvet cakes is the buttermilk flavor. Since this is a keto cake recipe we don’t use dairy, buttermilk contains sugar from lactose so it is better to avoid it on a keto diet. As a replacement, we use apple cider vinegar and unsweetened almond milk. It adds a similar buttermilk flavor to the cake without the carbs.
How to make the cake batter?
It is an easy 4-step keto cake recipe. Let me guide you through each step including any cake troubleshooting tips to help you achieve the tastiest red velvet cake.
Step 1: beat butter and sweetener
First, you have to beat the soft butter and sweetener with an electric beater or stand mixer using the whisk attachment. That’s very easy to do, but if your butter is hard, half-soft or cold you can get into trouble. Plus, if your sweetener is crystal erythritol it can result in serious butter lumps. In fact, erythritol is known for its endothermic reaction, it means it decreases the temperature of ingredients that come in contact with it.
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So, if you also use butter that is not soft enough or too cold, this problem will be enhanced. To troubleshoot this, bring the bowl into a bain-marie, read my recipe card note to learn more about how to remove butter lump
Step 2- add eggs
Next, you must add eggs one by one into the beaten butter. As above, if eggs are not cold you won’t have a problem achieving a lump-free batter. Also, always add eggs quickly every 15 seconds to decrease the beating time that could lead to lumps too.
Step 3: oil and cocoa powder
In another bowl, you will combine oil, red food coloring, and unsweetened cocoa powder. While you could add this directly into the previous batter, I recommend stirring these 3 ingredients together first. In fact, this will ensure that the cocoa powder dissolves well and avoid bitter lumps of unsweetened cocoa powder.
The only trick here is to use an oil that is liquid at room temperature, so coconut oil is not a good choice. The best keto oils to use in this keto cake recipe are light olive oil, avocado oil, or almond oil.
Step 4: combine all ingredients
Finally, bring all the ingredients together using the electric beater on low speed or a stand mixer. You know the batter is ready when it is read/pinkish in color, smooth and liquid. It shouldn’t be thick, this would mean you are missing some liquid.
Baking the best keto cake
This keto red velvet cake is a two-layer cake. Therefore, you will bake each cake layer into separate 9-inch round non-stick pans.
Grease the pan
It is very important to double grease the pan to avoid the batter to stick to the pan. First, spray oil all over the cake pan.
Then, lay a circle piece of parchment paper at the bottom of each pan. Finally. spray oil again.
Fill the pan
In order to create 2 layers of the same thickness, you should add the same amount of cake batter in each cake pan. For this keto cake recipe, it means adding about 2 cups of cake batter in each pan.
There are two ways to bake your keto red velvet cake, regular more or convection mode. Whatever mode you choose, don’t change the temperature for this keto cake recipe. Simply note that convection mode bakes 5-8 minutes faster.
First, set the oven to 160 C (325F) and place the cake pans in the center rack of the oven. Then, bake for 25-30 minutes, checking the baking time after 20 minutes with a skewer.
Finally, remove the cake from the oven when the skewer comes out dry or with just a few crumbs on it. It means the cake is cooked through.
In order to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan, it is better to unmold the cake shortly after taking is out of the oven. 5 minutes is the ideal time. You may have to run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake if it sticks slightly.
How to decorate a low-carb red velvet cake?
Like most red velvet cakes, this keto cake uses a cream cheese frosting. However, this is a sugar-free cream cheese frosting using powdered erythritol, butter, and vanilla extract. As a result, it is an almost zero-carb frosting and any leftover can be used as a sweet keto snack!
Sugar-free cream cheese icing
A cake turning table is very convenient to decorate layer cakes, I love to use this for my keto chocolate cake or keto vanilla cake recipes too. First place the first layer of cake on the turning table.
Next, add 1/3 of the frosting in the center of the cake. Then, turn the table with one hand and hold a spreading tool with the other hand to press/spread the frosting as you turn. Finally. add the last cake layer and repeat the frosting spreading process until fully covered with icing.
I love to decorate the sides of this low-carb red velvet cake with cake crumbs. Usually, red velvet cake layers raise a lot in the middle. So the layers are leveled up with a knife and the leftover cake crumb is used as a decoration. However, keto cake layers don’t raise much and you don’t have any leftover of cake crumb.
My secret is to set aside 1/4 cup of cake batter and bake it for 10 minutes on a tray covered with greased parchment paper. It results in a thin layer of red velvet batter that you can crumble in pieces and use as cake decoration.
This recipe serves a double-layer keto cake with 12 slices. Therefore, you won’t be able to eat the whole cake quickly, except if it is a celebration cake to share. The good news, you can freeze the leftover of keto cake slices in airtight containers. Or, simply store the cake in a cake box in the fridge for up to 3 days.
More keto cakes recipes
I love keto cakes and I have a large collection of keto recipes for you to try !
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Before starting the recipe make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature, not cold or the butter would form lumps in the batter. See recipe notes to troubleshoot butter lumps in baking.
Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with coconut oil or butter. Cut out a piece of parchment paper into a 9-inch circle and stick it to the bottom of the pan. Grease the paper and pan sides again. These steps prevent cake from sticking to pan. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add soft cubes of butter with sugar-free crystal sweetener (erythritol or allulose)
Beat on low speed with an electric beater until creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, with 15 seconds time between each addition.
Set aside the egg/butter batter.
In another bowl, combine light olive oil, apple cider vinegar, unsweetened cocoa powder and red food coloring with a spatula. Don't use coconut oil as it tends to form a paste when in contact with cocoa powder or you want the mixture to be liquid for the best cake texture.
Using a baking spatula, stir in the previous cocoa mixture into the first bowl with the egg/butter mixture.
Add in the almond flour, baking powder and unsweetened almond milk.
Beat on low speed to combine and form a smooth cake batter, with no lumps.
Cake decoration - optional
Scoop out 1/4 cup of cake batter and spread in a thin layer, on a separate baking tray, covered with a piece of oiled baking paper. Bake this cake layer at 160°C (325°F) for 10 minutes or until set. crumble this to decorate the top of the cake!
Cool down then crumble with your fingers to form a red crumb and decorate the cake at the end.
Bake the cake layers
Fill each greased baking pan evenly, usually each layer will be made of about 2 cups of cake batter. Spread the batter evenly with a spatula, then tap the baking pan few times on the bench-top to make sure you removed any air bubbles locked in the batter.
Bake for 22-30 minutes in the center of your oven, fan-bake mode is ideal if you have one otherwise use regular mode (same temperature). Your cake is cooked when the top is still soft, moist and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake come out clean, with no crumbs stick on the skewer. Note: this is a gluten-free cake, it won't raise and form 2 moist, thin, flat cake layers of red velvet cake layer.
Remove from the oven, cool 5 minutes in the pan then unmold and cool on a cooling rack until it reaches room temperature - about 1 hour.
In a large mixing bowl, beat soft cream cheese with soft butter, powdered erythritol and vanilla.
Place the first layer of cake onto a cake frosting turning table, then add 1/3 of the frosting in the the center of the cake layer. Spread with a spatula, turning the cake frosting table at the same time to spread evenly.
Place the second cake layer on top of the previous on, add more frosting and repeat the previous step to cover the top and side of the cake.
Cut the cake in 12 slices and serve one slice as one serve.
Store leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge and eat as a zero-carb keto snack. You can also freeze this frosting in ice cube tray to make single-serve keto frozen snack treats.
Store the cake in an airtight cake box in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in slices in airtight container. Defrost the day before at room temperature.
How to troubleshoot butter lumps in cake batter? This happens if you are using cold butter or cold eggs. To fix the issue, prepare a large baking bowl with hot water. Place the baking bowl (with the butter/erythritol mixture) on top of the hot bowl (this is called 'bain-marie'). The heat from the warm bowl will transfer to the cake batter bowl gently, as you keep stirring the butter/erythritol mixture the lumps will disappear.