Red velvet cake with toasted almond frosting (vegan)


This is my second attempt at making red velvet cake. The first attempt had happened earlier in the day and, although seriously delicious, it was very far from 'red', more like 'beige' velvet. And because I had promised my daughter a red velvet cake, and because I am stubborn to the core, I did some research (fancy name for 'google') and found out that the baking soda I had used in my first batch had neutralised the beet's color so, I said a little prayer and got right back at sifting and measuring. I peeled, diced and boiled about 8 small beets, allowed them cool and puréed them in the blender, then I measured out 1 1/3 cups that I intended to use for the cake. The almonds I toasted in the pan, allowed them to cool, then ground them finely in the blender.

Ingredients
For the cake
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 2 Tablespoons ground toasted almonds
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (organic)
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 1 1/3 cups beets puré
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra light olive oil
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract

For the frosting
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance) or shortening
- 1 Tablespoon almond extract
- 1 Tablespoon almond milk, or more if necessary
- 1/2 cup ground toasted almonds

Sift the flour with the cocoa, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add in the toasted ground almonds and combine. Mix the beets puré with the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, almond milk and almond extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and combine well. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9 inch springform pans and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
To prepare the frosting, use a mixer to beat the margarine (or shortening) with the rest of the ingredients, except for the ground toasted almonds. When the frosting reaches the desired consistency, add the almonds and beat a few seconds more, until combined. Add more almond milk if you would like to thin the frosting or more powdered sugar if you would like to thicken it. 
To assemble the cake, spread the bottom layer with some of the frosting, add the second layer and cover the cake with the remaining frosting. I used frozen cranberries and fresh thyme to decorate the cake but that is just one out of an infinite sea of possibilities, use your imagination! Enjoy!







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