Secretly Healthy Red Velvet Whoopie Cakes

Well gee! It’s about time I got a dessert up on the blog!! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long – but of course, as most of you know, the Hubby and I are now entering Week 4 of our 12-Week Challenge (holy moly! I can’t believe how fast it’s going by already!!), so we haven’t really been chowing down on desserts as of late!

As part of our challenge, every week we get what’s called a “Bonus Meal” – this means we get to choose what we want to eat as long as it is under a specific amount of calories and still contains a protein source!

I decided as part of my bonus meal last week, I would sneak in a dessert! I also have to admit I was starting to miss baking!

What?! I can’t believe I just said that.. or wrote it! Baking was (and still is), definitely not my forte, but I must say I have grown quite fond of it!

I mentioned in another post that I have had some weird cravings over the last few weeks – definitely emotionally eating related (I don’t ever eat cupcakes, yet when I can’t have them, and all of a sudden I want them!) Yes, the lovely games our minds play! Luckily, I’ve been able to keep strong and fight all these silly cravings and they are starting to slowly go away!

So anyway, I’ve had a hankering for red velvet cupcakes – and although I just couldn’t bring myself to go and buy one from a bakery (because first of all, that would easily be half or more of my alloted bonus meal calories, and I still don’t want to put refined sugar and refined flours into my body no matter how much I’m craving it!), I decided to make my own – and make them as healthy as possible!!

So, what’s the “secret” in these red velvet whoopie cakes?!

….wait for it…..


Yup..put-em-in-borscht beets! And I promise, you’d never know!

That’s how these beautiful little cakes get their nice deep red color! So not only does this skip the artificial dyes, it also adds some antioxidants and fiber that beets are a great source of!

In addition to the beets, these whoopie cakes are made with whole wheat pastry flour, agave nectar, stevia, and coconut oil! No refined sugars or flours here!

I enjoyed one after a delicious bonus meal (see below!)  and it was exactly what I had hoped for… rich, sweet, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth-good! Mmmmm perfection!

So, I bet your wondering what I had for the rest of my bonus meal aren’t you?!

Well, I was looking around for different recipes that would fit the bill and I came across this recipe for delicious Crispy Coconut-Masala Chicken Thighs from Inspired Edibles (a FANTASTIC healthy food blog!).  As soon as I saw it, the decision was made!

I changed up the recipe a bit but the chicken still tasted just wonderful. First, I omitted the panko breading and used coconut flour instead. Although panko breading is supposed to be healthier when frying (because it repels oil rather than absorbs it) I have yet to find a brand that isn’t full of crappy processed ingredients. 🙁 If anyone knows of one – please do tell me!!  The coconut flour gave the coating an even more “coconutty” flavor, and the unsweetened shredded coconut still browned wonderfully as a crust for the chicken. I also added about 2 teaspoons of lime zest to the coating as well.

Like Harry Nilsson once said …”put the lime in the coconut”.. so it just made sense! Lol!

Here is my quickly snapped iphone picture of my bonus meal which followed with a delectable Red Velvet Whoopie Cake! I would have taken nicer pictures but I just didn’t have the patience, after all this was my long awaited bonus meal!!!

Yum yum yum!

I always get excited about deciding on what to have for a bonus meal! Even though I still try to make it healthy (ish!) it’s nice to have the freedom to choose exactly what I want!
5.0 from 2 reviews
Secretly Healthy Red Velvet Whoopie Cakes (and the "Bonus" Meal!)
Serves: 12
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup steamed and cooled beets (about 2-3 large beets), pureéd until smooth
  • ½ cup agave syrup
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • For the Filling:
  • ⅔ cup low fat or fat free cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 stevia packets (about ½ – 1 tsp powdered stevia)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 12-muffin tin with liners. (or use a silpat liner like I did!)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, process the beet pureé, agave syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Process until completely smooth.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, be sure not to overmix.
  5. Equally distribute the batter between your prepared tins, and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  6. For the filling, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer to fully combine and mix until smooth.
  7. Once cooled slice the cupcakes in half and add about 1 tablespoon of filling to the bottom half, smooth, then place the top half on and push down lightly.
Nutritional Information
Serving size: 1 cake Calories: 171.7kcal Saturated fat: 5.4g Unsaturated fat: 0.7g Carbohydrates: 27.8g Sugar: 17.3g Fiber: 2.1g Protein: 3.9g
 *Recipe adapted from Keepin’ It Kind 
Here’s to Week 4 of our challenge – I know we are going to POWER through it!
Oh… and I think after next week, when we hit our 30 day mark, we will be doing our first set of progress pics… eeeek! That’s a tad nerve-racking! 
Nutritionist in the Kitch

Author: Christal Sczebel

Christal is the creator of Nutrition in the Kitch. She's a Certified Nutritional Consultant, twice published author, gluten and dairy free recipe developer, food photographer, speaker, wife, and mama. Christal loves good food, all things wellness, and loves to travel. Her wellness philosophy is centred around balance and sustainable health, life's way too short for boring diets and restriction!

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  • Hi, so I finally had the time to try this recipe (I waited for so long and was so excited). However, the cupcakes taste like beets, I love beets but the taste here is overwhelming, I am throwing them out. Even red water came out of them, after I baked them until the toothpick came out clean.
    Please help me, I used 3 beets like the recipe. Today I saw online about using the red water after cooking them or using beet root powder.
    If I can use the powder, can you please advice how? ratio?. Or what can I do to make this recipe work, I am dying to go home and make it again but good this time.
    By the way, the frosting was delicious, I just added 1/2 tsp of coconut oil to it.

    • Hi Farydah! Thank you for the feedback! I didn’t have any issues with red water in mine! And I couldn’t taste beets either. Hmmm.. maybe try the recipe again with only one beet and a little more flour, as well as some additional sweetener?!

        • Hey Farydah.. if by beet powder you just mean dehydrated beet, I think it’s fine as a natural colorant. A great alternative to artificial colorants! I would imagine in most recipes if using as a colorant you would use only a small amount. I haven’t worked with it myself though so I’m not totally sure about exact amounts!

  • Hi Christal, ive got mixed emotions, on one hand the red velvet cake is my favourite cake of all time and i cant imagine that id want to try a different recipe… but on the other hand, these look as close to perfect as you get. And the way you described them makes me think they will be equally amazing.

    Help me? Would i be able to taste the difference in a blind taste test?

    • To be honest, yes they would not taste the same as a red velvet cake you would get at a bakery, BUT that doesn’t mean they don’t taste fantastic still, it’s just not the same without the refined sugars and flours, and fats! With an open mind I think you’d like these still, just with a different appreciation! 🙂

    • A gluten free flour or just wheat free? You could easily use spelt flour (which is not gluten free), or you could use brown rice flour, coconut flour, or a GF all purpose flour mix, like Bob’s Red Mill! 🙂

  • So, I was just scrolling through the Facebook news feed and I almost went by this picture of red velvet cup cakes because I thought it was something someone had shared from Pinterest. I was almost past it when I saw it was from you, Christal, so I whipped back and took a closer look. And shouted out to my husband: I love the Nutritionist in the Kitch! I think I may have had a red velvet whoopie cake maybe once in my life (it’s the sort of thing I have always avoided) but how thrilled I am that I can make something like this now if I want to :). Now I will just have to find a special occasion. Hmm. These would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day bonus meal 🙂

    • Yes!! These would totally make a lovely Valentine’s treat! I might just have to make another batch to bring in to work for the ladies on V-Day! 🙂

  • Hi Christal, I’m so pleased to hear that you tried the coconut-masala chicken and that you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for reporting on it. As for the panko, I use Ian’s Natural Foods Whole Wheat Panko. Unless you’re pulling it up from the ground, you’d be hard-pressed to find something less processed ;-). The lime sounds like a yummy addition for sure.

    Now, about your beautiful beet vibrant delights, I have never eaten a whoopie cake in my life but if I was going to, these would be the ones!!

    • Thanks Kelly! The chicken was wonderful! Yeah, Im going to do some more searching at the natural foods store here to see what I can come up with in regards to the panko – I haven’t seen whole wheat yet, but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere!

      You’ve got to give the red velvet cakes a try, really they are divine!