Red Velvet Pancakes with Maple Cashew Cream

Need a Valentine’s Day breakfast idea? Or just want to sneak some healthy vegetables into your unsuspecting child’s diet? Moist, fluffy, and bright pink-red, these little darlings are sure to please.

Personally, I love sneaking healthy ingredients into foods. My favorite meatloaf recipe is one that hides some carrot, celery, and ground chia or flaxseed. I’ve made spaghetti sauces with simmered and pureed carrots in addition to the usual tomato. I’m always a fan of tossing spinach in my smoothies (although most of the time, the green color doesn’t “hide” so well…) And I’ve hidden beets before in chocolate truffles. So why not hide beets in pancakes in plain sight?

These days, most red velvet cake recipes obtain their bright-red color from artificial food dye. I’m not a fan of artificial dyes, so I opted to go the old-fashioned way – get my red color from beets! As long as you take care to keep the batter as acidic as possible, the beets should retain their red color in the batter even after cooking. So rather than using lots of baking soda (too alkaline), I used baking powder and eggs for lift. I also only used a touch of cocoa powder (not dutched – again, dutched is too alkaline) to keep the pancakes bright. The result?

Beet-red pancakes – literally! Fluffy, moist, lightly sweet, barely chocolate-y pancakes that tasted marvelous. Of course, they were even more marvelous with a drizzle of homemade maple cashew cream sauce, and a little more maple syrup on top as well. While they’ll be sure to bring smiles to the faces of any little ones, I will admit they made excellent fuel for a good run in some cool, drizzly weather afterwards.


Red Velvet Pancakes (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1/2 c chopped roasted beets (I peeled and cut 2 large beets into 1-inch chunks and roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes)

3/4 c coconut milk

2 T water

2 eggs

1/4 c coconut palm sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 c tapioca starch

1/2 c brown rice flour

1/2 t salt

2 t baking powder

1 T cocoa powder (not dutched)

1/4 t guar gum

Place the chopped beets, and coconut milk in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the water, eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla extract and puree until well-blended and smooth.

In a medium bowl, add the tapioca starch, brown rice flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, and guar gum. Whisk together until blended. Add the flour mixture to the food processor and process again until smooth.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Grease with a little coconut oil if desired. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and spread out to about a 4-inch circle with the back of a spoon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the edges look like they’re starting to dry. Carefully flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve pancakes with Maple Cashew Cream and maple syrup.

Makes about 8 pancakes.

Maple Cashew Cream (gluten-free, vegan)

1 c raw cashews, soaked for a few hours

1/3 c water

juice of 1 lemon

2 T maple syrup

about 1/2 t salt

2 T maple syrup

Drain the soaked cashews and place in a high-powered blender along with the water, the lemon juice, maple syrup, and the salt. Blend on a medium-low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides, until smooth. Add additional water as needed to thin the cream if needed. Store remainder, refrigerated, for 3-4 days.

This post has been linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.


    • altawrites says

      Rochelle – I’m 99% sure xanthan gum will work just as well. I prefer guar gum because it’s corn-free and cheaper. :)

  1. says

    I love these Alta! You’re so smart when it comes to alkaline ingredients and acidic! I had no idea that was important in order to preserve the color. My kiddos would love pink or red pancakes :) and I would love the Maple Cashew Cream!

    • altawrites says

      Maggie – I cannot claim that I came up with that all on my own…there was research involved for sure. :) I’m sure with your smarts you’ll be able to convert these to egg-free too – I haven’t tried!

  2. says

    Alta, these look sensational! And I love that they’re just in time for Valentine’s Day :) Can’t wait to try these! I think I might try it with some organic canned beets and see how that works out. I’ll let you know :) xo!

    • altawrites says

      Jody – I don’t think coconut flour will be a direct substitute. Coconut flour is a unique beast – it absorbs a lot of liquid initially, but then not much more once in the oven. Also, you have to use quite a bit less coconut flour than you would other flours. That being said, I love it in cakes., and I imagine with some tweaking it could work in this recipe. If you decide to play around with it, let me know how it turns out!

  3. Laura says

    Thanks for a yummy Valentine’s Day breakfast! I made some changes – two dates blended in rather than sugar, and my own flour blend of flax, coconut, buckwheat, almond, and potato starch. Almond milk rather than coconut, and 2T of grapeseed oil in with the liquid ingredients. We really enjoyed it, but next time I’d nix the cocoa and add more chocolate chips after pouring (we always add a couple). The cocoa gave it a somewhat burnt taste. The cashew cream was interesting – but better with the added maple syrup for sure! Any other uses for cashew cream?

    • altawrites says

      Laura – Love the idea of adding chocolate chips! Wonder why the cocoa gave it a burnt taste? I used a light raw cacao powder, so maybe that’s the difference? As for your question on cashew cream – there are SO many uses for it! If you make it without the added sweetener, you can add salt and garlic and make it a spread for crackers, you can use it in place of ricotta in lasagna or use it on pizza, if you want to keep it sweet, then fill cookies, frost cakes, or even sweeten or flavor it further and throw it in an ice cream maker and make ice cream! I’m sure there are even more options out there!


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