Jan 14, 2019

Mini Red Velvet Lava Cakes, Vegan and Gluten-Free

By Ruth Elnekave, CNP, and Sophie Bourdon
two plated red velvet chocolate lava cakes garnished with pomegranate

Why you’ll love these mini lava cakes

Is there anything more more luscious and indulgent than a gooey chocolate lava cake?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Red velvet chocolate lava cakes. Oh yes.

Typically, red velvet is just a chocolate cake made with less cocoa powder and red food colouring. However, this is not the case for this recipe. We double down on rich, raw cacao powder and use beets to give these chocolate molten lava cakes that infamous red tinge. If you’re feeling skeptical at the thought of adding beets to a lava cake chocolate recipe, worry not. Beets are high in sugar and bring a natural earthy sweetness that balances perfectly with the dark chocolate. The beets are also finely blended into a puree, so you won’t even remember you’re eating vegetables as you indulge in this chocolatey dessert! 

Ingredients to make mini lava cakes:

  • 1 ¼ cups beet puree (about 3 medium beets)*
  • ½ cup unsweetened plant-based milk (e.g. coconut, almond, cashew)
  • 1 ½ cups almond flour (or hazelnut flour)
  • ½ cup sorghum flour (or other gluten-free flour, e.g. teff, quinoa, brown rice, millet)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¼ cups coconut sugar
  • ⅔ cup raw cacao powder (+ more for lining the ramekins) (or sub ⅓ cup with JOYÀ's Calm Cacao Superblend
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 9 tbsp aquafaba**
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil + 1-2 tbsp solid coconut oil to grease the ramekins
  • 1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • Small squares of JOYÀ's Functional Chocolate (one per ramekin/mini cake)

Best toppings and garnishes for lava cakes

  • Plant-based ice cream
  • Dusting of cacao powder
  • Raspberry coulis 
  • Fresh berries
  • Pomegranate seeds 
  • Coconut whipped cream

Additional notes 

*Beet puree can be prepared up to three days in advance

** Aquafaba is the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas

mini lava cakes

How to make mini lava cakes

Beet Puree 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Scrub and wash beets under water until clean.
  2. Wrap beets loosely in foil and transfer to a baking sheet. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour (depending on their size), or until a fork or knife slides easily to the middle of the beet. Set in the fridge to cool.
  3. Once cooled, rub the skin off the beets. If the skin doesn’t peel away easily, use a paring knife to peel.
  4. Place beets in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of puree and set aside (or store in the fridge for up to three days).


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of 8 to 9 oven-proof 5-ounce ramekins with coconut oil and dust the bottom of each ramekin with cacao powder (alternatively, you could use muffin tins). Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, baking powder, cacao powder, coconut sugar and sea salt. Whisk to incorporate all dry ingredients together.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk the beet puree with the milk until combined, and then whisk in the aquafaba, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared ramekins. Push one square of chocolate down into the center of each cake, being careful not to push through to the bottom. Using a spoon, spread the batter to cover the chocolate and even out the top of each cake. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the edges have pulled away slightly and the top no longer appears wet.
  6. Let cakes rest in the ramekins for 4-5 minutes before removing. Gently run a knife around the edges of each cake, cover ramekin with a dessert plate or shallow bowl and carefully invert. Top with garnish (optional), serve immediately and enjoy!

broken pomegranate with scattered seeds

(Header image by Sophie Bourdon)
Ruth Elnekave, Founder and CEO of JOYÀ
by Ruth Elnekave, CNP

Ruth Elnekave is a Toronto-based chef, holistic nutritionist, culinary instructor, recovering corporate lawyer and founder of JOYÀ. Her projects are fuelled by one main goal: to spread the pure joy and wellbeing experienced when sharing and savouring delicious, real food.

A young woman, Sophie Bourdon, sits outside in a black tea shirt in a garden.
by Sophie Bourdon

Sophie Bourdon is a health and wellness entrepreneur based in Montreal, Canada. She is the holistic nutritionist and founder behind The Green Life, an online journal, shop and natural skincare and self-care line. Sophie believes in a holistic approach to wellness that uses the power of plants to promote nourishment and vibrancy on every level - skin, body and soul.