These cupcakes have all the rich dark chocolate flavor and the color of red velvet cupcakes without the artificial food coloring. Recently I tasted a red velvet cupcake from a local bake shop. It was very sweet and the ingredients included artificial red food coloring. I started searching for recipes that would be healthier and not contain red food dye. I found many bakers have substituted beets for red food dye in their recipes. As a dietitian I know beets are a super nutritious food. I have added carrots and zucchini to my recipes but adding beets? I admit skepticism. The result was amazing, my cupcakes were moist had a beautiful deep red color and did not taste like beets at all. My first time roasting beets was easy but a little messy. After a few tries I found the technique that worked best for me was wearing disposable gloves when peeling and slicing the beets and using a food processor to puree the beets.
Happy Valentine’s Day !
Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes
- 3/4 cup roasted and pureed beats
- 1 teaspoon of canola oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 ounces Ghirardelli 70% cacao bittersweet baking chocolate chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
First prepare the beets. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. You will need 2 medium or 3 small red beets trimmed of their greens leaving about 1/2 inch of the stem. Thoroughly rinse, clean, and scrub beets under running water. Place each beet on a piece of aluminum foil and brush lightly with canola oil. Seal up foil and place beets on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about one hour. Remove beets from the oven . Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely. Use a paring knife to peel beets. Place cooled beets in the bowl of a food processor and puree to a smooth consistency.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. This recipe makes approximately 15 cupcakes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sifted flour, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl slowly melt together chocolate and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Add espresso powder and mix well.
- Using a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium high speed, beat unsalted butter, canola oil, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup and continue to mix well.
- On medium speed add eggs one at a time mixing just until yolk disappears. Add vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture and blend well.
- On slow speed of standing or hand-held mixer, add the flour and buttermilk alternately to the batter beginning and ending with flour in 3 additions.
- With a spatula gradually fold in pureed beets until well blended.
- Fill each cup cake to 3/4 full.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Allow cup cakes to completely cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened at room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese softened at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar
In small bowl with a hand-mixer beat butter until light and creamy, add cream cheese and vanilla and continue to beat until well blended. Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency.