Covered in frilly cream cheese icing, these cupcakes definitely won’t trick you into thinking they’re healthy, but can you believe that they’re made with beets?! Instead of copious amounts of dye, these red velvet cupcakes get their bold hue from, you guessed it, red beets! Like carrot or even zucchini cake, they don’t taste like vegetables, but the pureed beet root helps keep them extra moist and tender. It wouldn’t be red velvet cake without a mound of tangy vanilla cream cheese frosting, so be sure to swirl it on nice and high. These probably don’t fit your Whole30 diet, but we can’t think of a more fun way to eat your veggies; can you? They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day too!
If you’ve ever worked with beets before, then you know they can be pretty messy. We definitely recommend changing out of that white cashmere or throwing on a cute apron before getting started. But trust us: The mess and stained finger tips are totally worth it. The beets do add a slight earthiness to the classic cake, but a touch of cocoa powder and a mound of sweet yet tangy cream cheese frosting helps balance the flavors. A combination of both butter and oil keeps these cuties extra moist.
- 1 cup cooked beets, finely diced in a food processor
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs
(Makes approximately 24 cupcakes)
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside.
- Using a food processor, chop cooked beets until finely diced. From there, measure out one cup and add it back to the food processor.
- Add the buttermilk, lemon and vinegar. Purée until smooth and set aside.
- Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the oil and mix until combined.
- Working one at a time, add in the eggs and mix thoroughly.
- With the mixer on low, add in half the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add in the beet mixture and mix until combined.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
- Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake liners. Do not fill liners more than 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.
The natural color is vibrant yet slightly on the cranberry/mauve side. The batter nor the baked cupcakes will be as bright red as those made with food coloring, but that’s totally okay! If you want to amp up the color even more, try adding some beet powder or even just a little bit of food coloring (instead of the entire bottle most red velvet cake recipes call for).
For the frosting:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2-4 Tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Using an electric mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- With the mixer on low, add in the remaining ingredients until incorporated.
- Turn the mixer up to medium, and mix until light and fluffy.
- Add in more sugar and milk until desired consistency is achieved.
- Frost the cupcakes after they have completely cooled.
What non-traditional ingredients do you like to use in your cupcake recipes? Be sure to tag your recipes on Instagram using the hashtag #iamcreative.