I saw a TV show last night where someone was turning their nose up at beets. In addition to fussy eaters being a major pet peeve of mine, I also happen to think beets are amazing. I had to fight hard to acquire the taste for the earthy, sweet, warm root vegetable and every step of that process was worth it. Sometimes I use food dyes and sometimes I don’t. Do what works for you and don’t worry about the rest. All that being said, don’t worry, though, these cupcakes taste nothing like beets.
If you’re not on Team Beet, here are my best suggestions to getting used to them: Focus on how wonderfully sweet they are. Try them in a fresh juice mix; apple, orange, carrot and beet is what converted me. Try the red beet’s milder sibling, the golden beet, roasted or puréed into a soup. Try them raw, shredded onto a salad or a sandwich! I find the earthy tones are not nearly as present when they’re raw. Do you love preserves? Eat pickled beets!
Not that this matters when it comes to this cupcake, of course! We’re just using beets for their naturally incredible colours. To save your hands some trouble, boil or steam the beets whole. Run them under cold water once they’re soft and the skin will easily peel off, with no knife necessary. The end result is a moist, somewhat dense cupcake with a fun colour somewhere between red and fuschia. I’ve topped mine with a very airy cream cheese frosting, but do what you like. All purpose flour works wonderfully with this recipe, but the colour turns out a little less red than the gluten-free version (see the very last picture).
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour (Here is my gluten-free one; brown rice flour leads to a smoother end product)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup puréed red beets (Roasted in the skins gives a richer colour)
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons silken tofu, or mayonnaise
1 tablespoon high quality vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil (sub any neutral oil)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare your cupcake tin with liners. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a blender or food processor, blend the beets until they are smooth. Add the non-dairy milk, silken tofu, and blend again until smooth. Add the vanilla, vinegar and oil and blend until you have a smooth liquid. It’s going to be a fun colour. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan; one tablespoon for mini or two tablespoons for regular. Bake for ~25 minutes, until the tops spring back at your light touch. Cool on a baking rack.
1/2 cup non-dairy cream cheese, softened (I like Tofutti)
1/4 cup non-dairy margarine, softened
1 teaspoon high quality vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, non-dairy margarine and vanilla until light and smooth. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until the frosting forms stiff peaks. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.