I love beets. And chocolate. And I've always loved the idea of Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine's, but I know I couldn't bring myself to dump that much red dye into a cake for my family or anyone else I might be feeding. So when I came across this recipe earlier in the week, I was almost giddy with excitement. And curious. Beet cupcakes. We keep getting beets in our CSA box so I had plenty on hand. And this recipe has a significant amount of beets...2 cups! Whether you love beets or not, there is no denying they are a gorgeous color! The batter was just lovely, a deep dark burgundy red.
The result? Amazing. I promise. So super moist. And beautiful to look at. I think I have a new Valentine's tradition. And no, I'm not kidding myself into thinking these are health food. There is way more sugar than I'm typically comfortable with, but it is Valentine's Day so no guilt here :)
p.s. Geoff Davis, I'm sending you a virtual beet cupcake...enjoy!
These make for the perfect Valentine treat, something decadent, something surprising and something seasonal (you can find fresh beets at most February farmer's markets).
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa (I used dark chocolate)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups beet puree*
*To make beet puree, I peeled and trimmed 5 medium-sized beets and simmered them, covered in water, for just under an hour. Once cooled, I pureed them until very smooth in the food processor (a blender or food mill would probably work as well).
Preheat oven to 325F.
Fill 24 muffin tins with liners.
Combine melted butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and water until smooth. Sift flour with cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet in small batches. Fold in beets.
Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes for 20-30 minutes, checking for doneness with a knife. Allow to cool in tins.
For the indulgent, these would be great with frosting (cream cheese? ganache?), but we chose to simply dust them with powdered sugar. We placed paper hearts on each one for a stencil and shook the sugar through a sieve.