The other day we sampled a red velvet cupcake at a local bakery. Though we’ve eaten more than our share of red velvet desserts over the years, there was something that set this particular cupcake apart. Its deep red/purple hue looked somehow more natural than the run-of-the-mill artificial “red velvet” shades typical of lesser quality cupcakes. It was incredibly moist and denser than an ordinary cupcake. It contained just the right dosage of sweetness.
After talking with the owners of the place, we discovered the cupcakes were made with beets! That’s right– none of that mysterious, artificial food coloring we’re so used to. While beets prepared in a more traditional manner aren’t normally our cup of tea, we were happy to discover that their usual intense flavor is masked in this recipe. What you’re left with are all-natural red cupcakes with a texture and flavor that tops their artificial counterparts. We just had to recreate this recipe at home.
Next time your sweet tooth calls, try this natural spin on an old cupcake favorite!
Beet-Red Velvet Cupcakes
3/4 cup beet puree 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar 3/4 cup sugar 1 stick butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1 1/4 cups flour 2 eggs 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder (not Dutch Process, or dark cocoa powder)
Cream Cheese Frosting: 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: 1. To make beet puree: boil or roast beets until tender and puree with an immersion blender or food processor until completely smooth.