Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting. For the Win.

There are some days when you can drink a glass of fancy pants red wine, watch the sunset from your rooftop, listen to some classy, contemplative music, and write with your head clear and your soul settled.And then there are days when you simply want, nay, you need a grilled peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich; chocolate chips because somehow you are out of nutella. And chocolate is chocolate is chocolate, am I right?

That pb & c sandwich is accompanied by a predictable chick flick and flannels.

A girl’s gotta change it up sometimes, right?

Speaking of changing it up, beets. What? Yes. Beets.



I know these are cupcakes. You expected a root vegetable. I’m sorry to catch you off guard. But not really that sorry at all. Because these cupcakes taste of rich chocolate and an airy cream cheese buttercream, with a touch of beet and vanilla bean.If you are one of those people that are weirded out by beets and only think that Dwight and Mose Schrute eat them, you’re misinformed.

Beets are a subtly sweet root vegetable that provide a depth of flavor and a moistness to this chocolate cake. The original red velvet used beet juice as its dye. You can use beets to make homemade wine. In Australia, they use sliced pickled beets on their hamburgers. And the Romans considered beet juice to be an aphrodisiac. Just saying, these cupcakes can do the body good.

These are gorgeous, and meant to be shared with your neighbors. Mine were pretty stoked. You’re probably will be as well.Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

For the Cake:

2 medium beets, unpeeled but trimmed of their greens

1 teaspoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces whipped cream cheese

4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons finely grated beets, mashed with a fork

scrapings of one vanilla bean pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons milk, depending on desired consistency

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

pinch of salt

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem.  Place clean beets in a piece of foil.  Drizzle with just a bit of vegetable oil.  Seal up foil.  Place on a baking sheet in the oven.  Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Remove the beets from the oven.  Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely.  Beets will be easy to peel (just using a paring knife) once completely cooled.

Using a box grater, grate the peeled beets on the finest grating plane.  Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the frosting.  Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Use butter to grease the cupcake pans, or use muffin liners.
In the bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition.   Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.  Beating on low speed , slowly add the buttermilk.  Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients.  Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Try not to overmix the batter.  Bowl can be removed from the mixer and mixture folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients.  Cake batter will be on the thick side… not pourable.

Divide the batter between the cupcake pans.  Bake for 18-23 minutes.  Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling the cake.

To make the Frosting:

In a bowl, using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese for 30 seconds, until pliable and smooth.  Add the butter and beat for another 30 seconds, until well combined.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the beets.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, lemon juice, and salt.  Beat on medium speed until smooth and silky.  Refrigerate the frosting for 20-30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.Top, or dollop, if you will, the cupcakes according to desired amount of frosting. Simply enjoy, and share.

Source: adapted from Joy the Baker
Listening to: “No Reservations”


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