Red (as a Beet) Velvet Cupcakes

15 Feb

I have always been a huge proponent of beets. Warm beets make any salad even better. And I’ll even eat them cold. I love the richness and sanguineness of the color, and the thick and juiciniess, just like steak. But I had never considered beets in a cupcake until now.

So the back story to this, is that every Sunday, I whip up some manner of cupcakes to provide to my very willing colleagues on Monday morning. At first I think I did this as a way to make new friends at work (I just started working here in late Sept 09). Now, I think my colleagues have grown to expect them. Last week, a women’s network event brought Crave Cupcakes into the office. The Red Velvet cupcake was amazing! I wanted to make these, but was incredibly put off by the amoung of food coloring (something I disagree on principal with) required.

Is there a way to make Red Velvet cupcakes without the artificiality?? YES! What follows is a recipe that I cobbled together from several I read through.

Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 2 large beets
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • 1/5 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425. Wash beets and chop into large pieces, put into baking pan (liquid will form!) and cover with foil. Roast for ~40 min, or until a fork easily slides into the beets. Take out and let cool slightly. Rub off the skins with your hands (red hand alert!) and coarsely chop. Put pieces into blender and puree until somewhat smooth– or at least no more big chunks remain.
  2. Reduce oven heat to 350. Melt butter in the microwave. In a large bowl, beat together beet puree, melted butter, sugars, and eggs with an electric mixer.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet bowl. The mixture should be dark red and beautiful (oh, and tasty too).
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake cups (3/4 full or slightly more generous). Bake for ~20 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Vanilla Roux Icing


  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk milk, flour, and salt until think and custardy consistency. Cool somewhat.
  2. In a small bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add in milk mixture. Beat until creamy and smooth.

Makes ~12 most excellent cupcakes.

They are moist, delicious, and have a cakey-ness to them that everyone seems to love today. The cupcakes were a big hit, and no one could guess the “surprise ingredient” I used… I actually kept an extra at home, so that I can treat myself at the end of the day.

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