These beet red velvet cupcakes are naturally colored, but with all the amazing flavor of a red velvet cupcake. It is topped with a classic cream cheese frosting and sure to be a new favorite.
I’ve always been a fan of using natural ingredients whenever and where ever possible. I’ve always loved the idea of beet red velvet cupcakes, but I never actually tried making them before now. I’ve had baked goods like breads and cakes with beets, but using it as a coloring agent was entirely new to me.
And as it turns out, a real science.
Of course, all baking is a science, but it’s never been more apparent than when I started devloping this recipe for beet red velvet cupcakes (okay, may macarons also made that abundantly clear to me too). It took me five batches of cupcakes to get this recipe right. That’s five dozen cupcakes. That’s a lot of cupcakes to have to eat through. Thank goodness for friends!
The first time, I completely forgot the principles of baking and made a regular red velvet the way I like them and just added reduced pureed beets instead of the food coloring. Big mistake. They tasted amazing. Like…. really good. But they weren’t even a little red. They were like a rusty brown color. The second and third time I was close, but the cupcakes were mostly red on the top, brown on the bottom, and smelled like beets. They didn’t taste like beets, but you could smell them. Who wants to smell beets when eating a cupcake? Not me! Plus these were all way too greasy. As in, the liners were just too greasy to touch. Ew.
Finally, finally, I found the perfect balance. They are redder on the top, but still fairly red throughout and you would never know beets were in the cupcakes at all. Instead, they were light, fluffy, and full of non-beety flavor.
So no matter how you feel about beets or food coloring, you’ve got to try these beet red velvet cupcakes. I mean, they’ve got beets in them, which basically means they are a health food which means it’s totally okay to have about four of them. And who doesn’t want that?
- 1½ cups beet puree
- 2½ cups cake flour
- 2½ tablespoons natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¾ teaspoons baking powder
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cups milk
- 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat a skillet on medium high and add the beet puree along with ¼ cup of water. Reduce the beet puree until it is about ¾ cup. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combined. Set aside.
- In a food processor, add the reduced beets, butter, oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, and milk. Process until well combined - at least 2 - 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Evenly divide the batter among the cupcake liners so they are ¾ of the way full. You will have enough batter leftover for about two more cupcakes. I greased and floured a mini springform pan to turn it into a mini cake and baked for an addition 5 - 6 minutes.
- Bake the cupcakes for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla and heavy cream and mix on low until combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip (i used a star tip) and pipe onto the cupcakes. Optionally top with sprinkles.