I spent last week thinking about beets. I know it’s not the first time I’ve discussed them (or even the second … and then there was that borscht incident earlier this summer that I thought best not to share). But last week I was thinking about making something sweet with them. Similar to a carrot cake? Or zucchini cake? No … I was thinking about using beets in red velvet cake. (Or cupcakes, as the case may be).
I am not exactly sure why. I am pretty sure that I’ve never eaten red velvet cake and certainly have never made it. From what I’ve read and heard on the street, people just eat it for the cream cheese frosting. But the idea of using my single, solitary beet from the CSA to turn my cake pink, well, it tickled my fancy. And it makes the cupcakes healthy, right?
I’m not going to lie. There was a moment as I was adding the beet puree into the cupcake when all I could smell was the deep earthiness of the beets. And thought Why the hell did I ruin cupcakes by putting beets in them? But, as it turns out, it didn’t ruin the cupcakes. Not at all. It turned them brilliantly pink.
And you know how I love color.
I got the cake recipe here. I chose it because it called for both a bit of lemon juice and vinegar to maintain the proper pH, which is uber-important for maintaining the pink/red color. It also has cream cheese in the batter, not just in the frosting, so it really is more of a pink poundcake than a true “red velvet cake.” But I am more than okay with that – in fact I prefer it.
Beets in cupcakes … who knew?
Tickled Pink … Cupcakes
adapted ever-so-slightly from Sophistimom
makes 1 dozen cupcakes********** Cake 1 large beet
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar + 3 tablespoons
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (not dutch-processed – it will mess with the pH!) Cream Cheese Frosting 4 tablespoons butter
4 oz cream cheese 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Peel and quarter the beet and place in a small baking dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover dish with aluminum foil and roast at 350º for about an hour. Transfer beets and water to a blender, add lemon juice and apple cider vinegar and puree until smooth. Should make about 3/4 cup of beet puree.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time and add in vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly.
Add the beet puree. And watch your batter turn from drab brown to a beautiful burgandy. And try not to smell the beets … or at least don’t be frightened when you do. The cupcakes will be delicious and won’t taste like beets.
Scoop into a lined muffin tin. Bake at 350º for about 30 minutes. Let cool before frosting.
Beat together cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla until well-blended and smooth. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!