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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Velvety Beet Cupcakes

It seems that just as we’re getting over the winter festivities Valentine’s Day shows up on the calendar. But of course who needs a calendar when the retail stores began stocking their shelves with everything Valentine’s since the second day of January.

We’ve never made a big fuss over this holiday but a yearly tradition was born when the kids began going to school. Instead of traditional Valentine’s Day cards we would bake sugar cookies in Valentine shapes and individually package and label them for each classmate.

We kept these cookies very simple, no frosting but a little red cinnamon heart would be placed strategically (as my daughter puts it) somewhere on the cookie depending on the cut out shape used.

This holiday holds more memories than sweet treats for me.

How can I ever forget the confrontation I had with a milk delivery truck on Valentine’s Day as a child.
When all was said and done, a few wiped tears and several stitches to my head made things well enough to get on with my day. My dear Uncle Mike further soothed my woes with a shiny silver dollar then took me back to school.

Upon entering the classroom I realized that the Valentine’s Day party was well under way. The treats had already been distributed so the teacher asked the students if any of them wished to share something with me.

I’m not sure if you would call it “love” but I ended up with a pile of goodies on my desk that would be hard to forget!

This week I tried a new recipe for Velvety Beet Cupcakes but gave it a few personal touches as I am usually inclined to do. The frosting recipe underwent a mini makeover as well.

Before baking these cupcakes, first think of someone that you can share them with otherwise you may end up eating them all yourself.

After baking and frosting the cupcakes I asked my son Daniel to taste test them for me and he did…until there were none left!

Velvety Beet Cupcakes

Unlike zucchini and carrots, beets are a more unfamiliar vegetable to bake with.
The beets do a great disappearing act since you won’t be able to detect their presence.

1¼ cup flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ 398 ml. can beets drained and patted dry
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup vegetable or corn oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup buttermilk or soured milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups.
  3. In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a blender puree together beets, sugar, oil, vanilla, egg and buttermilk (or soured milk) until smooth.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add liquid ingredients.
  6. Beat with a mixer until well mixed being careful not to over mix. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into center of cup cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes then remove cakes to a rack to cool completely before icing.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

This Cream Cheese Frosting recipe was a great find. It’s a bit different than the more familiar recipe since whipping cream replaces the butter.
I added the raspberry puree for the pink colour but got the bonus of a truly tasty, not too sweet frosting.

¼ cup frozen raspberries (no sugar and thawed)
½ 8 ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cups icing sugar
1/3 cup whipping cream (35% cream)
  • Press thawed raspberries through fine meshed sieve to remove seeds.
  • In a small bowl beat cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Add the raspberry puree and beat until well mixed.
  • Gradually add the whipping cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe.
  • Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.
  • Pipe frosting onto completely cooled cup cakes and decorate as desired.
  • Refrigerate.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • To sour milk place 1 teaspoon white vinegar in the bottom of measuring cup and add enough milk to measure ½ cup.
  • Don’t overfill cups with batter, you don't want muffin tops on your cupcakes.
  • I used frozen raspberries but fresh ones will probably work as well.


  1. your sweet-tooth daughterFebruary 12, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    As your official blog recipe tester, I will 'attest' that these are a very delicious treat. I find the beets add a nice texture and they were not overly sweet. A very satisfying cupcake. A keeper of my own heart for sure!

  2. your absent minded daughterFebruary 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Mmm, that's what you're for.