With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought it best to unveil this recipe now, so that everyone can test it out before making it for that special someone (or for family and friends!).

But having worked in a bakery that used to make red velvet cupcakes, I was always appalled at how much red food coloring you needed to make the cake red.

That’s why I like this recipe. The red (or rather pink) coloring comes entirely from pigment-heavy beets that not only color the batter, but gives it a natural sweetness that sugar alone cannot do. And yes, there is an earthiness from the beets (which I love), but for those who are worried, the cocoa powder from the dry ingredients balances out the earthiness. You won’t know it’s there unless you really concentrate on it.

Oh, and did I mention it was vegan friendly? I know, I’ve really outdone myself, but the substitutions were fairly simple. In the bakery, we always used vegetable oil as opposed to butter to lighten the batter - very much like a chiffon cake. Instead of butter or vegetable oil, I opted for coconut oil, which gave the cupcakes a subtle coconut aroma. Instead of buttermilk, I did a quick substitution with almond milk and lemon juice. And finally I substituted egg with tofu. The tofu along with the pureed beet makes the cupcake super moist and light.

A small tip about this recipe - if the coconut oil seizes up when you add the beet puree, simply put the bowl over a double boiler and warm the mixture until it becomes homogenous. You don’t want little chunks of un-mixed coconut oil floating around. Other than that, wear dark clothes and wash your hands after touching those beets because they do stain!!

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside. Combine lemon juice with almond milk. Set aside to let curdle.

3. Blend beet with tofu until smooth.

4.With a paddle attachment, combine coconut oil with sugar.

5. Add beet mixture to coconut oil mixture. Mix in vanilla. Combine till homogenous.

6. Starting with the dry ingredients, alternate adding the flour mixture and the almond milk mixture.

7.Add vinegar to baking soda. Add mixture into batter.

8. Slightly flatten your muffin cups before putting it into the muffin tins.

9. Fill muffin cups to the very top.

10.Bake for 14-15 minutes.

11. Let cupcakes cool before frosting.

12.Prepare Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.

13. Fill piping bag and frost cupcakes.

10.Top with dried beet for decoration.

Beets left on the side

Topped with whole beet chips

Topped with dried beets cut into the shape of hearts

Ingredients

Beet Cupcakes (makes 12 mini cupcakes)

  • 2/3 cups cake flour
  • 5 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup almond milk + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 beet
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • dried beet chips for decoration

Cream Cheese Frosting: