CAPITAL DISTRICT – This homemade cupcake recipe is one of my daughter’s favorites. In fact, I delivered these cupcakes to her lunch table last year as part of her birthday surprise, and she loved telling everyone what was in them after they had been devoured.
You see a lot of red velvet treats this time of year, but in the past, I could never bring myself to make them because of all the red food dye used to give them that great color.
This recipe presents a more natural version of a red velvet cupcake that comes out mahogany in color. It uses a very unlikely ingredient (beets!) that you can’t taste at all. The cupcakes turn out delicious and very moist (as long as you don’t over bake them).
Valentine’s Day Cupcakes
2-1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs, large
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup pureed beets*
4 ounces cinnamon applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar, white
1 tablespoon red food dye
Heart chocolates (optional)
- Combine the pureed beets and cinnamon applesauce together and set the mixture aside. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda together and set it aside. In another bowl beat the eggs, butter and sugars together with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, vinegar, buttermilk, and the pureed beet and cinnamon applesauce mixture and continue to stir until all of those ingredients are mixed well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is well blended. Add in 1 tablespoon of red food dye and continue to blend.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the mixture into lined muffin pans; this recipe makes approximately 24 cupcakes. Bake the cupcakes for approximately 25 minutes. Depending on how much you fill your cupcake muffin tins, you might want check them at 20 minutes with a cake tester to see if they are ready so that you don’t over bake.
- Let cool and frost with cream cheese frosting. Top with a chocolate heart.
Cream cheese frosting
2-1/2-3 cups confectioner’s sugar
½ cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 tablespoons milk
- Meat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract together. Slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar and continue to mix. Slowly add in the milk, one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desire consistency.
*Pureed beets: Purchase the canned beets, diced or sliced, and puree them in a blender, mini food processor or food processor.
A note about this recipe: The original version of red velvet cake came from a reaction that took place between the cocoa powder and baking soda in its original state. As ingredients have changed, this no longer happens naturally, and many red velvet recipes call for ½ cup or more of red food dye. Although I still add a tablespoon of red food dye in this recipe, using the beets allows me to cut down on the amount of red food dye needed.