Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Beet"er than red velvet cake

I'm not one to care about the rules and must do's for holidays, but I do find them a great time to send special treats and notes of appreciation to people I love. Ironically, baking is not my favorite thing in the world- it's too precise and in a world where everything must be done a certain way, I really enjoy the freedom of cooking. Nevertheless, it's more difficult to mail stuffed mushrooms or quiche, so baking it is.
For Valentine's Day, I decided to try my hand at red velvet cupcakes. Some things you should know 1. I had no idea what was in a red velvet cupcake. 2. I love cream cheese frosting. 3. The only time I've had red velvet is at this place in Portland, with my dear loves, Maddie and Jena. Ever since then, I was hooked.
This recipe is made with beets. Now don't get all weirded out on me. We, or I, use fruit and veggie replacements for baking all the time. Shall we recall the times I've used applesauce or zucchini? I just learned that there are two containers of food coloring in red velvet cake- sick. The beets do a great job as a replacement, but as with every recipe I read, the red color is strong in the batter and weak in the final product. You can add red food coloring to enhance, but I was trying to stay chemical free and it was 11:30 at night, so I didn't care.
I topped them off with cream cheese frosting from here, but it really turned into more of a glaze, I don't know if that's right or I screwed up. I also made a traditional white frosting for my dear ones who hate cream cheese frosting- they do exist, believe it or not!
One recommendation- the chocolate is pretty strong and when I tasted the straight cupcake and I was a little disheartened at the slightly bitter taste, but when you lather on some frosting, you'll be happy the cake is not super sweet.

Beety Red Velvet Cupcakes- adapted from Coconut and Lime

3/4 cup beet puree (chop 1 bunch of beets into chunks and place in a large pot of boiling water. When soft, place in blender with enough of the water to make a puree- should be the consistency of like a butternut squash soup)
1/2 cup natural sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon plain soy or coconut milk yogurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 6 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line 12 wells in a cupcake pan. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. Mix together the applesauce, yogurt, beet puree, vinegar, milk and flax. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

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