Monday, July 13, 2009

Red Velvet Redux

Did you know that there is something seriously wrong with me? Or seriously right. It all depends on how you look at it.

I can't waste anything. I also can't make anything that isn't at least 5% healthy, in some way or another. Ice cream, cupcakes, pizza... don't matta. I will health the shit out of it. Well, kind of.

Yesterday I battled broccoli. Tonight seemed like a good night for beets. Except that I'm really tired of beats already, and I've barely eaten any in the past few weeks. I usually love them, but I get burnt out fast. Anyway. I had beets in the fridge. We'd already chopped off the greens and wilted them down to go with pasta last week. It would seem a bit backwards to eat the greens and toss the beets, yeah?

A little over a year ago, when I was on a really weird food kick- I tried to make chocolate beet cupcakes. Now, this wasn't an entirely crazy idea in and of itself- real red velvet cake is made with beets. The problem is that I used canned beets, I didn't puree them, and for some whack ass reason I also used whole wheat flour instead of white. That only works for muffins, silly girl.

Tonight I decided I was going to do it again, and do it right. This time I found a recipe full of butter and sugar and white flour. YES. So not my style, but (probably) so delicious. Add to this the fact that I still had leftover coconut/rum/vanilla bean buttercream frosting in the fridge- and I knew I was in troubs.

Making me even more in troubs- I didn't have enough beets for two full cups of puree. Oh, the horror. Luckily I am a genius with a fridge (and freezer) full of produce- and I threw some zucchini and homemade (frozen) applesauce in the food processor and worked it all out.

They have this perfect little crispy top and are so soft and dense in the middle. They don't have the perfect cupcake shape as they sunk/cracked in the middle while baking, and I went light on the frosting. You can't taste the veggies at all. They're super chocolaty and moist.

So basically- you should make these. They're actually pretty basic, and definitely a good way to trick significant others, children, and roommates into eating up all of those beets for you. NOM.

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes from Vanilla Garlic:

Makes 24 cupcakes / 350 F

What You'll Need...
2 cups beet puree (about 3 large beets)
1 cup of unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoons of salt

1) Peel and chop the beets and wrap in foil with a dab of butter and roast for one hour at 350 F. Puree in a food processor and let cool completely.

2) Mix together the melted butter, sugars, eggs, and water until smooth.

3) Combine the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly sift into the wet ingredients until just combined.

4) Fold in the beet puree. Scoop into cupcake papers about 3/4 of the way full. (Originally recipe says to fill them 1/4 of the way- but you'd end up with about 300 tiny cupcakes if you did this, so listen to me!)

5) Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (it will be red, but should have no cake on it). Let sit for a minute then, let cool on a wire rack.

If you need/want to make these vegan- just sub the melted butter out for vegetable oil, and whatever egg replacement you prefer. I'd lean more towards flax eggs or Ener-G for these, as tofu will probably make them too dense.

Also- if you are in the same situation that I was re: beets, it's not difficult to sub them out entirely if you need to. Two full cups of pureed zucchini or unsweetened applesauce will both work perfectly- you just won't have the fun red color to them. Cooked carrots would also work wonderfully.

For the frosting just mix about a half a cup of shortening or butter with 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup of full fat coconut milk, a teaspoon of whiskey, and the insides of a vanilla bean. I don't have an electric mixer so I just use my food processor which does the trick wonderfully. Add/change proportions as you need to. Everyone likes their frosting a little differently.

Oh yeah, and if you're in Seattle and want to try these- PLEASE tell me, and I will bring you some! I really don't need two dozen cupcakes hanging out around my kitchen causing trouble.


stefanie p. warmouth said...

this excites and delights me. i love beets!

Anonymous said...

thank gosh i'm good at baking. but i've never had beets before, or red velvet cake...did you see the rainbow cake on my blog? i'm thinking of making it at some point.

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