You will love these cupcakes with or without the icing. So many people have asked if these are chocolate and cherry cupcakes. The beets take on a cherry flavor. Plus, you can take serve these in all the PEANUT AND EGG FREE ZONE SCHOOLS and the kids will not know they are healthy! You can make them gluten free and vegan very easily. Use gluten free flour and coconut oil for the butter.
I feel great about grabbing one of these for a snack because the beets fight heart disease, are an anti-inflammatory, and may help reduce cancerous tumors. The organic applesauce is rich in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and the antioxidant phyto-nutrients polyphenols and flavonoids like quercetin which helps regulate your blood sugar. And of course, the cocoa tastes amazing and is so good for you too.
To make the beet puree, boil the beets for about 30 minutes. When they have cooled, peel off the beet skins with your fingers (they should roll off), and place the beets in a blender with a little beet juice to puree. You can do this the day before and use the puree for smoothies or other recipes. Save the beet water and use to dye your easter eggs.
While you are boiling the beets, leave 11 tablespoons of unsalted butter out to soften. You can melt the butter if needed. I like the consistency of softened butter better.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and start the batter.
Mix the butter, 1 1/3 cup cane or coconut sugar, and 1/2 cup real cocoa powder. Then add 1 1/3 cup cake flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/3 cup applesauce. Beat on low until “smooth.” Fold in the 3/4 beet purée. Taste to see if you want more cocoa and cinnamon.
I used Cocoa instead of baking chocolate because there is much less fat and it does not have any added sugar or dairy. It is 100% cocoa and I want the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties!
This makes about 14 cupcakes. My kids love the batter so I usually only bake a dozen. The beets will stain their clothes so make sure they wash their hands and face well!
Use an ice cream scooper for less mess putting the batter in the baking cups. I recommend using unbleached chlorine free large baking cups from If You Care.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Stick a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake and it should come out clean.
To make the icing, soften 4 ounces of cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese (less fat) and 2 tablespoons of organic butter. Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. If you like a sweeter icing, add 1 cup or more of sifted powder sugar. The sugar thickens the icing too.
Since it is Saint Patrick’s Day. I made the icing a bright grass green. I used India Tree Natural Dyes but could not get the bright green color so I broke down and added 2 drops of Ateco green dye.
I hate using dyes but at least this one did not have propylene glycol and propylparaben; these are potential carcinogens and parabens are found in breast tumors. Please avoid those preservatives.
You can use this Simple Bites recipe if you are not allergic to eggs. I love this site and made these cupcakes first before I attempted an eggless version. I am very pleased at how my eggless version turned out. They are so delicious.