Love is in the air…and it’s for my all-time favorite treat, Red Velvet Cake. It’s some thing about that rich, dark red that gets me. Plus the unexpected taste of chocolate mixed with cream cheese frosting that makes this the perfect dessert for me. In my search for a healthier version of tomorrow’s treat, I couldn’t believe how much red food coloring goes into achieving that red. It kind of grossed me out. Referring to recent research on food additives and coloring and their affect on kid’s behavior (see blog post), I realized that I had to find an alternative.
The natural food coloring of choice? Beets!
The result was more of a “purple-red”, but the result was delicious! I have to note that my first batch was a little too “beety”, and my cupcakes had that hint of “earthiness” AKA “dirt” taste that beets can sometimes give off. But, I scaled back the added beets and still achieved the color I was going for. I used whole wheat pastry flour and used earth balance coconut butter in the frosting. The result? Amazing.
1/2 cup freshly pureed beets (I roasted mine,about 2-3 medium sized beets, skins on at 400F for 35min)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (not dutch process)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate almond milk or chocolate coconut milk
FOR THE FROSTING:
1/4 coconut spread (Earth Balance makes a good one!)
8oz package of cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with liners and give each liner a quick spray of coconut oil cooking spray.
In a blender, blend the pureed beets and coconut oil. Add the sugar, milk and vanilla extract; blend well.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and backing powder. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients.
Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients slowly; mix until incorporated.
Divide the batter amongst your muffin cups; fill each one about 2/3 full. Should make about 12 cupcakes. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
While cupcakes are baking, make the frosting. Using a handmixer, blend the cocobut spread, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Before you frost your cupcakes, make sure your cupcakes are cool. Also, take frosting out of the refrigerator and set on counter for about 10 minutes. I scooped mine into a large ziploc bag, sniped off the end and used it to pipe it on the cupcakes.