You Put WHAT in your Chocolate Cupcakes?

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes - You put WHAT in your cupcakes? Check out the way this Mama sneaks veggies into her kiddos // Happy Food, Healthy Life

Just the other day, I experienced one of my favorite things in the world. Actually two of my favorite things. It started with the super cute mini and delicious cupcakes I took to work. Lots of emails of thanks and a whole bunch of people coming over to my little cubicle throwing out words that I swear sounded something like “dessert goddess.” I love getting people excited about dessert. I love making peoples’ days with a bite-sized morsel of moist deliciousness.

Okay, and just a side note here where I have to rant: I despise the word ‘moist.‘ It’s not a pretty word. It’s gross. It’s just ew-y and gives me the heebie jeebies. But how else am I supposed to describe cakes, muffins, and brownies when they have that perfect texture?? Let’s take a little trip over to the thesaurus and see what we can come up with.

moist synonym

Let’s take some of these out for a spin:

* My! That banana bread came out so dank and tasty!
* You know, I could really go for some of Starbuck’s clammy Lemon Loaf Cake.
* Gosh, if only I could make my brownies as irriguous  as yours!

Conclusion #1: nothing will work besides moist.

Conclusion #2: these cupcakes are moist and I’m just going to have to deal with it. 

So on top of making people happy over my tasty treats, I also love to trick people. Kinda like when I made my Spinach and Artichoke Dip and no one could tell that there was a hidden secret ingredient. It’s best to wait until everyone tastes it, raves over it, and devours the whole tray. Then wait for the first person to come over to you and ask for the recipe. Have it all ready for them. Type it out. And be sure to bold the heading “Chocolate Beet Cupcakes.” And then watch their face change. It goes from disgust to confusion as they blurt out, “you put Beets in these!” And then you see the look of “You’re Brilliant” on their face because they know they can trick their kids and husband with this awesome trick.
On top of wanting to achieve brilliance, I was also hoping to achieve a red velvet cupcake without the red food coloring. I’m not a fan of the taste of chemical. Unfortunately, there was too much chocolate for the beet to stand out. But fortunately for my tastebuds, there was too much chocolate for the beet to stand out. I saw this recipe from Joy the Baker last year when she posted it on her blog and just knew I had to make it happen. Granted it took me a year, but I knew it would eventually happen. And I did modify the frosting a bit, not wanting to freak people out too much with the flecks of beets shining through. I am more than delighted with the results of this cupcake. You really can’t taste the beets, it has the best texture I’ve ever accomplished in a cupcake, and the frosting is just… well, it’s the icing on the cake!
Chocolate Beet Cupcakes - You Put WHAT in your Chocolate Cupcakes?? Check out how this mama sneaks veggies into her kiddos // Happy Food Healthy Life

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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nutritional information
makes 18-22 regular or 40 mini cupcakes
adapted from Joy the Baker


[for cupcakes]
2 medium beets, trimmed of their greens
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk

[for frosting]
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cups confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem.  Place clean beets in a piece of foil.  Drizzle with just a bit of olive oil.  Seal up foil.  Place on a baking sheet in the oven.  Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.

Remove the beets from the oven.  Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely.  Beets will be easy to peel (just using a paring knife) once completely cooled.

Grate the peeled beets using the finest side of a box grater.  Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake. Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set pans aside while you prepare the cake.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition.   Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture.  Beating on low speed , slowly add the milk.  Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients.  Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Try not to overmix the batter.  Bowl can be removed from the mixer and mixture folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients.

Spoon the batter into the cups, filling each 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-22 minutes (for mini-cupcakes) or 22-24 minutes (for regular-sized cupcakes).  Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.

To make the Frosting:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese for 30 seconds and butter until well combined.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix on low until completely combined. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes
So, here’s to trickery, brilliance, and moist beetcakes… er cupcakes.

What things do you like to add to your meals or desserts to trick your family?

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    • Holly says

      they’re rich but only in the best of ways. And the frosting is such a good balance to the richness as well. I hope you try it out Aubrey!

  1. says

    I want to make this for valentines day…but they are only for me and the beau :-/ Any recommendations on which parts of the recipe to decrease for 12 cupcakes? I can figure out the frosting, but the actual cake, i don’t want them to burn from too much of this or not enough of that.

    • Holly says

      Kali, I’m so happy you’re going to make these! I would simply half everything in order to make 12 cupcakes. And then only fill the cups about 1/2 full. enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Holly says

      Thanks for stopping by Natalie! This is definitely one of those recipes that catches you off guard, but I promise, you can’t even tell that something is off!

    • Holly says

      yes, it’s definitely one of those things you would never think of, but once you try them, you may never turn back! I had my whole office fooled!

  2. Tina Dawson says

    Hi Holly,

    Loved these so much! Just thought I’d let you know. I knew I wouldn’t have the patience to make 40 cupcakes, so I made one 9-inch square cake, and then made 20 mini cupcakes. They weren’t too sweet, which is just so great!
    Tina Dawson from

  3. Katie K says

    Is it me or does 3/4 c butter seems like a lot for this recipe? I am going to make these for a first time & would hate to make a mistake… Cheers! k

  4. Mary Ellen Nies says

    Thank you for the recipe idea, but more importantly, thank you so much for your thoughts on the disgusting word m…st. I have always hated that word…it sounds gross when you say it, as though your mouth is a deep cave with water dripping somewhere and maybe some rodents scurrying along the damp ground. My family has never understood it, and they tease me by using the word frequently. It is nice to hear someone else feels the same way, besides Lily from How I Met Your Mother (and I don’t think she counts since she is a fictional character.)

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Oh my goodness, you totally just made me laugh. I’ve found more and more people that hate the word, and it makes me feel not so weird for not liking it. Love your description though! M—ST TOTALLY sounds like that!!

  5. says

    This sounds like a great recipe. I can see where the deliciousness of the beets would make it taste rich and decadent. Making these this weekend!

    Found you through your Quinoa Burger picture on Pinterest and have been looking through your blog. Love it and I’m your newest follower!

    • Holly Waterfall says

      Thank you so much for coming over and hanging out a bit!! You are going to love these cupcakes… My favorite part was fooling everyone 🙂 No one had any idea they were beet-filled. WIN 🙂


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