Cooked beets are a natural alternative to artificial red food dye, enhancing the ruddy undertones of cocoa. Keep these gluten-free cupcakes covered in the refrigerator up to 2 days or freeze for longer storage.
2 medium raw beets, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup xylitol or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (flax meal)
½ cup + 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon pure plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to taste
1 cup Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ounce dark chocolate or sugar-free dark chocolate, for garnish, optional
1. To make cupcakes, place beets in a small pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until beets are very soft and water is deep crimson, at least 30 minutes. Drain and reserve cooking liquid.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.
3. In a small food processor or blender, puree cooked beets until they’re the consistency of applesauce. Remove from processor and measure out ½ cup of puree. Save extra for another purpose.
4. In the processor bowl, whir together ½ cup beet puree, xylitol, flax, water, vanilla, vinegar and stevia until smooth.
5. In a medium bowl, sift together flour mix, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Whisk to blend well. Pour beet mixture over dry ingredients and stir just to blend; do not overmix.
6. Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/3-cup measuring cup, scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, distributing evenly.
7. Place in preheated oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes until a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Rotate pan once about halfway through baking.
8. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before topping with Buttercream Frosting.
9. To garnish with chocolate, gently melt dark chocolate and spread it in a thin layer on waxed paper. Let cool. (It will firm up at room temperature.) Cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter. Place hearts on cupcakes to garnish. Alternately, drizzle melted chocolate directly over frosting in a decorative pattern.
Each cupcake without frosting contains 149 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 231mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 2g sugars, 3g protein, 11Est GL.
Each cupcake with frosting contains 538 calories, 30g total fat, 10g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 252mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 20g sugars, 12g protein, 24Est GL
TIP To ward off any “earthy” flavor, boil the beets until they’re soft and then 10 minutes longer. Don’t discard the cooking liquid—it’s full of minerals. Use it as a stock base or pour it into soups, smoothies and juices.
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
This frosting can be frozen. Defrost it covered in the refrigerator overnight before using.
1 cup coconut butter, gently melted (not coconut oil)
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
¼ cup smooth natural cashew butter, sunflower butter or tahini
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons light agave nectar
¼ cup beet liquid (reserved from cooking beets)
½ teaspoon vanilla, chocolate or cherry-flavor stevia liquid, less to taste
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure cherry extract, optional
-Pinch fine sea salt
1. In a small food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately as a regular frosting.
2. To make buttercream frosting, transfer frosting to a bowl and refrigerate just until firm, about 1 hour.
3. Beat with electric beaters until frosting becomes fluffy and lighter in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Use immediately to frost the cupcakes.
Each ¼ cup contains 291 calories, 21g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 16mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 13g sugars, 6g protein, 10Est GL.