Healthy-ish Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting for Your Boo

beet cupcakes

Usually I am not the sentimental sort, but when V Day looms, I can’t resist whipping up something special for my boo.

Back Before Baby, I spent many happy hours concocting all sorts of decadent treats for my guy. One year, in a fit of unabashed sappiness, I crafted a surprisingly convincing 2D Jack Skellington and Sally from melted dark and white chocolate, complete with a chocolate Zero and little chocolate hearts. We ate the whole thing for dinner and washed it down with cheap champagne, lots of it.

But these days, now that I’m a mama, my efforts are a little more, wholesome, shall we say.

Like these here cupcakes. That lovely, vibrant red crumb? The work of beets, my friends! Also, there is whole wheat hiding in there. And the frosting is dark chocolate, which is practically a health food, am I right? OK, so the candy hearts are, ummm, candy. But know that I planned to top these with pomegranate seeds instead, I was just too lazy to peel the dang thing.

Healthy-ish Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting for Your Boo

Cupcakes adapted from Sunset Magazine/Diane Morgan. Chocolate ganache frosting adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Recipe notes: These cupcakes are super easy to make, but it does take a bit of time to pull them all together. For me, it was easier to roast the beets (along with some other vegetables I planned to put in a stew) a day before, so they were ready to go when I started the cupcakes. The original recipe calls for cake flour, but I never have that on hand, so I went with a substitution. Also, I cut the sugar by 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons. As for the chocolate ganache frosting, the recipe calls for letting it cool in the fridge for 45 minutes before frosting your cupcakes. If you happen to let the frosting kick it in the fridge overnight, as I did, it may turn a bit hard, which makes it very difficult to work with. You might try whipping it to loosen it up, not sure if heat would help. Also, I’ve tried swapping out the whipping cream for other liquids, but so far that hasn’t worked out. This frosting, it’s finicky, but hey, only two ingredients.


Makes 12 cupcakes

1 pound red beets (3 medium), scrubbed

1 cup all purpose flour

¾ cup white whole wheat flour

¼ cup corn starch

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, beaten to blend

2/3 cup canola oil

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Roast beets: Preheat oven to 400°. Wrap each beet in foil, put on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tender when pierced, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool. Peel, cut into chunks, and purée in a food processor. Measure 1 1/4 cups purée.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin pan (1/2-cup size) with paper liners. Sift together flour, corn starch, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Whisk together beet purée, granulated sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. With a plastic spatula, stir in flour mixture one-third at a time just until smooth.

4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each almost to the top of the liner. Bake until cupcakes spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in center of one comes out with a couple of moist crumbs clinging, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.


Makes about 2 cups, enough for 12 cupcakes

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Bring cream to boil in small saucepan.

Remove off stovetop (this is important. I forgot to do this once and the frosting turned out very, very dense).

Place chocolate in the saucepan, cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Whisk until smooth, then cover and refrigerate until cool and slightly firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from the fridge and frost those babies!


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