Well, I did it. I said I would, and by golly, I did. Beet cupcakes.
While I was hoping for a vibrant red along the lines of red-velvet cake, what I ended up with, albeit not crimson red, was by all means delicious. I think at this point I could make beets into just about anything and Taylor would declare them the best ever, (he’s already requested beet ice cream), and these cupcakes were no exception. Ok, maybe not best ever, but they were a rich and moist chocolate cake, with a subtle hint of the beet’s earthy goodness shining through.
I knew I wanted to make beet cupcakes, and when we had a bit of beet puree leftover from another recipe (which I will share shortly), I knew exactly how I wanted to use it. However, I was horrified to discover we were out of butter. Out. I’m never out of butter, yet here we were, with a fridge full of everything except butter. Ok, I lied. I had a few dollops of homemade butter (yes, I said homemade butter. But that’s for another post), but not nearly enough to do much of anything in the way of buttercream.
How does one frost cupcakes without butter? Easy. Chocolate. Chocolate ganache to be exact. But I didn’t stop there. I also decided to pump the suckers full of marshmallow filling. It’s like a mini hostess cupcake. With beets.
3-4 medium beets (about 1 lb)
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter or shortening, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup marshmallow creme
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap beets (skins on) tightly in a layer of parchment paper inside a layer of aluminum foil. Roast for 45-55 minutes or until tender. Remove and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, rub outsides of beets with paper towel to remove skins. Place beets in a blender or food processor and puree. Measure out 1 cup of puree.
Line muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together the beet puree, coconut milk, sugar, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in wet mixture. Stir until just smooth (do not overmix).
Pour into liners, filling each with 3-4 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). For mini cupcakes, fill each with 1 tablespoon batter. Bake 18-20 minutes (or 10-12 for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
For filling, with an electric mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Beat in the marshmallow creme. Transfer filling to a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip. Press the tip into the center of each cupcake, and fill until the top of the cupcake slightly expands. Go slowly, as it is easy to overfill. Wipe away any excess that may squirt out the top, and don't worry, it'll get covered by the ganache.
For ganache, place chopped chocolate in a small, heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, slowly heat cream until just steamy and just barely simmering (do not boil). Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Add butter and stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spread generously onto filled cupcakes (while still soft, you can also dip tops of cupcakes into nonpareils or sprinkles). Chill 15-30 minutes until ganache is set.