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“Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes”

In Catherine's words: "Now and then, we love taking the kids by our favorite neighborhood cupcake store to enjoy a special treat. Of course their eyes are always drawn to the most colorful cupcakes in the display case. My kids may have no idea how they actually taste, but put something like a red velvet cupcake made with crimson food dye in front of them and their immediate response is, “That one.” These chocolate velvet cupcakes have a rich chocolate flavor, but they aren’t artificially red like cupcakes that use chemical food dyes. They and their icing get their bright reddish-pink color from a surprising, delicious, and 100% natural guest: roasted beets. You’d never know that though, since there’s no beet flavor in them. Just deep, rich chocolate! I offer two ingredient versions for the frosting here, one white and one a delightful beet-stained pink!"
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 14 Cupcakes


  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large beet roasted, cooled, peeled, and pureed (about ¾ cup)
  • see to Puree beets
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • ½ cups For White Frosting
  • one 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For Pink Frosting:
  • 1 8- ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 medium beet roasted, cooled, peeled, and pureed (about ½ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring to combine thoroughly as you go.
  • Pour about 1/3 cup batter into paper-lined muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool thoroughly, frost, and serve. The cupcakes will keep in a covered container on the counter for 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
  • To puree Beets: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Wrap the beets in foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove the beets from the foil and set aside until cool to the touch. Put your hand in a zip-top bag (to avoid staining your hand) and rub the skins from the beets. Puree the beets until smooth.