Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
For the better part of the year, we’ve belonged to a community supported agriculture program in our area. It’s run by a local market that sources produce from multiple family farms in Utah and California, and we love it. Programs like this are a great opportunity to try produce you might not normally pick up (gai lan, anyone?), and everything is fresh, local, and organic.
We’re generally game to try whatever’s in the bag each week, but honestly, I really don’t like beets. We’ve received beets several times and each time I just sort of look at them sadly. They’re a lovely color and all, but really, I’m just not a fan.
This last time I was determined to make use of the beets, and turned to an idea that’s been brewing in my brain for awhile. At the bakery where I work, we use beets in our red velvet cupcakes to add moisture and (mostly) color, and I decided to try it. Because the sort of math involved in reducing our large-scale recipes into a more home-friendly version makes my brain hurt, I turned to Epicurious.
These cupcakes are wonderfully moist and a really pretty reddish-brown, with no food coloring! I like that. They do have a sort of subtle earthy flavor and I think next time I’d add more chocolate. But hands down, they’re the best way to eat beets that I know. And the whole process of boiling and pureeing beets really made me feel like Dwight, which was sort of fun.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 12 to 14 cupcakes
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 cups puréed cooked (boiled or steamed) red beets (about 3 medium-size beets)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners and lightly grease with cooking spray if desired.
In a mixing bowl, cream together oil and brown sugar. Add beets, melted chocolate chips, and vanilla, and mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet beet mixture, and stir until just combined.
Spoon into prepared liners, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of each cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
High-Altitude Notes: Bake at 400°F for 18 to 20 minutes.
Simplest Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes enough frosting for about 20 cupcakes
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, or as needed
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat to combine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add sugar until well blended and stiff enough to spread or pipe. Frost cupcakes as desired.