Here it is, by popular request, the ultimate L’Oven specialty: chocolate beet cupcakes. Also known as “Just Beet It” cupcakes. These moist little babies were always a best-seller at local Farmers’ Markets and cafes, plus they are pretty much the base recipe for nearly all L’Oven cupcake creations, including golden beet (‘Natural Blonde’), parsnip (‘Snipits’), yam (‘Myammy Spice’), coffee (‘Wake the Fudge Up’) and even wine (‘Cocoa Merlot’) cupcakes.
The original chocolate cake recipe was passed down through our family, but contained significant amounts of white sugar, white flour and butter (or even margarine… ewwwww!) so we L’Oven-ified it to be slightly more nutritious – or at least somewhat less unhealthy. We subbed in pureed beets for some of the fat. And because of the natural sweetness of beets, we were able to decrease the amount of sugar, too! The crazy part of our L’Oven modification was that the cupcakes actually tasted BETTER. More moist, less intensely sweet – they were a hit!
My L’Oven bakery days are long gone, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to indulge in some decadent desserts from time to time. And if I’m going to indulge, these are my number one choice. Friends and customers may be disappointed to miss out on L’Oven treats and random deliveries of baked goods at potlucks, birthdays and girls’ nights, but life has changed and there are too many other baking and cooking experiments and edible crafts to make with the kiddos!
I’m not the greatest at following recipes to begin with – plus, with all my digestive issues and dietary trials, I’ve had the chance to experiment with a number of other substitutions and alternatives, like gluten-free, grain-free and vegan versions (see notes in recipe below)
- ½ cup beet puree (see Beet Puree post)
- ¼ cup oil of choice (e.g. grapeseed oil) or butter or ghee
- ¾ cup unrefined coconut sugar or organic cane sugar
- 2 eggs, or egg replacements (e.g. 1 Tbsp flax + 3 Tbsp water, allowed to soak)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour (wheat, spelt, a combination, or your favourite gluten-free mixture will work; if you choose almond flour, add an extra ½ cup)
- ⅓ cup quality cocoa
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder (I've also used just arrowroot starch)
- ½ cup milk alternative (I use almond or rice) + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (if using almond flour, use only ¼ cup of milk)
- Add first six (liquid ingredients) to a large bowl.
- Mix until well incorporated (so there are not big lumps of butter, if using).
- Add remaining ingredients - here, you may want to use an electric mixer, or just get an extra arm workout 😉 Again, try to mix till there are no lumps.
- Scoop one by one into cupcake pans, filling about ¾-full. You can grease the pans, or use paper cups or use re-usable silicon cups.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
- For mini cupcakes, bake only 9 minutes.
- For cake, you'll want to bake about 40 min, depending on the depth of pan (check for done-ness at about 30 min).
- Allow to cool.
- When cupcakes are cool to the touch, you can ice them, if desired (what is a cupcake without icing, anyway?!) Though, if you don't have ingredients or time for icing, these are great on their own or with a scoop of coconut ice cream....
- Cupcakes can be stored in an air-tight tupperware at room temperature or in the fridge (for a few days), or in the freezer (for up to a month). To defrost, simply remove from freezer and allow to thaw.
For icing, check out my post about natural food colouring. Or you can make chocolate avocado icing, or a creamy coconut oil ganache (both of which I’ll post about another day).
This post is officially dedicated to Brigitte, who said “enough with the salads, where are the cupcakes?” xo