I have been fortunate enough to get a pretty good grasp on baking over the past few years. It’s a skill that surprises many, especially most members of my family. Going by others’ instructions and modifying where I felt comfortable has been the extent of my comfort level for the most part. Last week a light bulb went off in my head and I felt an urge (or something much stronger) to create my own recipe, but not just any old recipe. I felt that I could absolutely, without a doubt, make a healthy and delicious cupcake. After some googling and recipe comparing, I sat down and came up with my very first cupcake recipe.
The recipe creating wasn’t all that difficult. The beets were my problem. I didn’t really research how to cook them, and as it turns out, just throwing them in a dish and baking them for an hour doesn’t really do the trick. (Evidently water and foil help this process tremendously. Oops.) After I gave up on the baking, I chopped them up and threw them in my blender with some lemon juice. That only diced them and I needed a puree, so I put them on the stove with some water and let them simmer until they were mush. Next time I am checking the baby food isle for pureed beets. I feel like that should exist, though I’m not sure if many parents are brave enough to go at a baby with, what is essentially, a spoonful of all-natural red dye. Hats off to those who do.
Once I had the beets under control, or so I thought, I went to mixing. The batter looked great. Bright red, nice cake battery flavor, I thought I was right on track. 15 minutes later, I open the oven to see that my red velvet cupcakes are brown. Brown?!? Worse things could happen, I suppose, but clearly I was in need of a name change. The current title is “Chocolate Beet Cake with Neufchatel Cream Frosting”. Fancy, right? (I just really like saying Neufchatel.)
The result was pretty darn good, especially for a cupcake that has roughly 1/3 of the calories and sugar and 1/4 of the fat of a certain coffee chain’s Red Velvet cupcake. Not only are the nutrition stats good, the cupcakes were so moist! Nobody likes to choke down a dry cupcake, and that was really my biggest fear.
Oh beets, you red little devils.
Chocolate Beet Cake
Chocolate Beet Cake with Neufchatel Cream Frosting: (serves 12)
Ingredients: (for cake)
1 cup pureed beets
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 tbsp light sour cream
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp egg whites
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter flavor (no need to purchase if you don’t have, just add more vanilla. I have some and wanted to try it out.)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup pure cane sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Ingredients: (for frosting)
8 0z package of Neufchatel, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter flavor (again, not a must-have)
2 tbsp half and half
Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine beets, apple sauce, butter, sour cream, egg whites, vanilla, and butter flavor. Mix until combined. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients, one cup at a time, and mix until combined. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine Neufchatel, vanilla, butter flavor, and salt. Mix until creamy. Add confectioner’s sugar one tablespoon at a time and mix on high until smooth, then add half and half and mix until desired consistency is reached. Spread approximately one tablespoon on each cupcake.
Nutritional Info: (per cupcake)
150 cals, 7g fat, 15g carbs, 10g sugar, 1g fiber, 4g protein