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A Sweet Valentine’s Treat - Chocolate-Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

These healthy chocolate cupcakes get a soft, moist texture from their not-so-secret ingredient: beets. The beets act as a natural red food dye, plus they bump up the fiber. Use red beets to give the cream cheese frosting a vibrant pink hue.


    • 2 cups diced peeled beets (½-inch; about 2 medium)
    • ⅔ cup buttermilk
    • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1¾ cups packed confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (½-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.
  • Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add beets, cover and steam until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a blender. Add buttermilk and puree until smooth. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the beet puree. Pour the rest into a large bowl.
  • Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, oil, 1 cup confectioners' sugar and vanilla into the beet puree in the large bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  • To prepare frosting: Combine the remaining ¾ cup confectioners' sugar and cream cheese with the reserved beet puree in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Top each cooled cupcake with a generous 1 tablespoon frosting.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Store unfrosted cupcakes at room temperature for up to 1 day; refrigerate frosting for up to 1 day.
  • Equipment: Muffin tin with 12 (½-cup) cups; paper liners

*Gluten-free Variation: Swap a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend for the white whole-wheat flour and use gluten-free vanilla extract.

 *DIY Muffin Cups: Make your next batch of muffins or cupcakes the ultimate grab-and-go treat by lining your tin with muffin liners. No liners? No problem. Use 5-inch squares of parchment paper, coat each muffin cup with cooking spray, and push each square into the cups using a small can or bottle, pressing the paper up the sides. (It’s OK if some of the paper is sticking out over the rim.) Fill each cup as directed.

 *Nutritional Information:

Serving size: 1 cupcake; Per serving: 221 calories; 8 g fat(2 g sat); 3 g fiber; 

34 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 30 mcg folate; 25 mg cholesterol; 20 g sugars; 17 g added sugars; 136 IU vitamin A; 1 mg vitamin C; 52 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 264 mg sodium;

194 mg potassium


*Author: EatingWell Test Kitchen, http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/253010/chocolate-beet-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting/