Today is the reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club that I belong to. Each month we are assigned someone’s blog to cook/bake from. I have the additional challenge of finding something chocolate because reveal day always lands on a Monday. There is no way I would let you guys miss a Chocolate Monday!
This month I was assigned a very interesting blog from an English gal named Jayasri Ravi. Jayasri is a member of the UK Food Bloggers Association. Her blog, Samayal Arai, is a wonderful compilation of her recipes, mostly vegetarian and some vegan, with lots of traditional Indian offerings. This was inspiring for me because you all know how much I love butter, eggs, and cream in my baking. But I relish a challenge and found something fun to try.
I’ve written before about Red Velvet cupcakes. They aren’t in my top ten (I prefer a stronger chocolate flavor) but they are my brother-in-law’s hands down favorite. A southern classic, these brightly colored treats have recently become popular again, reemerging from relative obscurity. Today’s cooks use a lot of food coloring to create an almost fluorescent red, but they were originally colored with beet juice.
What interested me about this recipe was the use of pureed beets in place of the food coloring. I am always looking for ways to reduce the use of processed ingredients in my cooking, preferring to stay as close to farm-to-table as possible. I strongly believe that some of reasons for the astronomical increase in illnesses in this country can be directly linked to our diets.
The beets were the most gorgeous deep pink, not the red I expected. If you use fresh beets and roast them before pureeing, they will be redder. The cupcakes came out a nice color, but not the red you’re going to get from food coloring. Also, because there aren’t any eggs in the batter, they won’t rise as high. Expect them to just barely rise above the edges of the cupcake liners.
Even though the traditional frosting for Red Velvet cakes is cream cheese, and Jayasri offered a delicious mascarpone frosting recipe, I wanted even more chocolate to make sure you have enough for Chocolate Monday! And just to make sure, I sprinkled the tops with chocolate jimmies. I love the contrast of color and texture. This chocolate frosting is totally decadent and offsets any health benefits from the cupcakes, LOL.
I still prefer regular cupcakes, but these were an interesting change of pace. If you are hosting people who are strict vegetarians or vegans, this will be a terrific dessert. If vegan cupcakes aren’t your cup of tea and you want a more traditional Red Velvet recipe, you can see my earlier post. Or if you want an excellent chocolate cupcake recipe, go here.
Please visit Jayasri’s blog – I guarantee you will enjoy her recipes! And if you want to join in the fun of the Secret Recipe Club, you are welcome. Created and run by the amazing Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’, each month we are “assigned” a participating food blog to make a recipe from. It’s a secret so don’t tell them you are making something from their blog! Choose any recipe from the blog you are assigned, make or bake it, and blog about it on the date specified. You will receive a new secret blog each month. You must have at least 60 recipe posts to participate.
I had fun trying something totally new and different and hope you will too. Enjoy this unusual Chocolate Monday recipe and have a terrific week!
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup natural cocoa powder (do not use Dutched cocoa)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup pureed canned beets packed in water; (about half of a 15 oz can)
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)
- Chocolate Jimmies, for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Set aside.
- In a blender or food processor pour the canned beets with their water. Be careful because the juice can stain your hands and clothing. Tightly press the top on the blender. Turn it on and let it run for at least 2 minutes and up to 4 minutes depending on the strength of the motor. You want a perfectly smooth puree. Add the oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pulse until blended.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the beet mixture into the center. Using a large whisk, stir together until smooth. Do not over mix.
- Pour evenly into cupcake liners. Each will be about 2/3 full. Bake about 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top feels firm to the touch. Because there are no eggs in the batter, they will not rise much, but should have slightly rounded tops.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely before covering with frosting.
- Yield: 12 cupcakes
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup strong coffee, espresso, or water
- In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl), melt the chocolate. When almost completely melted, turn off the heat. Stir occasionally until thoroughly melted.
- Meanwhile, in the large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, stopping the mixer occasionally and scraping down the sides of the bowl and under the beaters as necessary with a rubber spatula. Start on slow speed and, when combined, turn up to high speed.
- In a small saucepan, over low heat, dissolve the cocoa in the coffee, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat, scrape the melted chocolate into the saucepan and stir to combine thoroughly. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour this into the sugar-butter mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and under the beaters as needed. Beat until smooth and shiny. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside until of spreading consistency. Use as needed.
- Can be made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate, covered, until needed. If you like a fluffier frosting, use the whisk attachment on the mixer and beat until light. For a beautiful presentation, use a piping bag and star tip to apply to the top of each cupcake.
- Yield: about 2-1/4 cups; enough to frost one 8 or 9-inch layer cake