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Weelicious Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes

Red Velvet cupcakes have been all the rage for the past few years, but I can’t seem to get past the use of red food coloring – generally at least a tablespoon, and sometimes an entire bottle of it – in one recipe. I’ve often wondered if beets could take their place, adding color as well as nutrients and fiber, and leave it to Catherine McCord of the popular kid-food blog, Weelicious, to figure it out. Her brand-new cookbook, Weelicious: One Family. One Meal., launches on September 18th. I can’t wait to see it!

Chocolate Velvet Beet Cupcakes

Now and then, we love taking the kids by our favorite neighborhood cupcake store to enjoy a special treat. Of course their eyes are always drawn to the most colorful cupcakes in the display case. My kids may have no idea how they actually taste, but put something like a red velvet cupcake made with crimson food dye in front of them and their immediate response is, “That one.” These chocolate velvet cupcakes have a rich chocolate flavor, and while they aren’t as artificially red as cupcakes that use chemical food dyes, they and their icing gets their bright reddish-pink color from a surprising, delicious, and 100% natural guest: roasted beets. And the best part is that you’d never know, since there’s no beet flavor in them. Just deep, rich chocolate!

I offer two ingredient versions for the frosting, one white and one a delightful beet-stained pink! Excerpted from Weelicious: One Family. One Meal. by Catherine McCord.

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large beet, roasted, cooled, peeled, and pureed (about ¾ cup)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt into a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring to combine thoroughly as you go.

5. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into paper-lined muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool thoroughly, frost, and serve. The cupcakes will keep in a covered container on the counter for 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Makes 14 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

For white frosting:
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For pink frosting:
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 medium beet, roasted, cooled, peeled, and pureed (about ½ cup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place all the ingredients in a mixer and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy.

2. Spread the frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

As both a cookbook and an inspirational feeding guide, Catherine cleverly takes readers on her personal journey of providing proper nutrition, and delicious dishes to her family, which includes her husband and two young children, Kenya and Chloe, all while training readers how to do the same. Acknowledging that mealtimes can be stressful for parents, Weelicious: One Family. One Meal. teaches readers the valuable lessons of engaging children in mealtime, food shopping as a family, and negotiating food fights all lessons that if taught from a young age will instill proper eating habits and behavior for years to come.

Weelicious recipes appeal to a range of ages from infants starting on solid foods to school-age kids and adults. With a new recipe or tip debuting daily and a how-to cooking video featuring Catherine posted every Tuesday, Weelicious is a wealth of information for parents, and a visual delight for all foodies. Weelicious: One Family. One Meal. is a continuation of that and will be great a resource for anyone looking to put a healthy, hearty meal on the table.

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