Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Sweet perfection! These Red Velvet cupcakes are made healthier by kicking out the artificial red dye and instead using nutritious red beets!


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Serves: 12 person(s) Change

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Extra Time: 8 hrs
(optional, for frosting refrigeration)

Yield: 12 x cupcakes and 2/3 cup frosting

Heart-Friendly Recipe Diabetes-Friendly Recipe Low-Carb Recipe


  • 1 cup canned beets, no sugar added, drained *
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat buttermilk, divided
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsweetened natural cocoa, plus 1-2 Tbsp extra for decorating
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt, preferably kosher
  • 1/3 cup canola oil, chilled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 2/3 cup confectioners sugar (for frosting)
  • 4 Tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese (for frosting)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract (for frosting)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Drop paper cupcake liners into cavities of a 12-cavity regular sized muffin pan.

CUPCAKES: Working a knife up and down in a measuring cup, coarsely chop beets. Place beets in blender, add 1/4 cup buttermilk and whirl until beets are finely chopped. Add remaining buttermilk, vinegar and vanilla and whirl to a puree, making sure no lumps of beet remain. Set beet mixture aside.

In small bowl, combine flour, 6 tablespoons of cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

In medium bowl, combine cold oil and sugar. With hand mixer on medium speed, mix until sugar is evenly moistened. Add cold egg and beat at high speed until mixture resembles mayonnaise and sugar is almost completely dissolved, about 90 seconds. Add beet mixture and beat until combined.

Sift dry ingredients (the flour-cocoa mixture) into bowl of wet ingredients (the sugar-egg mixture). Mix, either on low speed or by hand until dry and wet ingredients are combined. Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full.

Bake cupcakes in preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, or until tops feel springy and when one cupcake is lifted out, bottom also feels springy. Immediately transfer cupcakes to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

Cupcakes are best when stored overnight at room temperature in covered container.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: In small bowl, work sugar and cream cheese together with wooden spoon or hand mixer until combined. Mix in vanilla.

(This frosting is best when refrigerated 8 hours to overnight, loosely covered, before using. Frosting keeps in refrigerator for 5 days. If desired, let cupcakes sit at room temperature to let frosting set, about 2 hours. The frosted cupcakes can sit at room temperature for up to 12 hours.)

When ready, frost the cupcakes, using about 1 tablespoon of frosting for each. Place remaining cocoa in a strainer and sprinkle it over frosted cupcakes. Makes: a generous 2/3 cup.


* Use either sliced or whole beets. An 8-1/4 oz can yields slightly more than 1 cup. Look to be sure there is no sugar added and make sure not to grab pickled beets.

Thanks to American Institute of Cancer Research -

Nutritional Info (per serving)

CALORIES 196 cals
Kilojoules 818 kJ
Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 21 mg
Sodium 230 mg
Carbohydrates 30.2 g
Fiber 1.7 g
Total Sugars 20.7 g
Protein 3.1 g
Calcium 47.0 mg
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