Red Velvet Beetroot Cupcakes

Sunny Blevins
by Sunny Blevins
12 cupcakes
45 min

Tangy with a hint of cocoa with an incredibly tender and moist crumb. Paired with cream cheese frosting, red velvet cake is one of my favourite to bake and eat. I first tasted it in university when my American room mate made it one day. It was like nothing I've tasted before. It was 2011 of course and soon I saw it popping up everywhere in every kind of treats from cookies to... gum?

The typical red velvet cake is full of sugar and fat. Whilst there is nothing wrong with indulging every now and then (after all it is a celebration cake) I am a firm believer in desserts that pack in nutrition as well as the taste, so i've been tweaking with a recipe that is lower in sugar and replaces the saturated fats with better fats. It even have the sneaky vegetable too!

The key to the tender crumb is the defining ingredients in any red velvet cake - baking soda and acid (typically buttermilk and vinegar). In this case though I have replaced the buttermilk with greek yogurt to make it a little bit more nutritious. The beetroot gives some red colouring so I don't have to use a ton of food dye for that deep red colour (you can totally skip the red food dye if you don't care about the looks)

These cupcakes are then frosted with creamy white chocolate cream cheese frosting. Instead of butter, I used olive oil buttery spread which has less saturated fat than butter. I have to admit this does not make the easiest frosting to work with since it is so soft however i think the taste and nutritional content more than makes up for it. However softened butter will work just as well in this recipe.

This frosting is like a combination of ermine frosting and cream cheese frosting as i find the flour pudding mixture in ermine frosting stabilises the frosting without tons of icing sugar.

I have also replaced most of the sugar with monk fruit extract which is my preferred sugar substitute since it does not have an unpleasant after taste (like stevia) however you can totally use sugar if you want.

So this is totally not a traditional red velvet cake, however it is still delicious, if you do try it please let me know :)

Red Velvet Beetroot Cupcakes
Recipe details
  • 12  cupcakes
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 25 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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  • 200 grams or 1 cup + 1/4 cup Self Raising Flour (Self Raising Cake flour works even better, if you have it)
  • 100 grams or 1/2 cup caster sugar (or replace half the sugar with monk fruit extract or stevia)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100 g or 3.5 Ounce drained canned beetroot or peeled and steamed beetroot (as long as it's tender)
  • 250 g or 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 100 ml or 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • up to 60 ml or 1/4 cup milk or water
  • 5 ml or 1 tsp vinegar
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 40 grams or 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 100 ml or 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp milk or water
  • 50 grams or 1/4 cup caster sugar (or 1:1 sweetener of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150 grams or 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp Olive Oil Spread (we have Olive Grove in Australia but in the US i think it's Earth Balance) OR you can use softened butter
  • 60 grams or 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 50 grams or 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
Line and grease a 12 hole muffin pan. Preheat oven to 180 degree C or 355 degree F
Sift self raising flour, sugar or sweetener, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Set aside, this is your dry ingredients.
Blend beetroot with yogurt using an immersion blender or a blender.
Strain so you don't get chunks of beetroot.
Add oil into the beetroot/yogurt mixture, this is your wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon or a spatula, mix until just combined with no dry flour visible
Add milk/water 2 tbsp at a time until the batter has a thick but pourable (albeit slowly) consistency, be careful not to add too much water
Fill each muffin hole up to 2/3 of the way and bake for 20-25 minutes until inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
Combine flour, milk, sugar or sweetener and salt in a sauce pan and mix thoroughly
Over low to medium heat, keep stirring the mixture until it has thicken to pudding like consistency. Cool completely before use. Place a cling wrap on the top to prevent the forming of skin.
If using olive oil spread, you can use it straight from the fridge, start whipping it while scooping the flour pudding into the bowl 1 tbsp at a time, keep whipping until the mixture has thoroughly incorporated and is lighter in colour. If using butter, it needs to be at room temperature before you start whipping.
Add cream cheese into the mixture, if using olive oil spread, you don't have to wait until the cream cheese is at room temperature, just slightly softened. If using butter, you do.
Melt the white chocolate chips and add it to the mixture as well, keep whipping until thoroughly incorporated.
Chill the frosting in the fridge for half an hour or so before frosting the cupcakes.
This frosting is really soft, so I'd recommend frosting just before you serve.
  • once you combine the dry and wet ingredients, you have to bake right away, if not it won't be fluffy.