This was the first time ever that I didn’t lick the spoon after baking. I wasn’t even tempted. I’d expected the beetroot in the recipe to be purely for moisture, like carrot and courgette when used in cakes. But no, the batter smelled and tasted of beetroot, which is really not what I want in a treat. Fortunately, twenty minutes in the oven did its magic and the cakes turned out just as I’d hoped – moist and gently flavoured with chocolate and cinnamon rather than vegetables. I was a bit heavy-handed with the cream cheese icing, as I feared it would be necessary to overpower the beetroot flavour – you don’t need to use quite so much as I did in the picture below!
Beetroot cakes have been on my to-do list for a while, and I’d planned them for Halloween because (a) the red colour is appropriate, and (b) beetroot in a cake is a fairly scary prospect. I’ll definitely make them again – consider that fear conquered!
Chocolate & Beetroot Cupcakes
Makes about 16, from Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days
200g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
250g caster sugar
300g peeled and cooked beetroot
200ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
Cream Cheese Icing: 600g icing sugar, 100g softened butter, 250g full fat cream cheese
1. Preheat oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together into a large bowl.
3. Stir in the sugar.
4. Blitz the beetroot in a food processor. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing until liquid and becoming smoother.
5. Mix the oil and vanilla essence together. With the motor running, slowly pour them in until well combined.
6. Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ones, make sure everything is thoroughly incorporated.
7. Pour the batter into the cases, filling them two thirds full. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
8. Stand the cakes in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
9. Whip up some icing: beat together the butter and icing sugar with an electric whisk. Add the cream cheese, turn up the whisk and mix until smooth and glossy. Ice the cooled cakes and top with a Halloween treat, if you like.