Healthy Recipe: Chocolate-Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate-Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe by Charity Ferreira | Photo by Erin Kunkel

Don’t be scared of the beets in these moist, chocolaty cupcakes! The root veggies add natural sweetness, enhancing the texture and flavor of the cake. Plus, you get a boost of fiber and antioxidants. The results are a dark, dramatic, and outrageously delicious treat.

To make the beet puree, trim and scrub a bunch of baby beets. Wrap in foil and bake in a 400°F (200°C) oven until beets can be pierced easily with a knife, 45 minutes to one hour. Unwrap and cool; gently peel with a paring knife and purée in a food processor until smooth. Some grocery stores also sell packages of pre-cooked beets, which makes it easy.


1¾ cups (9 oz/280 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (2½ oz/75 g) Dutch process or “extra dark” cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups (12 oz/375 g) granulated sugar
¾ cup (6 oz/185 g) beet puree (see note above)
¾ cup (6 fl oz/180 ml) canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) hot water

For the cream cheese frosting:
½ cup (2 oz/60 g) powdered sugar
¼ cup (¾ oz/20 g) Dutch process or “extra dark” cocoa powder
8 oz (250 g) Neufchâtel cream cheese, softened


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, beet puree, oil, and vanilla. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the hot water, then the remaining flour mixture. Whisk just until smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, remove the cupcakes from the pan, and cool completely on a rack.

To make the cream cheese frosting, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes and serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 day.

Makes 18 cupcakes


Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories 251
Protein 4 g
Total fat 12 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Carbs 34 g
Fiber 2 g
Total sugars 21 g
Added sugars 19 g
Sodium 196 mg

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