Chocolate Beet Cupcakes (vegan)

Beets. Those little red devils that taste of earth and stain your hands. Everyone says you either love them or hate them. But, everyone is wrong. I’m decidedly somewhere in between. Let’s say that I may be learning to like them. I certainly can’t say I hate them anymore. But, I’m not yet in the love camp, either. So, when my gardening neighbor arrived at my door with a whole basket of freshly dug beets I knew I had to get creative. Happily, I had a party to bake for this weekend, and cupcakes are always a hit at a party.

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Coconut Ganache

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Coconut Ganache

I knew I’d heard of chocolate beet cake before, but I’d definitely never made it. I needed a little help. Google to the rescue! Some interesting options:

But, my favorite option was the “Can’t Be Beet Cake” at Fat Free Vegan. Maybe it was the silly name. Maybe it was the fact that it looked relatively simple to convert to gluten-free. Or maybe it was that I knew I’d modify it enough to consider it kind of “my” recipe. But, this is the one I choose as a starting point. And, I think it worked fairly well as inspiration. I made it gluten-free, added back in some fat, and got rid of the white sugar. The party goer’s chowed and no one could believe there were beets in there. Oh and no gluten. And no dairy. And no eggs….

Vegan Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups sorghum flour
1/4 cup + 1 T. arrow root starch
1 1/4 t. xanthan gum
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa

3 small, 2 medium, or 1 large beet, boiled until soft and pureed in a food processor
Unsweetened apple sauce
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 cup palm sugar
1/4 cup agave

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
  3. Place pureed beets in a 2 cup measure. Add enough applesauce to fill the measuring cup to 1 1/2 cups. Pour into a large bowl.
  4. Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the large bowl. Whisk well.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until mixture is smooth. It will be thick.
  6. Spoon into 12-14 muffin cups and smooth tops.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely and frost with Chocolate Coconut Ganache

Chocolate Coconut Ganache

1 cup full fat coconut milk or coconut cream (not the sweetened variety – just the higher fat percentage variety)
8 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate (check label for dairy)

  1. Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk until simmering.
  3. Pour hot coconut milk over chopped chocolate. Allow to stand, undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir until completely smooth. At this point you will have a shiny pourable ganache. You can use as is or…
  5. Whip with electric beaters until thick and spreadable.


Can I get away with calling these Slightly Indulgent? I mean they do have beets, right? That’s healthy. And, they’re vegan. That’s healthy. Right?

You can check out a whole bunch of other from-scratch recipes over at the Hearth and Soul blog hop, too.

Looking for a great group of gluten-free recipes? Head on over to Gluten Free Wednesdays at the Gluten Free Homemaker.

This entry was posted in chocolate, desserts, vegan. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Chocolate Beet Cupcakes (vegan)

  1. Maggie says:

    Oh yummy! One can never have enough cupcake recipes. Or cupcakes for that matter. These look amazing and I love the sounds of the ganache. Both recipes fit into our lifestyle! So do the beats replace the eggs? So many options for us egg-free folk!

    • mommybowl says:

      Super speedy commenting, Maggie! The beets and applesauce work together to replace the eggs. They both add moisture and “stickiness” that the eggs would normally add. There’s an every so slight earthy quality to the flavor, but seriously, everyone was shocked when I told them they had eaten beets.

  2. Amber Shea @Almost Vegan says:

    I *think* I hate beets…but until trying them in cake form, I guess I can’t be sure :]

    • mommybowl says:

      I *thought* I hated them, too – until a chef put them in this great concoction that I ate at Disney this summer. And then I had to admit that they actually added a lot of interest. And, truth be told, I ate them roasted with potatoes and fennel and onions and garlic on Sunday. I *thought* I hated fennel, too. But, apparently, I was wrong. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. 🙂

  3. Lisa says:

    I’d never believe there were beets in this cake. They look luscious, especially the frosting on top.

  4. Oh my-lanta! (hahahaha) You are FABULOUS! These look bloody amazing! Beautiful photos too.

    ~Aubree Cherie

    • mommybowl says:

      Thank you! It’s nice to hear that you like the photos. Foodgawker hates them. Someday I’ll figure out what the heck they want in a food photo. 😀

  5. Hi Deanna and thanks so much for sharing this lovely creative recipe with us on the hearth and soul hop this week. I got your message and I did update the linky, thanks for letting me know. I am in the LOVE beets category but frankly have never BAKED with beets! Gonna have to try these-they aren’t just vegan though, they are gluten free too right?–what a feat! 🙂 Alex@amoderatelife

    • Deanna says:

      Hi Alex – yep, gluten-free and vegan. That’s sort of been my kick lately. Gluten-free is required for me. I’m not a strict vegan, but I’m dairy-free and tending more and more towards vegan as well. It can be challenging – 2 lackluster cookie attempts yesterday would attest to that. But, it’s also a fun challenge!

  6. I’m a sucker for a silly name, too! But I think I’d try these just to see what it’s like to eat chocolate with beets. Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop. I’m always so happy to see gf entries into the hop 🙂

    • mommybowl says:

      I’m happy to add entries to the hop because they introduce me to new bloggers like you! What an interesting blog you have. I’ve added you to my reader. 🙂

  7. Christy says:

    I just recently became a beet liker (sometimes lover just depends) these cupcakes sound so rich and decadent – I make ganache often with coconut milk but have never whipped it – so am going to do that next time. Thanks for sharing this with the hearth and soul hop!

    • Deanna says:

      Thanks Christy! The nice thing about them is that they taste decadent, but really aren’t over the top sweet. Okay, the ganache is pretty darn decadent…. 🙂

  8. Ricki says:

    They look amazing! I suppose “slightly LESS indulgent” suits them better, because boy do they look decadent! I have made Susan’s beet cake (before I was GF) and it’s great. And your ganache looks to die for.

  9. Thanks for the ganache tip. I love it, and I bet the cupcakes were a huge hit. They looked beautiful! 🙂

  10. girlichef says:

    Oh! They look amazing…wish I could reach in and grab one! I’ve always “meant” to bake a chocolate beet cake and you’ve inspired me to think about it again. Lovely. Thank you for sharing this with the hearth and soul hop this week 😀

  11. Linda says:

    I’m with you on beets–somewhere in between. Combining them with chocolate sure sounds like a great idea. I’ve seen other chocolate beet recipes, but have never tried one myself. Now it will have to wait till next summer when I get beets in my CSA box. Hopefully I will remember to come back and try your cupcakes. They look beautiful!

  12. Hi Deanna!! What a fab recipe! I love beets…I steam them, peel them, and gobble them up. I’ll have to give this a whirl sometime….and seriously – don’t you just love ganache? 🙂 Thanks for linking up to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday – and I totally agree – the beets make these healthier. 🙂 Hugs.

  13. Thank you, a resounding yesssssss I need some way to use beets. And they do taste like earth, exactly; more specifically: dirt! I don’t exactly haaaaate them, but I am close. However, I will try this in a heartbeat. Also, thanks for submitting to Gluten Free Feed 🙂 Keep them coming! 🙂

  14. Pingback: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, 10/12/10 : Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free

    • Deanna says:

      Ooo – I’d not seen that contest before. Interesting! I think I would spend a little time tweaking for SharfenBerger products, but I think it could be done, for sure!

  15. Pingback: Scared Silly Sprout Slaw | The Mommy Bowl

  16. Lexie says:

    Just checkin’ in … you’ve got some fantastic recipes up. You try my brownies and I will try these cupcakes! These cupcakes have such a beautiful rise, no sunken centers! A gluten-free/egg-free baker’s dream 🙂

    • Deanna says:

      Well….. Frosting hides a multitude of sins. 🙂 Although, they didn’t sink, really – just didn’t really dome quite as much as I would like. But, I have sort of given up on that since the only way to get that seems to be to use copious amounts of starch, which I’d prefer not to do.

  17. Caroline Anne says:

    Question, how much fat is in coconut milk? I am trying to find a recipe to make for a neighbor for xmas. He has a serious heart condition that pretty much crosses out most things that make things delicious (fat, salt, sugar). These look like they would fit what I am looking for except the coconut milk, are there any alternatives or is coconut milk a lower calorie option to milk?


    • Deanna says:

      Coconut milk is fairly high in fat. There are low fat versions, but I’m not sure if they’d work or not. You could do a simple powdered sugar + almond milk glaze instead of the ganache, though.

  18. i like this idea. i will have to give this a try. any kind of cupcake is a hit in my house, so I am sure these will be a huge success too!!

  19. Mer says:

    Hi there! Just came across this recipe, and cannot wait to try it… Any chance a different type of flour would work instead of sorghum? Coconut, tapioca, brown rice…? It seems to be the only one I don’t have stocked in my pantry! And would potato starch work in place of arrow root starch? Thanks 🙂

    • Deanna says:

      I’d swap millet or brown rice for the sorghum. Do not swap coconut or tapioca – it won’t work. Potato starch should be okay instead of arrow root, but it tends to absorb more. So, if you have tapioca, that’s a better sub for arrowroot.


  20. Heidi says:

    Hi, wanted to try this recipe! Do you have a measurement of how much beet purée? Thank you!

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