Sunday, September 11, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes Can't Be BEET!

Hi, Everyone!

It’s so great to be back in the kitchen! Thanks for inviting me, ladies, and thanks for all of the wonderful recipes you share every day. You’re keeping my family safe from dying of culinary boredom and a diet consisting solely of cupcakes.

My next cupcake caper, DEATH BY THE DOZEN, comes out in October, so when Ellery invited me to blog, I knew it had to be one of the recipes from that book. The trouble was – which one? You see, this story finds our intrepid, over-sugared heroines Mel and Angie entered in the challenge to the chefs, pastry division, at the Scottsdale Food Festival. Their bakery rival Olivia Puckett joins the fray and the tensions run high as they have to bake delicious desserts from mystery ingredients such as beets, beer and chili peppers. Mel and Angie are up to the task until Mel’s mentor, Vic Mazzotta, who is judging the competition, is found murdered. Now Mel and Angie have to whip up amazing desserts and solve a murder before the killer makes sure they are out of the competition – for good.

So, you can see, I had several unorthodox recipes to choose from. My personal favorite is the red velvet cupcake made with beets, so that is the one I’m going to share with you today. For you non beet lovers, take heart. My Hub hates beets and he loved these cupcakes. And moms, it’s one more sneaky way to get those veggies in!

Red Velvet Cupcakes (using beets): A red velvet cupcake made with beet puree and topped cream cheese frosting and an edible flower (optional).

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup beet puree
1/3 cup canola oil

1 egg, room temperature

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put 12 cupcake liners in muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, add in the oil, lemon juice, vanilla and egg to the pureed beets. Pour the beet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix just enough to combine. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is smooth. Put frosting in a pastry bag and pipe onto cupcakes in thick swirls, using an open tip. Decorate with an edible flower, such as a nasturtium.


Jenn McKinlay

New York Times Bestselling Author of the Cupcake Bakery mysteries and the

Library Lover’s mysteries!


  1. Great to see you back in our Kitchen, Jenn. Beets in cupcakes sounds like an ingeniously sleuthy way to get veggies into kids--and your new mystery sounds delicious, too. Congrats on the new release!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse

  2. Thanks for this recipe. I can't wait to try it. I am always looking for different ways to get my family to eat their veggies (especially ones they normally would never touch).

    I am also looking forward to the newest edition to the series. I already have it pre-ordered!

  3. I have definitely going to use this recipe to sneak some veggies in for my son. He sees them and runs. Can't wait for the next cupcake book, Jenn!

  4. Jenn, nice to have you back. Beets. What a sneaky thing to do. I hate beets too, like your hubby, but I might have to try these so that I can pass the "secret" along to pals with younger kids. My 25 year old is a great eater. He loved to cook as a child. :)


  5. It's so nice to have you back, Jenn! Congratulations on your upcoming release. These cupcakes look great!

    ~ Krista

  6. Great to "see" you all! Thanks for having me blog. It's been such an emotional day, watching the the 9/11 tributes. I can't believe it was ten years ago when the sadness still feels so fresh. Time to go have a cupcake!

  7. Yum! I never thought of using beets instead of the coloring. What a wonderful idea, I will just have to remember not to use the pickled LOL Thank you for sharing today, this will definitely go in the recipe box.

  8. Nice to see you back, Jenn. Those cupcakes look great!

    My husband hates beets too, so I'll also be joining the sneak-a-veggie brigade with this recipe.

    Congrats on your upcoming book!

  9. Great to have you here again, Jenn. What an excellent way to sneak in the veggies. I can't wait for the new book!

  10. I love Red Velvet cake, but don't like beets at all, so I'm trying to wrap my head around this one! This recipe sounds so out there to me that I probably won't be able to keep myself from trying it!

  11. I love to sneak more veggies into my kids! This sounds like the perfect way to do it. Thanks, Jenn!