With this months Kosher Connection link-up being root vegetables, I knew right away that I would be using beets! I really hated beets growing up but I’ve learned to love them as an adult. Beets are a great source of vitamin C, folic acid and potassium and they have a wonderful sweet and earthy flavor. You can use the stems in a salad, like any other dark leafy vegetable, and the bulbs come in so many beautiful colors; red, yellow, orange, candy cane (red and white rings) and more! In the past, I’ve made pasta and hummus with roasted beets and beet juice so I thought I would try something sweet this time around…with mixed reviews. I love the lightness of the cupcake, the sweetness of the frosting and the crunchiness of the beet chip. But I’m not sure I love all three together! So be warned if you choose to make this recipe that while I love all three recipes on their own, the combination of the cupcakes, frosting and chip might not be for everyone. So go forth with caution but have fun experimenting in the kitchen!
Apple Beet Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes
1 medium red beet, roasted (wrap in foil, roast at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and peel)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted margarine, room temperature
1 Granny Smith apple
Caramel Beet Frosting
6 oz. caramel (use this homemade recipe and leave out the peanut butter)
1 cup unsalted margarine, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup beet juice (can use water from candied beets chips- recipe below)
Candied Beet Chips
1 medium red beet
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
I began with the candied beet chips, which were really easy but took the longest amount of time to make. I peeled the beet and sliced very thin using a mandolin. You could use a regular knife for this but the mandolin will give you thinner and more consistent slices.
I brought the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar was dissolved, then added the beets. I reduced the heat and simmered until the beets were slightly translucent, around 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, I transferred the beets to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and baked at 250 degrees F until slightly firm, which took around 1 hour. I transferred the candied beets to a cooling rack to harden even more. I saved the beautiful red sugar-water to color the frosting. You can store these beets in an airtight container for up to 2 days before they start getting soft.
While the beets were drying in the oven, I moved on to the cupcakes! Instead of roasting my own beets, I actually purchased these beautiful ‘ready to eat’ roasted beets from Fairway Market! I’ve been trying to figure out how to use them and this was the perfect time.
I used 3 of the small roasted beets and kept the last one for myself to snack on! Wearing gloves so my hands wouldn’t turn pink, I sliced the beets and placed them in my food processor with the eggs and vanilla extract. I blended until smooth.
I whisked together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt then added to my stand mixer and beat in the margarine with the paddle attachment.
I added the beet mixture to the margarine mixture then placed the Granny Smith apple in the food processor and finely chopped. I added the chopped apple to the stand mixer and combined all of the ingredients. The batter will be very thick but don’t worry, the cupcake will still be light and fluffy! If you don’t like the texture of the apple pieces, just leave it out all together and go with a beet cupcake instead. I filled the cupcake liners 3/4 full and baked at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
While the cupcakes were cooling and the candied beets were hardening on the cooling rack, I made the super-sweet frosting. This is just so very simple. I like to call it “cheaters buttercream.” I placed the margarine in the stand mixer and creamed together until lightly colored. I added the cooled caramel and combined.
I added the powdered sugar and beet juice and whipped together until I reached the perfect frosting consistency. Be warned- the powdered sugar makes this frosting very sweet!
I placed an icing bag in a tall cup to steady it, then placed the frosting inside of the bag with a spatula. Since I wanted this frosting to be nice and smooth on the cupcake, I didn’t use a frosting tip. I just relied on the shape of the icing bag tip. You can frost your cupcakes however you want!
I topped the cupcake with a candied beet chip and devoured! The cupcake had a mild beet flavor and a fluffy texture that I always look for in a really good cupcake. The frosting had a beautiful silky texture and a lot of sweetness from the powdered sugar and caramel. I’m not really sure if I loved the sweet frosting with the earthy cupcake, but you can be the judge of that! And what can be wrong with a candied beet chip?!? My son won’t stop eating them.