Are you getting ready for game day or not so much? I don’t watch sports and, Rob doesn’t either. Save when the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl last year. Now that, we had to watch. Otherwise, no. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like some of the snackin that goes along with it.
What about Valentine’s day. Do you love or loathe it? I’m somewhat on the fence, depending on the year. I’m always hopeful, but…
Things don’t usually work out how I have them all worked up in my mind. Ya know? And I expect this. I’ve come to accept it and even laugh about it. I mean, I don’t want diamonds or roses.
Being whisked to a far away exotic local or a ride in a hele to a beautiful place with a romantic picnic waiting, wine and really good food? Now you’re talkin. Are you picturing The Bachelor, here? Okay, minus all the drama.
I like the idea of Valentine’s day and the idyllic romance surrounding it. Rob and I don’t celebrate it per se. After all, going out is usually a crowded mess because SOMEone forgot to make reservations (ahem) and even still if reservations were made, it’s a crowded mess. We celebrate love in the little everyday things throughout the year. For Rob, it’s things like putting the toilet seat down, or moving his piles of stuff to a single pile of stuff. Yeah, the little things.
These Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Ganache were an early treat for us and the neighbors. But really, y’all, I’ve been working on them since last Valentine’s day off and on for a total of four times. Well, four times on the vegan cake.
They started as a basic egg, butter, flour, milk and beet cake. And they were really good after some tweaking. But then I wanted to try and make them vegan. I’ve been making vegan cupcakes for a long time, but never with beets. This changed a few things.
Typically, red velvet cupcakes have buttermilk or sour cream in them, and of course these are vegan, so no sour cream or buttermilk. Instead I opted for cashew milk and apple cider vinegar (ie vegan buttermilk), but then ended up omitting the vinegar later because…
The first and second time I attempted these, they were flat, heavy and too brownish post baking. Too brown to be called red velvet. After some reformulating and more tweaking I am quite happy with the results.
Basically what I did was omit the vinegar, baking soda, banana (ie egg replacer), and increased the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Baking can be finicky.
These aren’t the traditional Red Velvet cupcakes you’ll see on Martha Stewart or The Food Network, and they aren’t the brightest true red. But I like the fact, especially, that they are made with whole ingredients, less sugar, and beets that I picked up from the Farm.
The Whipped Chocolate Ganache is so easy to make and a dream to eat. Full fat coconut milk and vanilla is scalded, poured over a high quality dark chocolate, stirred, then chilled. Just when you’re pulling the cupcakes out of the oven, the ganache is ready to whip, and chill again until the cupcakes cool. Then you’re ready for the fun part. Icing and decorating.
I prefer a balanced approach when it comes to icing. But this is the beauty of cupcakes. You can pile the icing high, or take it nice and low, like I did here with a simple rosette. The recipe makes enough for both options, so long as you don’t get too carried away. Leftover ganache makes a fabulous treat too.
There are so many options for decorating cupcakes from sprinkles, pics, a dusting of powder sugar, seasonal berries or even cocoa nibs. Top with whatever you like by giving them your own unique touch. Above all, have fun.
Some tools I keep on hand that makes cupcake making and decorating a snap (these are affiliate links):
I’d love to hear your thoughts on game day, or Valentine’s. Are you baking or making game day treats this weekend or both?
- 1 1/4 C (192g) High Quality Vegan Dark Chocolate, 72% -74%, rough chopped into 1/2" pieces or smaller (the smaller the better - see note on vegan chocolate)*
- 1 C (245g) Full Fat Coconut Milk (the canned variety), whisked to incorporate the fat and liquid
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/4 C (200g) Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tbs Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Dutch Processed
- 1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 C (50g) Coconut Oil, unrefined and cold pressed, melted, slightly warm to the touch
- 3/4 C (176g) Organic Cane Sugar
- 1/2 C (128g) Roasted Beets, minced or grated** - see note
- 1/2 C (120g) Nut Milk, I use Cashew Milk
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- Place the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. In a small sauce pot add the coconut milk, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk to break up any clumps of fat. Heat the milk mixture on medium high heat until it scalds (tip: watch for bubbles to form around the outer edge of milk this is 180F or 82C). Watch the milk closely as you don't want it to boil over. This can happen quick!
- Pour the milk over the chocolate. Give the bowl a shake to make sure the chocolate is covered. Let set for 2 minutes (set a timer). Stir gently to incorporate the milk and chocolate. Be patient here. This could take a few minutes. Once all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth, place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the top of the ganache. This will eliminate a skin forming over the top. Pop in the fridge for one hour while you prepare and bake the cupcakes.
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line one cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a food processor, process the milk, extract and beets until thick and ingredients are incorporated, about 20 seconds, stopping to scrape down bowl 1/2 way through processing.
- In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, mix the coconut oil and sugar on medium high for about two minutes, or until incorporated and smooth, stopping 1/2 way and scraping down the bowl. For the next series of steps, be sure to scrape down the bowl, all the way to the bottom after mixing in each new addition. With the machine off, add all of the beet mixture. Mix on medium for about 20 seconds. Add 1/2 the flour mixture. Mix on medium for about 30 seconds or until flour is incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on medium for about 20 seconds. A few lumps are okay. The batter will be thick. (I've also made this without using a stand mixer where I mix everything by hand. This can be done but you'll need to work extra hard to incorporate the oil and sugar. Use a whisk for this step, then a sturdy wooden spoon for the remaining steps. Be sure not to over-mix the batter after the flour is introduced to the wet ingredients. Mix just until the dry flour disappears.)
- Using a #20 scoop or 3 Tbs ea, scoop one scoop each of the batter into the cupcake liners. Don't be tempted to lick the bowl just yet. You'll need every last bit of batter to make 12 cupcakes! Check to make sure your oven is preheated to 375F (I recommend a oven thermometer) and bake for 21-23 minutes, or until a tooth-pick comes out clean.
- Cool for 15 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a cooling wrack to completely cool before adding the icing.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, remove the ganache from the refrigerator. With a whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whip ganache on medium high speed for 3 - 4 minutes or until lighter and airy. It will thicken quickly so keep an eye on it. At this point you can fill your piping bag if using and return the ganache to the refrigerator until ready to use. If adding the ganache to the cupcakes with a knife, pop the ganache back in the fridge until ready to use. If at anytime the ganache starts to get too warm and begins to get too soft to work with, pop it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then carry on. There is plenty of frosting to be generous on each cupcake. After piping the rosettes, I usually have enough to ice 3-4 more cupcakes. So feel free to add a little extra if you like, or enjoy a few bites of ganache if so inclined!
- Do not frost the cupcakes until the cake is completely cool else the ganache will melt.
- These taste best the day made, but if needed, store in a lidded container in at room temperature, for up to 2 days. Do not refrigerate.
**To roast beets remove the tail and stems and wrap one large or two small beets in foil. Roast on 400F (205C) for about 40 minutes or until fork tender. The amount of time to roast will depend on the size of the beet. Cool, peel and either process in a food processor to finely mince the beets or grate on a grater. You'll need 1/2 C (128g) for the recipe.
Chocolate Ganache adapted from my Chocolate Decadence recipe.
Cupcake Recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and inspired by NYT.