No red dye in these cupcakes! Beetroot Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Ganache are tender, moist and oh so chocolatey. Naturally beautiful! This recipe is vegan and easily gluten free.
This recipe was updated with new notes, photos and a gluten free option 2/20.
Are you getting ready for Valentine’s day or not so much? I’m somewhat on the fence, depending on the year.
Things don’t usually work out how I have them worked up in my head anyway. 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 an exotic local with a romantic picnic waiting, wine and really good food or a luxurious spa appointment? Now you’re talkin’! Or how about something simple, like homemade beet red velvet cake topped with a luxurious whipped ganache? Yes please!
And so, these beet red velvet cupcakes are part of the little things that make life sweet and special. They’re such a treat!
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 are 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.
Ingredients for Vegan Beetroot Red Velvet Cupcakes
For the Ganache
- Full Fat Coconut Milk – I find canned coconut milk brands vary on amount of fat. For the ganache I use Organic Thai Kitchen (full fat) Coconut Milk. Shake the can… if you don’t hear any liquid sloshing around, that’s the one to buy.
- High Quality Vegan Chocolate – I like Theo, and Endangered Species. 65%-74% . The higher the percentage the darker the chocolate.
- Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Cupcakes
- Roasted Beetroot – I have a post on How to Roast Beets if needed.
- Plant Milk – I like Homemade Cashew Milk
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- All Purpose Flour
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Coconut Oil
- Cane Sugar
These aren’t the traditional Red Velvet cupcakes you’ll see on Martha Stewart or The Food Network, and they aren’t true red. But I like the fact, especially, that they’re made with whole ingredients, less sugar, and beets that I picked up from the farm not to far from home.
These beet red velvet cupcakes 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 while now, 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. I ended up omitting the vinegar, baking soda, banana (ie egg replacer), and increased the flour, baking powder and cocoa. I love the results!
Baking can be finicky, but so worth the journey!
How to Make Vegan Red Velvet Beetroot Cupcakes
Make the Ganache
- First, pour the coconut milk into a pan and heat until it just bubbles around the edges.
- Second, add the chopped chocolate, vanilla and salt. Let set for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, whisk until smooth and all the chocolate is melted.
- Last, transfer to a bowl and store in the fridge while you make the cupcakes.
Make the Cupcakes
- First, in a food processor, add the roasted beets, milk and vanilla. Process until thick and the beets are broken down. Set aside.
- Second, sift the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
- Third, use a stand mixer to whisk the coconut oil and sugar together or whisk by hand. Whisk in the beetroot mixture.
- Next, add the flour mixture in two additions, and stir or mix until there’s no streaks of four visible.
- Last, use a #20 scoop or icecream scoop to transfer the batter to a cupcake lined pan and bake!
Whip the Ganache and Decorate
- In a stand mixer or with hand held beaters, whip the refrigerated ganache until light and fluffy, about 1-3 minutes. Keep an eye on the ganache because it can go from perfect to over-whipped and too stiff fast!
- Pipe the icing on top or spread it with an offset spatula!
- Sprinkle your favorite sprinkles on top or top with sweet little heart beet cutouts. There are so many ways to personalize cupcakes!
Tools I keep on hand for cupcake making and decorating (these are affiliate links):
A Few Recipe Notes
- Be sure to use full fat coconut milk. I use Organic Thai Kitchen.
- When mixing the coconut oil, sugar and beetroot mixture, the coconut oil has a tendency to cool fast and turn to back to its solid state. If this happens, pop the mixture in the microwave to rewarm, for about 20-30 seconds.
- Be sure the beetroot cupcakes cool completely before icing them, else the ganache will melt!
- UPDATE: Because I had a few makers share that they had difficulty getting the ganache to set, I increased the chocolate in the recipe just a bit after retesting (this increases the fat content for easier whipping). I found the ganache was more consistent and easier to whip with the additional chocolate.
More Chocolatey Rich Desserts to Love
- Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Whipped Ganache
- Homemade Chocolate Espresso Brownies – gluten free + vegan
- Cheat’s Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse – by Kitchen Confidant
- Spiked Orange Hot Chocolate
- Chocolate Pudding – by The Bojon Gourmet
Vegan Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Ganache
For the Ganache:
- 1 3/4 C (250g) High Quality Vegan Dark Chocolate 70% -74% dark or for a less bitter ganache, use 65% - 68%, rough chopped into 1/4" pieces or smaller (the smaller the better - see note on vegan chocolate and UPDATE)*
- 1 C (245g) Full Fat Coconut Milk whisked to incorporate the fat and liquid, the canned variety. I use Thai Kitchen.
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 1/4 C (180g) 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, melted, warm, almost hot, to the touch.
- 3/4 C (176g) Organic Cane Sugar
- 1/2 C (128g) Roasted Beets about 1 1/2 medium beets, minced or grated**
- 1/2 C (125g) Plant Milk I use Cashew Milk
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Ganache:
- 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.
For 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 40-50 seconds, stopping to scrape down bowl 1/2 way through processing.
- Mix With A Stand Mixer: In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the coconut oil (rewarm it if needed) and sugar on medium high for about two minutes, or until incorporated and smooth, stopping 1/2 way and scraping down the bowl. Be sure the oil is very warm or it will clump up as it cools to room temperature. If it clumps, gently rewarm it for about 20 seconds in a microwave, then rewhip the sugar and coconut oil. 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. Be sure not to over-mix the batter after the flour is introduced to the wet ingredients. Mix just until the dry flour disappears. The batter will be thick, like muffin batter. ORMix by Hand: Follow the same method above but use a whisk to mix the sugar and oil. Be sure the oil is very warm or it will clump up as it cools to room temperature. If it clumps, gently rewarm it for about 20 seconds in a microwave, then rewhip the sugar and coconut oil. The goal is to throughly coat the sugar with the oil. To the sugar mixture, whisk in the beet mixture, then using a sturdy wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture gently folding the flour in two additions until no more flour is visible. The batter will be thick, like muffin batter.
- Using a #20 scoop or 3 Tbs ea, scoop one level 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 18-21 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.
Finish the Ganache and Assemble:
- A note on Ganache: Ganache is very temperature sensitive. It will become softer at room temperature, or in a cool kitchen or refrigerator it will be more firm. Keep these things in mind when working with it and adjust storage accordingly. You can leave it at room temperature after whipping for up to two days, to keep it softer. While the cupcakes are cooling, remove the ganache from the refrigerator. It will be loose. With a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or electric beaters, whip ganache on medium high speed for 1-3 minutes OR until lighter, stiffer and airy, yet still shiny. It will thicken quickly so keep an eye on it. You want it spreadable, and/or pipeable, not too stiff. At this point you can fill your piping bag if using and return the ganache to the refrigerator (or room temperature if your kitchen is cool) until ready to use. If adding the ganache to the cupcakes with a knife, if needed, pop the ganache back in the fridge (or keep at room temperature if your kitchen is cool) until ready to use.If the ganache is too firm to pipe, you can use the warmth of your hands (if in a piping bag) to soften it a bit. If at anytime the ganache starts to get too warm (ie too loose) and is too soft to work with, pop it back in the refrigerator for 10-15 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.
To Store the Cupcakes:
- 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. The cupcakes may be frozen for up to one week. Thaw at room temperature, then spread or pipe the icing over the top.
Nutrition is provided as an estimate (per serving) and courtesy. If this information is important to you, please verify it independently.