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Vegan Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Ganache

The star of these cupcakes are the beets that give it its color, although you'd never know they're in there. Slightly chocolatey, tender and rich, top with whipped chocolate ganache. To save time on these cupcakes, roast extra beets next time you're making them. Peel, process or grate the beets then pop in the freezer so they'll be on the ready when you are to make these cupcakes. NOTE: Total time below does not reflect time to roast the beets or fun with decorating. This recipe is vegan and easily gluten free (see recipe notes for gluten free directions). | Recipe can be made using a stand mixer or can be mixed by hand.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Vegan
Keyword Beetroot Cupcakes, Vegan Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 Cupcakes
Calories 325kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


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:


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.
    Mix 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.


MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Follow the recipe in full subbing these ingredients for the cake portion | Use 1 to 1 GF Baking Flour (1 1/4 C / 210g) (I like Bob's Red Mill) + 2 Tbs Tapioca Flour + 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder.
A note on COCONUT MILK: I use Organic Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk. Fat content varies from brand to brand. 
UPDATE (2/20): Because I had a few makers share that they had difficulty getting the ganache to whip, I increased the chocolate (fat) in the recipe just a bit after retesting. I found the ganache was much easier to whip - and more consistent.  If you made this recipe before as previously written with 1 1/4 C chopped chocolate successfully - feel free to stick to this amount. I've made it both ways and found the increased chocolate more consistent at producing the best results. 
*This resource lists so many excellent vegan chocolate brands. Find what's at your market and use it! I love Green & Black's, Theo, Endangered Species, just to name a few.
**I have an easy tutorial on How to Roast Beats if needed.
Chocolate Ganache adapted from my Chocolate Decadence recipe. Cupcake Recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and inspired by NYT.


Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 315mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 4mg