Buttermilk and or vinegar are used in the traditional red velvet recipe to better reveal the red anthocyanin in cocoa and keep the cake moist, light and fluffy. I have swapped the buttermilk for blood orange juice and raspberry vinegar, and the result is heavenly.
Beetroot is one of my favourite crops to grow in the veg plot. Last year was a great year for them. We had juicy bright red beetroot for many months. I discovered baked beetroot, oh my goodness. Yes, baked beetroot, baked just like a potato, whole in the oven, but wrapped in kitchen foil or oven proof dish with a cover to protect your oven. We have devoured the baked beetroot in salads, as a side, cut up and dipped in horseradish or made into burger.
As red velvet was one of my childhood favourites but I have not eaten much as an adult knowing that it is coloured iwth red food colouring. Valentine’s Day and my new favourite way of cooking beetroot inspired me to recreate the classic but with my own touch, I do hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Beetroot Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 16 large cupcakes, 24 small cupcakes or 1 2-layer 9in/23cm cake
300g self raising flour
25g good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
200g beetroot purée, directions below
zest of 2 blood oranges, regular oranges will do
75ml blood orange juice, about 2 juices oranges
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar, white wine or cider vinegar is fine
Cream Cheese Frosting
200g cream cheese
200g icing sugar
In a large bowl use an electric beater, combine cream cheese and butter, sift the icing sugar into the bowl and cream for 1-2 minutes until well combined.
To make beetroot purée: Preheat oven to 220C/200F/Gas 8. Wrap 2-3 whole beetroot (300g) in kitchen foil or place in a oven safe dish with lid. Bake the beetroot until a knife is easily inserted, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove beetroot from oven, let cool. Peel skin away from beetroot and measure out 200g, the rest can be made into beetroot hummus or beetroot tzatziki, recipes to follow!! Purée the beetroot using a hand blender or food processor. Alternatively, precooked beetroot you buy at the shop can be used.
Preheat oven to 175C/155 Fan/Gas Mark 4. Line two cupcake trays with 16 large cupcake cases or 24 small cupcake case or line 2 9in/23cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.
In a bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, using an electric beater or wooden spoon, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs then add beetroot puree, orange zest, juice and vinegar.
Add all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk together until well combined, do not over mix.
Divide batter accordingly and bake for 25 minutes for large cupcakes, 22 minutes for small cupcakes, or 30 minutes for 2 cake tins. Half way through the cooking time, swap the shelves the cakes are on to ensure even baking, I even rotate from the cakes from front to back due to having a rubbish oven. Ovens vary in temperature so to be sure the cake is done, insert a knife or cocktail stick in the centre of the cakes, if it comes out clean, your good to go.
Remove cupcakes from trays and cool on wire rack or place cake tins on cooling rack and remove cakes from tins when completely cool. Frost cakes by using a pipping bag or a palette knife. Sprinkle with dehydrated raspberries if you have them and if you don’t they will be just as good!