Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Candied Meyer Lemon Peel and Beet Sticks

Friday, January 11, 2008

This is one of those cupcakes that has been on my to-do lists for about, oh... a year. Seriously. I finally got around to doing another cupcake in general as well. It's been a few months, but I needed a break to work on other projects, do school, do holidays, try other types of baking and so on. So no worries, we are back on track and I haven't given up the cupcake ghost.

I admire beets, their deep red, staining color. Their intensely earthy and sweet flavor. Their musky scent. Sure children the world over anathematize them, but when part of a rich, fruity, and velvety beet cake who can resist? They add lots of sugar and flavor to the cake and keep it nice and moist. For those of you who have never had beet cake, I assure you, you are missing out.

I was originally planning to pair them with some candied kumquats but after three stores searching I quit the kumquat search. I instead candied some beet matchsticks and Meyer lemon peel. These fruity counterpoints, held in place with a simple ganache, make for a deeply sweet and curious tasting cupcake that elicits small moans with each bite.

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes / 350 F
Adapted From Cook & Eat

What You'll Need...
2 cups beet puree (about 3 large beets)
1 cup of unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoons of salt

1) Peel and chop the beets and wrap in foil with a dab of butter and roast for one hour at 350 F. Puree in a food processor and let cool completely.

2) Mix together the melted butter, sugars, eggs, and water until smooth.

3) Combine the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly sift into the wet ingredients until just combined.

4) Fold in the beet puree. Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/4th of the way full.

5) Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (it will be red, but should have no cake on it). Let sit for a minute then, let cool on a wire rack.

6) Pour in chocolate ganache, and decorate with candied beet sticks and lemon peel. Let sit until ganache hardens.

Chocolate Ganache
What You'll Need...
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
7 ounces of quality chocolate

What You'll Do...
1) Melt the chocolate in a double boiler with half the butter. Stir and let melt.

2) Take off heat and add the rest of the butter. Stir. Let sit and cool for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be sure to keep an eye on it as once it hardens it's almost impossible to work with.

3) When well thickened, pour into cupcakes and let cool, or if your cupcakes have mounds, dip and swirl the tops and let them cool. Decorate with candied Meyer lemon and beet.

Candied Lemon Peel & Candied Beet
What You'll Need...
Peel (no pith) from 2 Meyer Lemons
1/2 a beet, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of water

What You'll Do...
1) In a pot of cold water, add the peel and bring to a boil. Discard the water and add new cold water and bring it to a boil again. Repeat this two more times (a total of four) to remove any bitterness.

2) Boil the beet matchsticks for 3 minutes to soften them a bit.

3) Boil the sugar and water together to make a simple syrup. Add the peel and let boil until slightly translucent. Add the beet sticks and boil for 2 minutes.

4) Let them cool and dry. Roll in sugar if desired.


  1. OMG, those look awesome! I love beets! Welcome back to the world of cupcakes.

  2. Oh wow they sound amazing. I can imagine the earthy beetroot working really well with the dark chocolate. Brilliant.

  3. Yay! I'm so glad you're making cupcakes again! (I love love love the apple cardamom ones!)
    These look really interesting and I'd love to try one.

  4. Garrett ~ I, too, have been meaning to meld beets and chocolate for the longest time. I'm glad that is yet another combination you can check off in your "to do" list. The result is wonderful - beautifully dark and moist.

    A belated Happy New Year!

  5. I can't believe how amazing these are! I was so intrigued with these (beets in a cupcake?!) that I simply HAD to try them. So glad that I did. Yum. Also happy to see you back to cupcakes ;)

  6. They look really scrummy. I have seen beets in other sweet recipes. Good way to get some beetie goodness into the kids. Well done!

  7. I'm not a great fan of beets but I feel most compelled to try those beauties! Beautiful shots.

  8. I have never baked with beets, Garret, and this would be a wonderful way to start!

  9. WoW !!! these cupcakes sound amazing. Now I know what I'll be up to this weekend!
    Thanks :)

  10. Who would have thought that a pairing such as this would come out so beautifully!

  11. I was just pondering on trying to make some kind of beet cake, as I think it would be a much better way of making a delicious velvet cake without the colouring. Thanks!

  12. delicious! I was searching for a chocolate beet recipe and this hit the spot. I was feeling a little lazy about making the chocolate ganache so just went with a buttercream frosted colored with the beet juice which turned out yummy and pretty

  13. Thanks so much for the candied lemon peel recipe. I'm making Lebkuchen this Christmas and needed some candied lemon and orange peel- nobody where I live sells it. However, it's much more enjoyable to make!


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