Victory is mine (and now yours)!
I imagined it, made four attempts at developing the recipe, and with enough tweaking and adjusting, I have landed on a veggie-based, gluten-free, dairy-free cupcake that is downright cartwheel-worthy. You read the name correctly, there are beets and kale in these babies, but you would never know it aside from the pretty green flecks in the rich dark red cake. I worked diligently to keep ingredients as simple and “findable” as possible, and the taste rich and delicious for everyone. Make. These. ASAP.
Before we get started, I have to share this rave review from my pal Tara’s daughter, Maddie—the picky eater in the fam (below).
Tara and I had met for lunch and I brought her a cupcake to try. On the trip back from school, she gave a bite to Maddie and after Tara told her what it was made of “she still loved it! She was squeezing the bag like a zombie and asked ‘Mommy that was a good-for-me treat, right?’” That adorable little creature is practically eating the bag. Now that has to be one of the best reviews ever.
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Makes: 15-16 cupcakes
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Gluten-Free, Yeast-Free and Dairy-Free Baking tips: It’s very important to keep the wet and dry ingredients separate until you are ready to bake. Once mixed, a chemical reaction begins between leavening ingredients and acids to “fluff” the batter. Which, if you are familiar with gluten-free and dairy-free baking recipes, you know is paramount in importance. No gluten, no eggs, no yeast to fluff, so, keep the dry stuff and the liquid stuff separate. When your muffin tins are lined, the oven is preheated, you have a spoon ready and a silicone spatula on-hand for folding, then you are ready to mix up wet and dry. “Fold” the batter—don’t beat it up—until mixed. Then carefully, and swiftly, spoon batter into liners and get the tin(s) into the oven (at the same time if you are using two tins). No peeking until the timer goes off. Again, this kind of baking is sensitive so it’s important to keep the temp consistent. It’s worth it!
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High powered blender
Sifter or metal/mesh strainer
Pot with lid that fits steamer*
Large glass bowl
Medium glass bowl
Unbleached parchment cupcake liners
2 cupcake tins**
Large cereal spoon
*No steamer? You can roast the diced beets in a casserole dish with a 1/8″ water in the bottom at 350°F for 40-50 minutes. Prepare them however you like (just no microwave), you just need them soft enough that a knife goes easily through them. And you can pre-cook them a day or two before and store in the fridge until ready to make the cupcakes.
**If you don’t have 2 cupcake tins, cut the recipe in half. It won’t work to make the batter, bake half and then bake the others later. Your second batch will be flat cupcakes (see baking tips above).
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1 cup coconut fat from 2 cans of coconut milk (not reduced fat and place can in the fridge overnight first)*
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp light agave nectar (optional for the sweet-crazed: the frosting is delish without it, especially paired with the cake)
2-3 leaves purple kale, ribs removed and chopped into tiny, tiny pieces
3/4 cup almond flour/meal (for fluffier cupcakes, order organic blanched almond flour online from Benefit Your Life, it’s the best)
1 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp fine ground sea salt
1 cup sucanat
1 tbsp chia
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract (be sure to use gluten- or alcohol-free if you have a sensitivity)
2 tbsp chocolate extract (be sure to use gluten- or alcohol-free if you have a sensitivity)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup diced beet
*Use the remaining liquid coconut milk for a smaller batch of Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Sweet Potato Dumplings, for Easy Chocolate Ice Cream or in the Banana Spinach “Training Wheels” Smoothie.
Let’s get started.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with unbleached parchment paper liners. No liners? You can cut unbleached parchment into squares and press them into the tins for DIY tulip liners. They will pop out until they have batter in them to hold them in place, so set them aside if you go this route.
Wash and dice your beet. You can keep skin on or peel it, your call. Steam it over a pot of boiling water with the lid covering for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
Wash kale and remove ribs. Chop into teeny tiny pieces and set aside.
Also while beets steam, place chia, water, vinegar, coconut oil, extracts and lemon juice in the blender and set aside. You want the chia to sit in the liquid to “plumpen,” and you might as well toss all the other goodies in there. Once beets are ready, add them to the blender and mix on low until well blended and beautifully beet red.
While blending, in a large bowl, sift together almond flour, sorghum flour, sucanat, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Work your fingers in a circular motion to press/grind dry ingredients through strainer/sifter. Anything too big to make it through? Just dump it in the mix.
Now, fold together the wet ingredients, kale and dry ingredients.
Spoon batter into cupcake liners so they are 85% full. Now place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
While they bake, open up your cans of coconut milk. Scrape out the fat on the top of the can and place in the medium glass bowl.
Add vanilla extract and whisk together with a few strokes. Place in the fridge.
Remove cupcakes and allow to cool completely.
Using a pastry bag, a plastic baggie with a small whole in the corner, or with a trusty spoon or knife, top your cupcakes. A little goes a long way with the frosting and the cupcakes are plenty amazing without frosting if you want to try them that way. Have fun.
Getting through this photoshoot was tough…
these babies didn’t last long…
Store your cupcakes in the fridge and remove about 5 minutes before serving.
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