Omigod… how good is our Beet Velvet Cupcake?

I’m going to share a “dark” food secret with you: my FAVORITE dessert is red velvet cupcakes!  I can hear your gasps at the very thought of this food dye laden treat!  Knowing this, we had to make a HealthBarn USA version that we could all indulge in.  Beets give these cupcakes their natural red color with a boost of nutrients, too!  We slimmed down the high fat cream cheese frosting with Greek yogurt.  This treat is so popular at the Barn (and with me, too!) that we planted three times the amount of beet seeds this summer to keep up with the demand!  This simple-to-make cupcake is perfect for birthday parties, lunchboxes or any upcoming celebration!


1 medium beet
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup low-fat buttermilk

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Kids can add ingredients and whisk, too!

Kids can add ingredients and whisk, too!


  1. In a small saucepan, combine beet and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 25-35 minutes or until fork-tender.  Drain beet; set aside to cool.  When cool enough to handle, peel beet under warm running water.  Add beet to food processor and pulse until finely chopped, almost pureed.  Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a mini cupcake pan with 18 paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
  4. In a large bowl, combine beet and brown sugar.  Whisk in egg, egg white and vanilla until well combined.  Gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk to beet mixture, alternating.  Whisk together until smooth.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into 18 prepared cupcake cups.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.
  6. Beets give this cupcake batter it's natural red color!

    Beets give this cupcake batter it’s natural red color!

    While cupcakes are baking, prepare frosting:  In a medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, agave, and vanilla until smooth.

  7. Once cupcakes have cooled, spread frosting on top of cupcakes, distributing evenly.

Makes 18 servings (1 cupcake per serving).

Nutrition Facts per serving:  80 calories; 2g fat (1g sat fat, 0.5g mono, 0g poly, 0g trans fat); 15mg cholesterol; 13g carbohydrate (1g fiber, 7g sugar); 3g protein; 95mg sodium; 2% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 0% DV vitamin C; 4% DV calcium; 4% DV iron.

Kids love to bake with their parents, so seize this opportunity to whip up a double thumbs up cupcake — with full disclosure that it contains beets!

Interested in growing your own beets and looking for more great family-friendly beet recipes?  Check out my recent blog on super delicious and nutritious beets!

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email