Chocolate and Beet Cupcake

It was my birthday this week and part of the celebrations included one of my favourite activities, baking!

I thoroughly enjoy the process of finding inspiring recipes, experimenting with new ideas, measuring and mixing, and of course, seeing and tasting the final product. This, like all of the other recipes on here, was a labour of love. 

Coconut and Beet Cupcake

It may seem strange to see cupcake recipes on a dietitian’s website. Shouldn’t she be promoting healthy foods? You may be asking yourself. While I agree that a balanced, plant-based dietary pattern is a worthwhile goal, I think it’s also my job to promote healthy attitudes about food and eating.

Coconut Beet Cupcakes on a Plate

In popular media, food is often demonized as “Worst Foods You Must Avoid!”, or glorified as “Superfoods to Eat Right Now!” While articles such these are effective in getting the reader’s attention, they often ignore the nuanced reality of nutrition research. Importantly, sensationalized nutrition headlines lead people down the path of “black and white thinking” — believing food choices as only right or wrong, good or bad. Following these unbalanced attitudes about food can lead to unhelpful behaviours–  obsessively chasing after “good” foods, or punishing yourself after eating “bad” ones. 

Chocolate and beet cupcake 2

The reality is (and I encourage you to investigate this for yourself– don’t just take my word for it), food is rarely all good or all bad. As Paracelsus wisely pointed out, “the dose makes the poison”. Embracing an attitude of moderation rather than extremism can be a helpful step in building a healthy relationship with food and eating.

Healthy eating is not “all or nothing”. Empower yourself by making a small change in your diet, and know that even one step makes a difference.

Depending on your own dietary habits, this may mean including more vegetables in your meals, adjusting your portion sizes to fit your energy needs, or giving yourself permission to savor an occasional cupcake without guilt.  

Composite Chocolate and Coconut Cupcakes

Eat this Mindfully

Prepare: Take a few deep breaths into your belly and fully relax before eating. Assess your hunger and fullness levels. Notice any thoughts, feelings, or emotions you have around eating this particular food.
Look: What shapes, colours, and textures do you see? How much food is on your plate?
Smell: Breath in the aroma of the cupcakes. Appreciating any smells of cocoa, coconut, or any other scents you notice.
Taste: Take a small bite, but do not chew. Move the food around on your tongue– what do you notice about its texture? As you begin chewing, keep breathing deeply to savor the complex flavours of the chocolate or coconut. How satisfying does this cupcake taste?
Check in: What changes do you notice in your hunger and fullness? How do you know when you’re ready to stop eating?

Coconut and Beet Cupcakes with Vegan Beet Frosting
Yields 10
A moist cupcake recipe that's soft, fluffy, and not too sweet. The cashew frosting is made with beet puree for eye-popping colour without artificial dyes. You can substitute canola/ vegetable oil for the coconut oil, and replace the coconut flour with unsweetened shredded coconut. For chocolate cupcakes, replace the coconut flour with cocoa powder and omit the coconut milk. For chocolate frosting, replace the beet puree with 1/2 cup cocoa powder.
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For the cupcakes
  1. 1 medium beet, fully cooked, peeled, and diced.
  2. ~ 1/4 cup water
  3. 1 cup milk (use almond/ soy milk for vegan version)
  4. 1 tsp apple cider or white vinegar
  5. 1/2 cup sugar
  6. 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  7. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  8. 1/2 cup coconut flour
  9. 1 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  10. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  11. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  12. 1/4 tsp salt
For the Cashew Frosting
  1. 100 g cashews (~2/3 cup), soaked in water overnight
  2. 1/4 cup beet puree
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/4 cup coconut oil
  5. 2 -4 tbsp coconut milk, as needed
  1. Coconut flakes
For the cupcakes
  1. In a blender, blend together the cooked beet, adding ~ 1/4 cup water to make a smooth puree, this is the beet puree you will use for the frosting as well.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the beet puree, milk, vinegar, sugar, coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line a cupcake pan.
  5. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Do not over mix, or the cupcakes may become tough and chewy instead of tender and soft.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner to 2/3rds full. This will make sure the cupcakes have room to rise during the baking process.
  7. Bake for ~20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.
For the Cashew Frosting
  1. Mix together all ingredients in a blender except the coconut milk.
  2. Check the consistency, adding a few spoonfuls of coconut milk to adjust as needed.
To Assemble
  1. Fit a piping bag with a star decorating tip and fill with frosting.
  2. Pipe a circular design onto the cupcake and garnish with coconut flakes.
  1. Fill up the empty cupcake spots with 2 cm of water to help with even heat distribution during the baking process.
  2. Chilling the frosting in the fridge can help it firm up.
  3. For a sweet surprise, pipe some frosting inside the baked cupcake!
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Mindful Nutrition

Chocolate Beet/ Coconut Beet Cupcakes
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