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Forget the artificial coloring – these red velvet cupcakes are colored naturally with beets. But the real star is the white chocolate cream cheese frosting!

Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting on Taste and Tell

Well, we have come to the end of Red Velvet Week.  I believe that this week was even more fun than last year’s Red Velvet Week!  I am sad that it’s over, although I do have to say that I’m on a bit of red velvet and sugar overload.  Hopefully I’ve featured a recipe or two that will fit into your Valentine’s Day plans – or anyday plans, for that matter!  Red Velvet is not just for February!

Since Saturdays here on Taste and Tell are reserved for Rachael Ray recipes, I was hoping that I’d be able to find a red velvet recipe in one of RR’s vast archives of recipes.  I didn’t hold my breath, since she is a self-proclaimed non-baker, but I crossed my fingers.  Afterall, the Black and White Red Velvet Cookies that were in her magazine that I made last year were a huge hit.  Well, the finger crossing worked, because I came across this red velvet cupcake recipe.  Now, these aren’t just any red velvet cupcakes.  Keep the artificial red food coloring away, (we’ve used enough of that this week anyway!), these babies are au natural – colored naturally with beets.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting - no red food coloring!

I have to start off by saying that I’ve always wondered about the whole color-them-naturally-with-beets thing.  From everything I’ve read and seen, people say that the beets don’t flavor the cupcakes, just color them.  But I was a bit sceptical. But since I had always wanted to try, there wasn’t a better time!

And guess what – I was sceptical for a reason.  Maybe it was the recipe, or maybe everyone else is just crazy, but for me?  I could totally taste the beets.  Now, I like beets.  But I do have to admit that I did not care for the taste of them in these cupcakes.  It wasn’t gross.  It was just – strange.  And not worth the calories for me. Oh yeah, and the original recipe was supposed to make 12 cupcakes. I made a half batch and got 20 cupcakes. Hmmmm….

But there was a saving grace.  This frosting?  It’s the bomb.  It’s not just your typical cream cheese frosting.  It’s cream cheese frosting – with white chocolate.  And it was delicious.  I’ll totally admit that my husband and I just went through and licked the frosting off of these cupcakes.  It was so good that it made me forget that I had just spent so much time and money on cupcakes that we ended up throwing away.  The frosting recipe is one I’ll be keeping around!

Naturally colored Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Forget the artificial coloring - these red velvet cupcakes are colored naturally with beets. But the real star is the white chocolate cream cheese frosting!
Serves: 40 cupcakes
  • 1½ pounds beets, (4 to 5 medium), trimmed, peeled and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 2¼ cups water
  • 2¼ cups light brown sugar
  • 2⅓ cups flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 sticks (1½ pounds) butter, 2 sticks melted and 4 sticks softened
  • ¾ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the beets and the water to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until fork tender, about 35 minutes.
  2. When tender, using a slotted spoon transfer the beets to a food processor or blender. Reserve the cooking water. Puree the beets, and add enough of the cooking water to make 2¼ cups of puree. Transfer to a medium sized bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and set aside.
  3. Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with baking liners.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and ¾ teaspoon of the salt.
  5. Whisk the eggs into the beet puree. Whisk in the melted butter and the yogurt. Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches, making sure to whisk until smooth.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the baking cups, filling ⅔ full. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
  7. When the cupcakes are cool, make the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the softened butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the confectioners' sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat in the white chocolate and vanilla until fluffy.
  8. Using a pastry bag, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
  9. -----------------------------
  10. Adapted from rachaelray.com



And just in case you missed any of this week’s recipes, here is a summary of the 2nd annual Red Velvet Week!



Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies





Red Velvet Bread Pudding






Red Velvet Crepes






Red Velvet Cheese Ball






Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting (above)

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16 Responses to Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting {Red Velvet Week}

  1. Rosa says:

    Wonderful! I love that frosting.



  2. You’ve had quite the week with all this red velvet. If only I could have been your taste tester for the week…ahhh, what a dream that would have been 🙂

  3. Chels R. says:

    That frosting sounds really good! I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a beet, but I don’t think I would like it in a cupcake either.

  4. Katrina says:

    Mmm such a classic cupcake! I just finished baking red velvet whoopie pies!

  5. I’ve always been skeptical about coloring cupcakes with beets too! Glad to hear that it worked out, though. I’ll have to give it a try! 🙂

  6. Christina says:

    I really like the idea of using beet puree, except for the fact that you can taste it. Other than that, though, I’m now expriencing a ridiculous craving for a red velvet cupcake.

  7. Joanne says:

    If there are two veggies that I can taste ANYWHERE, it’s celery and beets…and I hate both of them. But I could totally go for that frosting! I’m a white chocolate fanatic.

  8. Betty says:

    I loved your red velvet week! I love beets, but if I made these my hubby would be able to sniff out the beets in two seconds. As much as I love them, he detests them! I’m thinking that the frosting though would be great sandwiched between two of those red velvet gooey butter cookies! 🙂

  9. These cupcakes are so pretty and I LOVE that you colored them with beets rather than food coloring.

  10. Jennifer | Mother Thyme says:

    These cupcakes are adorable and I love that you used beets, what a great idea. You shared a delicious round up of red velvet recipes that I can’t wait to try! 🙂

  11. Kim says:

    I’m curious about the whole color-me-natural thing with beets too. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t care for them, but in the end I it’s nice to cross that one thing off the list, right?

    They sure do look pretty and I bet that white chocolate cream cheese is to die for. Cream cheese frosting is my fave:)

  12. Tristine says:

    Well, I figured since I love just about everything you post on Pinterest, it was time to check out your website. I love it!!

  13. LL says:

    I made this cake with beets and it was very yummy. Beets are a perfect substitue for chocolate. I love beets so the taste didn’t bother me. So much better for you than the food colouring..

    • Deborah says:

      @LL, I’m so glad you liked this! I know a lot of people do this with beets – maybe I was just having an off day. But I’m so glad to hear that it turned out well for you!!

  14. I’ve featured these pretty cupcakes as a great Valentines dessert idea on my blog, hoping that you don’t mind, but if you do, please contact me and I’ll remove it. All the best.

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