Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes

Cupcakes and Football that’s what Seaweed & Sassafras does.


Cupcakes naturally colored with beet, that is.  Psh, you wouldn’t come here and expect to find just plain old cupcakes would you?  Side note: whenever I hear the word beets, I immediately think of that show Doug on Nickelodeon and his favorite band was THE BEETS, anyone else remember that? No? ok moving on…

I couldn’t bring myself to use that artificial coloring stuff…it’s great on easter eggs, but not cupcakes.  I was afraid, I’m not going to lie.  Beet flavored cupcakes did not sound appealing.  But you don’t taste the beet at all!  High fives all around.  And the color was perfect for my maroon and orange Virginia Tech Hokie theme, yes both me and the guy are Alumni.  That’s where we met!  You can read more about that here.

Couldn’t you just see Watson in this?

I think he looks worried…he just doesn’t know how awesome Hokie Football is yet.

Big Bake Theory (cutest blog name ever) had some wonderful tips on how to use beets for natural Red Velvet cupcakes.  She is my beet guru.  I kept the recipe more traditional by using buttermilk and added a bit more cocoa than suggested which is why the aren’t quite as red, but otherwise they turned out great!

Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes

(Adapted From Big Bake Theory and Food Network)

2 1/2 cups + 5 tablespoons Cake Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder (I used more, I’m sorry it’s chocolate I can’t resist)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup or 1 large beet, raw and grated
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup buttermilk


1 stick butter
4 oz + 1 Tablespoon cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  It’s beet time.  *this will stain your hands, clothes, anything it touches* you can hold it with a paper towel, get some food safe gloves, or just have light pink hands for a day :)  Be sure to wash your beet well, they’re pretty muddy.  Peel the beet and then grate (using the really small holes) until you have about a cup.  Then add the grated beet to a food processor and blend a bit longer until ground into even smaller pieces.  The beet will add coloring and you’ll see specks in the batter, but you don’t really want the taste.  Set aside.

3.  Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and cream of tartar in a large bowl and set aside.

4.  Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix.  Now add the beets, vinegar, and buttermilk.  At this point mine looked like a curdled mess, ignore your urge to throw it all out and keep going!

5.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring after each addition.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom.

6.  Put your cupcake liners in a muffin pan and fill the batter to the top.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes and then remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Cream the butter and cream cheese together.  It helps to soften the cream cheese a bit with the butter.  You can either set it out before hand or pop it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well on high.

Scoop it into a piping bag, using whatever design you like and ice those cupcakes!



  1. says

    I LOVE that you use beets in your red velvet cupcakes! I’ve seen a lot of red velvet recipes and have actually never tried making one myself…using beets is such a great alternative to food coloring and the added nutrition is awesome! I think Watson was just worried you weren’t going to drop one of those yummy red velvets on the floor for him to slurp up. And he’d look very handsome in the football jersey! I nominated you for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award. :) Glad you’re back and have a happy Labor Day Weekend!

  2. says

    LET’S GO H O K I E S!!! Can’t wait for the season opener tonight! LOVE this cupcake theme! They’re now on my cupcake must make list – my son and daughter are both VT grads! So happy to meet another Hokie blogger!

  3. says

    I agree with the food colouring – quite disgusting, but I had heard that the taste of the beets is quite pronounced and since I dislike beets I have avoided it. Interesting to hear your take on it. I love the book under the cupcakes.

    • says

      Hi Suzanne! Honestly I didn’t taste the beet at all, but I did add about 1/2 cup of cocoa powder not just 3 Tablespoons so that might have something to do with it :D

      You do see the flecks of beet, but I didn’t mind that. The vinegar and buttermilk still give it that good tang too (even with the extra cocoa). I”d like to try this again with less cocoa and see how it is. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  4. says

    Watson looks a bit nervous…LOL. I hate using all that red food coloring in my red velvet cupcakes, but hubby swears he can taste the beets. I am going to have to bake these when he’s not looking. I bet he’ll never know :) I’ll up the cocoa powder, too~

  5. says

    Red Velvet has always grossed me out as a flavor because I’ve always wondered… what IS it exactly besides food coloring? This is the only recipe I’ve ever seen that sounds remotely appealing. Red velvet’s current popularity still remains a mystery to me!

  6. says

    First off, your dog is so adorable! Second, I love that you used beets to make these. So many red velvet recipes are so bloated with food coloring that I can’t bring myself to touch them. These are lovely.

  7. says

    hahah! Doug! I totally do… hahah i love that you mentioned that! And obsessed with those cute little flags on your cupcakes, these look yummy! So excited football season is here, ready for tailgating!