Beet-Inspired Bash

 Seasonal, sexy and even sweet…

Beets are the flavor of the month and the unlikely guest of honor at your next dinner party!

This past Friday my husband and I shared a date night in. Date nights in are my ultimate excuse to indulge in whatever ingredients or techniques are inspiring me at the moment. This week it was beets (a passion that my husband has made clear he does NOT share). So how was I going to sneak this beet-filled feast past him?

I’ve been playing around for months with ways to hide vegetables in meat-and-potato fare as I have watched many of my girlfriends try and fail to get resistant children and husbands to eat anything green or good for you.

But wow beet-red is just not that easy to disguise. And then it hit me:

The beet needs a makeover.

And so I give you the Red Velvet Beet Cupcake

Inspired by my favorite beet salad of roasted beets, goat cheese, thai basil, and hazelnuts, these small and smart Beet-Red Velvet Cupcakes will unknowingly transform any sweet tooth into a herbivore in no time. Although I think the true facelift may be in the frosting…

Serve them to any stubborn eater or special someone. My recipe makes 22 full size cupcakes, but they would be magnificence in mini form too! An ideal cocktail party conversation piece.

Even my husband had to admit that beets have never looked better.

Beet-Red Velvet Cupcakes, Creme of Goat Cheese Frosting, Candied Basil
Makes 22 cupcakes



Cupcakes
Wet
1 ½ cup (375ml) Beet Puree
½ cup (175ml) Lemon Lime juice, from 2 lemons, 2 limes
2/3 cup (150ml) Canola Oil
1 tablespoon (15ml) Vanilla Paste Extract
Dry
2 ½ cup (625g) Cake Flour
2 ½ cup (625g) Caster Sugar
½ teaspoon (2.5g) ground Allspice
½ teaspoon ground Ginger
½ teaspoon ground Nutmeg
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons (10g) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (5g) fine salt
A few sprinklings of lime zest
Candied Basil
25 cleaned and picked small Basil leaves
1 egg white
1/3 cup white caster sugar
* when I make mini versions of these I will use Thai Basil
Toasted Hazelnuts
25 hazelnuts
Toast in dry skillet turn frequently until fragrant and roasted through
Crème of Goat Cheese Frosting
8 ounces soft goat cheese (room temp)
1 ½ tablespoon crème fraiche
1 ½ cups Confectionary (Icing, Powdered) Sugar
a drop of light colored honey
scant sprinkling of salt
½ pint (236 ml) Heavy Whipping Cream or Double Cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar

Method

To make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. To make the beet puree place cooked and peeled beets in the bowl of a food processor with a scant teaspoon of water. Process until smooth.
3. Mix puree and all wet ingredients together with a whisk.
4. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk.
5. Fold wet and dry ingredients together just till incorporated. Be very careful not to over mix (you do not want to activate the baking soda prematurely)
6. Place cupcake liners in 2 muffin pans and spray grease the inside of all liners (this will allow you to peal the foil off the cake when eating)
7. Pour batter into each liner, filling 2/3 of the way full
8. Bake until set and tooth pick comes out clean (this will almost certainly take exactly 18 minutes) about 16-19 minutes
10. Let cool in tin for 5 minutes, remove and let cool completely on a wire rack

To make the candied basil:
1. Wash and pick small basil leaves from the bunch. Dry completely.
2. Crack one egg white into a small bowl and whisk slightly for a few seconds. Place sugar in another small bowl.
3. Dip basil leaf into the egg white and let excess drip off on side of the bowl. You can also do this with a pastry brush. Then dip the coated leaf into the sugar. Shake off excess sugar and let basil dry completely on parchment paper.

To make the frosting:
1. With a whisk, mix goat cheese, creme fraiche, powdered sugar, honey and salt together in a medium bowl.
2. In a large separate bowl, whisk cream to foam. Add 1/2 tablespoon sugar and continue whisking to very soft peak. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar and whisk till full peaks form and hold.
3. Carefully fold loose mixture into the whipped cream, just to incorporate. You do not want to over mix here as this will determine the texture of your frosting.
4. Place frosting into a large piping bag and refrigerate until ready to assemble cupcakes and serve.

To assemble:
1. Cut a medium hole in the tip of the piping bag, and pipe about 2 tablespoons of frosting onto each beet cupcake.
2. Place 1-2 roasted hazelnuts and 1 piece candied basil on top to garnish. Serve and enjoy!

Pics on the process….

Batter Up

Bake Off

 Beet It

Frost It

And Finish It


Because you just can’t beet a happy (and healthy) ending.

Darcy Jones

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