bourbon golden beet cupcakes.

Yes! Wait. What?

I know what you’re thinking. How could these possibly taste good, right?

Science? Alchemy? Sorcery?

Maybe it’s magic. I’m not sure. All I know is these are legitimately, undeniably off-the-charts amazing.

What could be a more appropriate dessert to make for Earth Day than beet cupcakes, right? One of the predominant flavor characteristics of beets is earthiness. These cupcakes are basically one with the earth. Harmony. Zen. Et cetera.

I should preface this post by saying that Ryan hates beets. No, that’s not really accurate.

He loathes beets. Abhors them. Thinks they are literally the worst excuse for a vegetable in the whole wide world.

…I know, he’s crazy.

Despite the fact that beets are my husband’s arch rival and nemesis in life, he declared these bourbon golden beet cupcakes to be the best cupcakes he’d ever had in his whole life.


That’s some mighty high praise, coming from a beet hater. Imagine what a beet lover would think of them! They’d take one bite and immediately petition Congress to legalize human/vegetables marriages. Or something.

I forgot to mention that these cupcakes are made without butter or oil, so on top of being delicious, they’re also quite healthy.

But you can keep that fact to yourself if you like. I just thought you might like to know.

Also, these cupcakes are full of bourbon. The frosting, too. Boozy cupcakes. Tremendous!

Roasting the beets with a bit of dark brown sugar and almond oil intensifies their flavor, coaxing the natural sweetness out of the beets. It’s lovely.

Did you know that half the sugar produced in the U.S. is derived from beets? Fun facts!

These beet cupcakes are not overly sweet, which makes the mascarpone cream cheese frosting the perfect compliment. Soulmates!

I like to pipe big swirls of frosting on the top of these little babies and top them with pretty little multicolored sprinkles. They’re cheery, fun springtime cupcakes. You can’t help but smile a little when you see a smattering of sprinkles sitting proudly atop a cupcake, am I right?

I certainly have a penchant for sneaking vegetables into baked goods–remember the chocolate chip zucchini brownies? Or the butternut squash blondies?

I can be pretty sneaky. Like a cat. Sneak cat.

These bourbon golden beet cupcakes? My sneakiest success yet! I mean, if a super beet hater like my husband can fall in love with these cupcakes, I must be doing something right.

My advice? Make these. Immediately, if not sooner. They’ll change your life in ways you never thought possible!

Also, they can’t be beat. Ha! Get it? Beat? Beets? Beets!

Bourbon Golden Beet Cupcakes with Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes


For the Golden Beet Puree

4-5 medium sized whole golden beets, greens removed, scrubbed well
1 tablespoon almond oil (substitute olive, coconut or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hazelnut milk (substitute soy, almond, cow's milk or any other milk you like)

For the Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup smooth applesauce (substitute equal amount of almond, coconut or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste (substitute pure vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup golden beet puree

For the Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla bean paste (substitute pure vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


For the Golden Beet Puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a piece of foil, and set the beets on top. You want enough parchment and foil to wrap the beets up into a pouch. You also want to be sure the foil will be on the outside when you fold your pouch up.

Pour the almond oil, dark brown sugar and salt over the beets. Using your hands, toss the beets in the oil and sugar to coat.

Fold the left and right sides of the foil and parchment to the center. Bring the top and bottom pieces together and roll the seam down to seal the pouch up.

Place the sealed pouch onto a small baking sheet and place on the center rack of the oven.

Roast the beets at 350 degrees F for one hour.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the beets to cool in the pouch undisturbed for 10 minutes.

Using an oven mitt, carefully open the pouch to allow some of the heat to escape, and allow the beets to cool for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the beets should still be warm but you should be able to handle them. Using your hands, rub the skins off of each beet. They should slide off easily.

Place the peeled beets into a food processor with 1/4 cup of hazelnut milk, or whatever type of milk you are using.

Pulse the mixture in the food processor until smooth and pureed, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Scrape the puree into a small bowl and allow to cool fully to room temperature before using.

The puree can be made up to three days in advance. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

For the Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.

Line a cupcake tin with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted on, combine the eggs, natural cane sugar and dark brown sugar. Beat on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed and beat on medium for 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.

With the mixer on low, beat in the applesauce, vanilla bean paste, bourbon and beet puree. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Using the spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just until the flour is dissolved and the batter comes together.

Portion the cupcakes into the prepared, lined tin. I like to use an ice cream scoop to ensure each cupcake is the same size.

Bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 3-5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cupcakes will keep at room temperature unfrosted for up to two days.

Alternately, you can freeze the unfrosted cupcakes for up to six months. Arrange the cooled cupcakes in a single later in a freezer-safe zip-top plastic bag and remove as much air from the bag as you can. Then transfer to the freezer! When you're ready to frost them, simply transfer the sealed cupcakes to the fridge the night before to defrost.

For the Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted on.

Beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and light.

Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the mascarpone cheese, vanilla and bourbon and beat on medium for 30 seconds, until incorporated.

Add the confectioners' sugar and beat on low until just combined.

Assembling the cupcakes

Transfer the prepared frosting to a piping bag with the tip of your choice fitted inside.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes in swirls, and decorate with sprinkles!

cake recipe adapted from food + wine

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13 Responses to “bourbon golden beet cupcakes.”

  1. #
    Kathryn — April 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Ooh beets in a cupcake, you are a sneak cat! Love it.

  2. #
    Teena — April 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    These look amazing! Growing up in a Ukrainian influenced home, beets were always a staple. I love them! I can’t wait to make these and eat them one by one…

  3. #
    Kaitlin — April 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Beautiful! I just bought some bourbon AND beets. Also, I’m on a huge mascarpone kick.

    In short, I love you.

  4. #
    Cathy @ Savory Notes — April 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Really cool idea. I too, loathe the beet.. but I’m really interested in trying these! Does anyone else remember The Beets from Doug, and their hit song Killer Tofu? Anyone?

  5. #
    Laura @ A Healthy Jalapeño — April 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    These look so heavenly! I haven’t gotten to work with beets much lately but I fully intend to because these look fabulous. Love following all your delicious-ness

  6. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — April 19, 2012 at 2:10 am

    they are so pretty, I LOVE the color of the cupcake, wonderful!!!

  7. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — April 19, 2012 at 6:38 am

    These sound simply lovely. Awesome idea!

  8. #
    Alison @ ingredients, Inc. — April 19, 2012 at 10:02 am

    super cool idea!

  9. #
    Jeanette — April 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Wow, love how you snuck beets into these cupcakes and with no oil in the batter, so clever!

  10. #
    Sherrie Petersen — April 19, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Oh, man — can’t wait to try these out!

  11. #
    Val — April 22, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I love all these ideas do much! Do you know if cupcake batter bakes up okay as a bundt cake?

  12. #
    Russell at Chasing Delicious — April 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    What a scrumptious recipe! And it has sprinkles to trick us from thinking it is healthy. Smart girl ; )

  13. #
    Jessica — April 26, 2012 at 1:03 am

    I swear you make magic in your kitchen! These look amazing…please send me one next time! ;-) I’m sure they would make the 2 1/2 hour ride just fine haha

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