Sunday, October 21, 2007

Honey orange bee(t) cupcake

Even though I wasn't born in the U.S. the usual Thanksgiving treats are not unbeknown to me. Be it here or anywhere else, I too have had my fair share of binging when it comes to roast turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pies and stuffing. Of course the dishes varied depending on where I was, but in the end they all shared the same pattern. Even more so, they all shared the same outcome: overeating to a point of nausea. Mmm... Livie can relate.

So a few years ago, a friend and I decided that if we were going to stuff ourselves with food, 10% of it had better be super healthy. With that, we came up with an orange beet side dish. This dish doubles up as a sweet sauce/gravy and is absolutely yummy.

When Cheryl from Cupcake Bakeshop and Garrett from Vanilla Garlic offered to do a 2nd cupcake roundup, I couldn't resist turning this dish into a cupcake.

The sweetness of the beets counters the whole "vegetable in my cupcake" feel
The bf thought it was surprising how sweet they were and mentioned that they "tasted somewhat like raisins"

So if you're having problems sneaking vegetables into your child's diet, this might work out as an alternative solution. With a touch of sprinkles, kids won't even suspect

The final outcome works perfect as a breakfast cake without the cream cheese frosting or with (if you're like me)

Makes 12

1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour and more for coating
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
2 beets, cooked, peeled, chopped and patted dry

Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.

Whisk flours, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Put the sugar and the zest in a bowl of a mixer and rub together until sugar is moist and fragrant. Then beat in butter until creamy. With mixer still on, add the eggs 1 by 1 until mixture is incorporated. It is important that all the ingredients are at room temperature when you use them. Mix in the honey and vanilla extract. Then slowly add the dry ingredients until mixture is just incorporated.

Toss about 1 tsp of flour with the beets to coat. This is a trick I learned from Martha Stewart. It is done so that the beets don't stick together when mixed into the batter. I also get a certain kind of assurance knowing that the wetness of the beets is somewhat taken care of. Add beets into batter and gently fold with a spatula.

Scoop about a little more than 1/4 cup of batter each into cupcake case. This should cover you for 12 regular-sized cupcakes. If you have a little more, just ration them throughout. Bake cupcakes in middle rack of oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when testing the cupcakes. Once baked, let sit to cool.

Cream cheese frosting:
grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsps beet juice

Toss 1st 3 ingredients into a mixer and mix until incorporated. Slowly add confectioner's sugar and then beet juice. Scrape down sides as necessary. If frosting is too liquid or soft to work with, place into a piping bag fitted with a tip, and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

I made the beet juice by processing beets and putting it through a tamis cloth so that the liquids drip leaving the solids behind. This 1 tsp quantity won't do much for color, but I liked the slight sweetness of beets it leaves behind in the frosting. If you want a stronger color, I suggest upping the juice another tsp and you may just get a slight pink sheen. But there is a chance you'll have to add more confectioner's sugar to balance the liquids.

The cupcake toppers are sliced beets cut out into stars - patted very dry. When I do this again, I will definitely coat the stars with gelatin. This way, the juices are contained within the gelatin coating, and the beet juices will not seep through.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can switch in other sweet vegetables with the beets and create a variety. Some variations I've tried are: peas, sweet corn and carrots (my original intention for this cupcake roundup was to create a trio of vege cupcakes). Just eliminate the orange zest in the latter versions, and use regular honey instead of orange blossom. I personally prefer the beet and orange combination. Also because it reminds me that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.


1 comment: