**This post originally appeared on my other blog, YinMomYangMom.com.**
If there is ever a time for red velvet, friends, that time is right now.
I mean, people go crazy for it all year ’round. I think because it’s so striking to look at. All that gorgeous, deep red against pillows of snowy white frosting. You see it and you just can’t help but want a taste! Especially around Valentine’s Day…
I’ve wrinkled up my nose about it before though. Did you know it takes like five bottles of food coloring to get that color?!? True story. Loads and loads of artificial coloring. And that stuff is thought to cause all kinds of problems for little kids, I’m sure you already know. Kind of ironic that it’s so irresistible to them…
Last Valentine’s Day, I got off my food coloring high horse, sucked it up, and made red velvet macarons. They were scrumptious (of course), and a big hit (of course), but health-wise, I felt it was a compromise. When my sister got wind of it, she forwarded me a great Red Velvet cake recipe she had come across, that uses beets instead of artificial coloring!
I’ve made it several times as cupcakes, and it’s just terrific. The author of the recipe (Sophistimom) has gone to great lengths to ensure that the color is a beautiful, vibrant, ruby red, and the cake itself is so moist and delicious! The beet flavor is extremely subtle. Mr. Allie has a deep and passionate hatred for beets, and when I made the cupcakes for the first time, I had him taste one without telling him the secret ingredient. He loved the cake and had no inkling whatsoever that it contained his most despised ingredient.
If you’ve never heard of a whoopie pie, it’s basically like if a cupcake and an oreo got together and had a delicious little hand-held portable-pastry love-child. A cakey cookie, sandwiched around a sweet and fluffy filling. Traditionally, the cake is chocolate, but, since it’s Valentine’s Day and all…
Cream butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy and pale.
Add in the yolk and mix until combined. Then mix in the beet puree*, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, and extracts.
Now mix in the flour, cocoa powder**, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg white to stiff peaks.
Fold the fluffy egg whites into the cake batter.
Drop 36 scoops of batter, about two inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes at 375 degrees.
While that is going, make the filling. Just throw all the ingredients in the mixer and whip ’til fluffy!
Once the cakes are all cooled off, just top half of them with a generous mound of the filling, sandwich, and enjoy!
All-Natural Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
18 whoopie pies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 egg, separated
- 3/4 cup beet puree
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, and then mix in the egg yolk.
- Add in the beet puree, buttermilk, lemon juice, rice vinegar, vanilla, and almond extract, and combine.
- Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and combine.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg white until fluffy and stiff. Fold the egg white into the cake batter.
- Drop 36 scoops of batter, about two inches apart, onto lined baking sheets, and bake at 375 degrees, for 12 minutes. Cool completely, and fill with fluffy cream cheese filling.
- Whip all the filling ingredients together until fluffy.
How do you feel about Red Velvet? Are you okay with the artificialiness? Maybe just once in a while? How about beets? Is this recipe something you’d be willing to try?
*For the beet puree, just wrap a few beets in foil, and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 90 minutes, or until fork-tender. Peel and puree in the food processor.
**Be sure to use natural cocoa powder, NOT Dutch-processed. If you substitute a cocoa that has been processed with alkali, it will mess with the pH of the cake and change the color purple. Still delicious but not so Valentiney.