Happy Valentines Day! Since the start of this year, I’ve been on a bit of a sugar reduction mission and have been trying out lots of new recipes from my Christmas cookbooks, one of which is I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. When I was reading it, I noticed these Red Velvet cupcakes and thought they would be perfect for Valentine’s Day – they’re red, they’re chocolatey, how much more valentines can you get in a cake? However, this is a post which did not go exactly as planned.
I followed the recipe exactly as planned, including grating mountains of beetroot…yes it looks beautiful, but at this moment I was behind the camera looking like a crime scene.
I patiently waited for them to cook. I was quite excited about these little cakes as chocolate has been my crutch whilst reducing my sugar intake. I got them out of the oven, waited for them to cool and tasted them. Annnnnddddddd was instantly disappointed. Yes, they were red, yes they were velvety, but they just tasted like a baked beetroot. Which is fine, if you want baked beetroot, but I didn’t want baked beetroot, I wanted little chocolatey cakes which happen to contain beetroot. Back to the drawing board.
There was definite potential in the original recipe which gave the cake a soft and moist texture. It was just that flavour. It makes me shudder. If anyone is shouting at the screen that I shouldn’t be moaning about something I’ve made out of beetroot tasting of beetroot, then yes, I see your logic. I am what I am.
But, I was also determined that I would not be beaten by a beetroot so I made batch two (with tinkered proportions). I still followed Sarah Wilson’s recipe, but adapted the raw recipe to my taste. Round 2 increased the cacao powder to make it more chocolatey and the vanilla, coconut oil and rice malt syrup to balance it out. I slowly increased the proportions of each (being extra careful not to add too much rice malt syrup and defeating the object of low sugar) until the taste became more about the chocolate than the beetroot. You can definitely still taste the beetroot, which I have no problem with, but it’s no longer the only thing you can taste.
It worked – batch two still benefitted from the soft moist texture of the beetroot, but tasted chocolatey and lovely. I have to say that the best thing about these cupcakes for me is the icing. I just love me some cream cheese icing…
So after all that tinkering around, it’s a stretch of the imagination to still call these Red Velvet, but heck, I’m going for it anyway. Even though this beetroot cake didn’t originally work out as planned, I still think Sarah Wilson has some great ideas for how to reduce sugar. And she actively encourages chocolate recipes – winner. 🙂