Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 medium beets, trimmed of their greens
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cups confectioners sugar
Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem. Place clean beets in a piece of foil. Drizzle with just a bit of olive oil. Seal up foil. Place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
Remove the beets from the oven. Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely. Beets will be easy to peel (just using a paring knife) once completely cooled.
Grate the peeled beets using the finest side of a box grater. Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake. Set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Set pans aside while you prepare the cake.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture. Beating on low speed , slowly add the milk. Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated. Try not to overmix the batter. Bowl can be removed from the mixer and mixture folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients.
Spoon the batter into the cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes (for mini-cupcakes) or 22-24 minutes (for regular-sized cupcakes). Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.
To make the Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese for 30 seconds and butter until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix on low until completely combined. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.