One thing I have learned from our CSA produce is that as hard as I try, I am just not a fan of beets. I don't mind them in borscht but they are just not my favorite. A little earthy, perhaps. I even looked up their nutritional value and was not so impressed.
However, I am the kind of mom who wants to give my children the chance to make up their own minds about foods and so I keep my prejudices to myself. I even made homemade beet babyfood for my younger son. He is kind of ambivalent about beets too. He likes them mixed with yogurt, but will not eat them on their own. So, I had a bag of frozen beet puree chunks in the freezer that was going begging. I decided to try out red velvet cupcakes using actual beets instead of red food coloring. I found an intriguing recipe (balsamic vinegar in a cupcake?) and tried it out. The recipe can be found HERE and she asks that I not copy it onto my own blog, so you'll have to follow the link. I did actually modify it by doubling the salt and adding vanilla extract (it just tasted weird and bland without it). I also didn't quite have enough cocoa powder and had to throw in some melted unsweetened chocolate. I think this was a mistake.
While the batter looked pretty red, the cupcakes cooked to be more like black velvet (and they are cooked perfectly - you are not looking at burnt cupcakes).
Still, though, with all those beets and all that oil, these cupcakes have an amazingly soft texture. The beets are barely noticeable in the flavor. They taste like very soft, vaguely chocolaty cupcakes. They might even be the tiniest bit reminiscent of carrot cake, although without the shredded carrot texture.
I topped them with cream cheese frosting and embellished them with a few sprinkles.
Voila! Black Velvet Cupcakes. (with a few berries on the side, of course)