Red Velvet -Lentil and Beet Cupcakes

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I made these yummy cupcakes last week for our teacher in-service potluck. I will admit they were met with both skepticism and curiosity. Of those that ventured to try them, most really liked them and asked for the recipe. They were light with a hint of cocoa and topped with the traditional cream cheese frosting.
I first tried these cupcakes last summer at the BlogHer ’14 conference where Canadian Lentils had a booth and were handing these luscious cupcakes out to all of us ladies. They also gave us a great little cookbook, but it did not include the cupcakes. Instead we had to head to their website if we wanted the cupcake recipe. Ingenious marketing!

Making these cupcakes have been on my to-do list ever since last July! So when I signed up to bring a dessert to our potluck, I knew I had the perfect audience to try out this new recipe on. This recipe had me doing a few “first” in the kitchen. I have never roasted my own beets – I know, so easy, but I never have done this before. And making a lentil puree – that too, was a new one for me. I messed up on the puree a bit. I should have added a bit more water to them. Mine was a bit too thick. The puree should be the consistency of canned pumpkin – I learned that after. Other that that I would not change a thing.

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Below is the Canadian Lentil cupcake along with a great decal that I found on my hotel bathroom mirror. Some of the fun memories from BlogHer ’14!
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This recipe originally comes from Equal Opportunity Kitchen. It was developed by Giz and Ron for a contest. and guess what? They won! The original post of the award winning recipe can be found here. 
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Red Velvet Lentil Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 large red beet (3/4 cup of puree)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 package (120 g) of cream cheese,softened
  • 1 1/4 cups of white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cup lentil puree


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake beets for about 40 minutes (until soft). Note: Preparing the beets ahead of time would speed things up.
  2. Once beets have cooled, peel and cut into large chunks. Place into food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and blend until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and blend together.
  4. In a separate bowl, blend together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa.
  5. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  6. Mix pureed lentils into mixture.
  7. Fold pureed beets into mixture.
  8. Fill cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Servings: 12 (I doubled the recipe)

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Roasted Beets

Ingredients

  • 1- 2 large beets (I wanted extra for my salads)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Remove the tops and the roots of the beets.
  3. Cut the beets in half.
  4. Place the cut beets in a baking pan.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until beets are tender.
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Pureed Roasted Beets – Love the vibrant color!

Lentil Puree

From Canadian Lentils 

Ingredients for the Cooked Lentils

  • 3 cups (750 mL) of water or broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of your favourite lentils
  • ½ teaspoon (2mL) sea salt

For the Puree

  • 2 cups (500 mL) of cooked lentils
  • ½ cup (125 mL) of water


Directions for the cooked lentils

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring the works to a full boil then adjust and lower the heat, just enough to maintain a slow, steady simmer.
  3. Cover tightly and continue cooking until the lentils are soft and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the lentil puree

  1. Pour the cooked lentils into your food processor.
  2. Add the water and process until a smooth puree resembling canned pumpkin forms, two to three minutes.
  3. If the texture seems too thick, add another tablespoon or so of water.

Lentil Puree Notes

  • For every one cup (250 mL) of cooked lentils, add ¼ cup (60 mL) of hot water.
  • This puree may be kept in the fridge for up to a week or frozen in plastic bags for several months.
  • As a general rule, you can substitute up to half the fat or butter in most baking recipes with lentil puree.
  • Substituting lentil puree does have some effect on the final texture but nothing major.
  • One cup of dried lentils, cooked and pureed as noted, will yield almost three cups of lentil puree.
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I used whole wheat flour which makes the cake a bit denser.  For a lighter cake I would use white flour or even cake flour.
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Fill the cupcake holders pretty full, the cake does not rise a lot.
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I frosted my cupcakes with a traditional cream cheer frosting and for an added touch, I sprinkled the cupcakes lightly with a bit of cocoa powder.
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The cupcakes were delicious! And I might add a bit healthier for you than a traditional Red Velvet with the addition of the protein from the lentils.

Gluten- Free Version

For a gluten free version make the following changes:

  1. Omit the lentil puree
  2. Replace the 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 cup lentil flour

Lentil flour is finely ground dried lentils. Make lentil flour by pulverizing dried lentils in a high powered blender like a vitamix. Using Lentil flour makes for a denser cake.

Sugar-Free Version

For a sugar free version simply substitute the 1 1/4 cups of white sugar with 1 1/4 cups Splenda.

You will still have the beet sugar, but no added sugar.

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Enjoy!

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