closeup of chocolate cupcake on a surface

These dark chocolate beet cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting are intensely chocolaty and moist, thanks to the beets, and the smooth and decadent mocha-flavored buttercream is literally the icing on top of the (cup)cake. If you’re in need of a really, ridiculously good chocolate cupcake, you’ve come to the right place. BONUS: Scroll to the bottom of this post for a fun giveaway!

The end of April/beginning of May is Prime Birthday Time in our household — Addy’s, Avery’s and my birthday all fall within the span of two and a half weeks. Still, of course, we have to celebrate each one individually, because cake — or in this case, cupcakes.


chocolate cupcakes on a cooling rack and on a surface

This post is sponsored by Aunt Nellie’s.

And while birthdays are great and all, there’s another reason we get to celebrate this time of year — Aunt Nellie’s annual Beet Week! This week, a group of bloggers are coming together to share their favorite ways to incorporate Aunt Nellie’s beets into their favorite recipes — and I’m bringing dessert to the #ANBeetWeek party.

How to Make Dark Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

First things first: You guys, I legitimately LOVE beets. I always pile them high on my plate at the salad bar, sneak a few from the jar for a snack, eat them as a side dish to a meal — the point is, I am a beet lover. So to incorporate beets into a sweet treat is pretty much the best thing ever to me (because I also love dessert, as you may know).

That being said, I know what you’re wondering: OK, but do these cupcakes taste like a vegetable? The answer is no, they do not. In fact, the beets are added to impart extra moisture and to enhance the chocolate flavor, because we all know that’s what makes a chocolate cupcake theee best. You use the entire jar of Aunt Nellie’s sliced beets, so that’s convenient. Also convenient? They’re already cooked, peeled and prepped for you right out of the jar. So you can skip that prep step and get even closer to cupcake-eating.

overhead shot of chocolate cupcakes

How to Make Mocha Buttercream Frosting

So now that we know how the base of these chocolate beet cupcakes are prepped, let’s talk about the frosting. Ohhh, the frosting. It’s flavored ever-so-slightly with an espresso-milk mixture, which gives it just enough of that coffee taste without being too overpowering. Basically, the coffee just brings out the chocolate flavor, so when combined with the enhanced chocolaty-ness of the cupcakes (thanks, beets), these sweet treats are bound to blow your chocolate-loving mind.

Tips for the Best Cupcakes

A couple of handy tips about baking these cupcakes before you hurry off (like, really, HURRY) to make this amazing dessert:

1. There is a lot of batter to divide between the paper baking cups for these cupcakes. I like having them a little over-sized, so I divided the batter between 12 cupcakes. But if you like smaller cupcakes, feel free to divide the batter among 14 paper baking cups.

Dutch-Process v. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2. You’ll see there is Dutch-process cocoa powder used in the cupcakes but not in the frosting. This is by design to give the cupcakes an even richer, deeper chocolate flavor. Dutch-process cocoa powder has been treated with alkali to neutralize its acidity — therefore, it will only react with baking powder. Since the acid in unsweetened cocoa powder hasn’t been removed, unless you add baking soda to the recipe (which I have not tested, so I can’t vouch for the turnout), you’ll end up with unfavorable results. I chose to use both types of cocoa powder in this recipe for the best results for the cupcake and the frosting, and I’d recommend sticking with the recipe as written for maximum cupcake enjoyment.

How to Freeze Unfrosted Cupcakes

3. Want to freeze the cupcakes to enjoy later? You can bake the cupcakes, let them fully cool, then cover them individually, unfrosted, with plastic wrap. Place the wrapped cupcakes in a plastic bag or storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, unwrap them and let them come to room temperature on the counter. Then frost as desired.

a bite taken out of a chocolate cupcake

And now for perhaps the best part (though these cupcakes are pretty great, just sayin’): the giveaway! To celebrate their 90th anniversary, Aunt Nellie’s is giving one lucky winner a family pack of Aunt Nellie’s products + a $900 VISA gift card. CLICK HERE to enter (limit one entry per day). The giveaway ends May 3, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Good luck, and happy Beet Week! If you need me, I’ll be face-first in cake for the next few weeks.

Print

Dark Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Intensely moist and chocolaty beet-infused cupcakes with a smooth and decadent mocha buttercream frosting.


Scale

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 jar Aunt Nellie’s sliced beets, drained
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate bar, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • Chocolate sprinkles, if desired

For the frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a standard-size muffin tin with 12 paper baking cups.
  2. In a food processor, process drained beets to a smooth puree. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, Dutch-process cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. In a separate large bowl, whisk reserved beet puree, granulated sugar, buttermilk, melted butter, melted bittersweet chocolate and eggs until well combined. Using a spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups. Bake 25-27 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a small microwave-safe bowl or cup, microwave milk on high 5 seconds until warm. Stir in instant espresso powder to dissolve. In a separate medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder until well combined.
  6. In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat softened butter on high speed until light and smooth. Alternately stir in powdered sugar mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with powdered sugar mixture; beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat on high speed 1 minute until frosting is smooth and airy.
  7. Pipe frosting onto fully cooled cupcakes. Top with chocolate sprinkles, if desired. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes

You can find Aunt Nellie’s sliced beets in the jarred or canned vegetable aisle of your grocery store.

Keywords: beet cupcakes, fudgy chocolate cupcakes, chocolate buttercream frosting

Thank you to Aunt Nellie’s for sponsoring this post!