Red Velvet Cupcakes With Beet Essence

Red Velvet Cupcakes With Beet Essence


By Edie Horstman, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach


Let’s talk about holiday desserts. Typically, they’re filled with refined flour, processed sugar, and preservatives. It’s little wonder that after having a few (or more than a few) traditional Christmas cookies, you’re either riding a sugar high or feeling sluggish and lethargic. Many of us have experienced both. On the flip side, there is an exorbitant amount of guilt associated with holiday desserts. It’s no surprise that come the new year, diet culture skyrockets. Detoxes and cleanses regain popularity shortly after the holidays, and resolutions include ample gym time.

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

While it’s important to be mindful about what you put in your body, avoiding sugar around the holidays can lead to deprivation and exclusion from certain holiday traditions. No sense in foregoing soul food during memorable times of the year — enjoying a warm slice of pie à la mode or Buche de Noel is the epitome of happiness.


That said, as a holistic health coach and wellness advocate, I like to sneak in healthy ingredients as often as possible — especially when it comes to baking. For this recipe, I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of refined white flour, making these cupcakes higher in fiber yet still soft and pillowy. Additionally, while most cupcake recipes call for highly processed sugar, I used coconut sugar instead. While coconut sugar is still sugar, it has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, meaning that it is metabolized at a slower rate. It prompts smaller fluctuations in blood glucose levels, hindering the intense spike (and consequential drop) in energy. Plus, I love coconut sugar for its mild caramel flavor.


Thanks to sneaking in some Greek yogurt, these cups are moist, slightly higher in protein and contain probiotics. Hello, healthy gut bacteria. Most importantly, I swapped artificial food dye for Green Foods Beet Essence. This certified organic superfood nourishes and alkalizes the body. It takes all of the nutritional components of beets and condenses them into a vibrant, versatile and convenient powder. See? We’re turning dessert into a superfood! The beet essence has a subtle sweetness and earthiness to it — the perfect addition to the cupcake batter as well as the tops of the cupcakes. For picky eaters, this is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies, fiber and antioxidants too. These red velvet cupcakes are a well-balanced holiday treat, delicious with a cup of tea. Enjoy!



Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 12



2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

3 tablespoons Green Foods Beet Essence

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup almond milk + 3 tablespoons almond milk

1/2 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

2 egg whites, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


  1. Line a 12-cup baking sheet with cupcake liners.


  1. In a large bowl, add the whole wheat pastry flour, coconut sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, Green Foods Beet Essence and baking soda. Mix evenly.


  1. In a small bowl, combine almond milk, Greek yogurt, coconut oil, egg whites and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.


  1. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold until evenly combined and no clumps remain.


  1. Carefully pour the mixture into each cupcake liner, about three-fourths full.


  1. Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes.


  1. Sprinkle the top of each cupcake with the powdered sugar and more Beet Essence.


Cupcakes will stay fresh for up to 5 days.




Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories; 24.2 calories from fat (11 percent of total calories); 6.9 g fat (6.4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 2.9 mg cholesterol; 108 mg sodium; 28.6 g carbohydrate; 5.5 g fiber; 18.3 g sugar; 21.5 g protein.


Edie Horstman is a Colorado-based health coach, recipe developer and breakfast enthusiast.






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