Whole Wheat Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Beet Frosting
Yields: 48-50 mini or 12-14 regular cupcakes Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
Celebrate any holiday or event with these deliciously sweet cupcakes, made with whole wheat flour and pureed strawberries and beets. Best of all, they are naturally colored and perfectly pink, without any artificial flavor or color!
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon peeled, diced beets
1 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter or preferred oil
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
1 cup unbleached white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Frosting: (Makes about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of frosting)*
4 medium fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 tablespoon peeled, diced beets**
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 stick softened butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*can generously frost one batch of cupcakes or lightly frost a double batch of cupcakes
**UPDATE: I received a complimentary bag of organic beet juice powder from Anthony's Goods, and used 1/2 tablespoon for this recipe to help add natural color without having to cut up any beets. Interested? Check out the product here and my affilliate policy.
1. In a food processor combine the strawberries, beets and sugar, and pulse until strawberries are pureed.
2. Add the eggs, butter and vanilla to the food processor and pulse until combined.
3. Mix the whole wheat flour, white flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
4. Slowly incorporate the strawberry mixture from the food processor into the dry ingredients. As the combination starts to thicken, add the milk in slowly and completely mix together until there are no lumps.
5. Scoop into lined muffin tins, about 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 for 13-16 minutes (less time for mini muffins and more for larger ones), or until a toothpick comes clean when gently stuck in the middle. Remove from pan, and let cool. *Before frosting, it works best if the cupcakes are frozen, so they don’t crumble or melt the frosting.
6. For the frosting, begin by pureeing the strawberries and beets.
7. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Pulse until thoroughly combined. For a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar, and for a less firm frosting, add a bit of milk or cream a teaspoon at a time, or even another strawberry. *Note that the strawberries will thin the frosting. Adding more powdered sugar will thicken it up if it gets too runny.
My daughters have their birthdays all within a few months of each other. So, once the first day comes, it is just an onslaught of birthday cake and birthday parties. Just like most kids, they love vibrant colors. I do, too, just not from artificial food dyes. They also fresh fruits, especially strawberries. It has become a favorite of theirs for me to make these cupcakes for their birthdays.
Even better, is they are made with almost half of the batter being whole wheat pastry flour. Strawberries are so flavorful, they add an extra sweetness of flavor. They, along with beets, make these cupcakes a beautiful pink.
The frosting is also colored (and flavored) by the strawberries and beets, although, the beets are undetectable. They just add such a bright hue to the frosting. I started using a frosting bag, and it really is helpful compared to my previous tool of a simple butter knife. When frosting with a bag and tip, it works well to start in the middle, and then circle to the outside.
For the sprinkles, we use dye-free sprinkles, such as India Tree (not all colors are artificial dye free, but they have a great selection that are!) or Let’s Do Organic brand. More and more options are becoming available in the dye-free and natural color department. I do have concerns over the use of artificial colors, especially when it comes to children. For more information, here is an article on the dangers of dyes in our food.
A last thought on these cupcakes is simply regarding how cool my girls think it is that beets and strawberries flavor and color their birthday cupcakes. They can’t wait to tell the “secret” to their friends, who may not really give a second thought. Yet, to them, they are just tickled “pink” – excuse the pun!