Red Velvet Lentil Cupcakes with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

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Red Velvet Lentil Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from

And yes, that is a sprinkle of freshly shredded beets – thankyouverymuch.

Red Velvet cake is the perfect foil for a Valentine's treat. It's chocolate-y, it's red, and it's just plain yummy.

And somehow, when I make bake this recipe as Red Velvet cupcakes, I am transported back to first grade and the grand party my teacher threw to celebrate Valentine's Day – complete with lots of treats and red and pink paper hearts, of course.

valentine first grade001

And why add lentils? you may ask…. Well, lentils are high in protein, high in fibre, and surprisingly high in several nutrients we need, especially iron and folate, and this is a great way to sneak them into our diet at a time of indulgence. And surprisingly, they make the chocolate taste even better.

May these cupcakes help you celebrate JOY in your home!

Red Velvet Lentil Cupcakes

these cupcakes were inspired by this recipe at Canadian Lentils

makes approximately 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes

1 medium red beet, very finely shredded (about 1 1/2 cup, loosely packed)
1/2 cup butter, softened, or coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
4 oz. cream cheese, softened (learn how to make your own)
1 cup rapadura or evaporated cane sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder (NOT Dutch process)
1/2 cup dry brown lentils + 1 cup water (makes about 1 1/4 cup of lentil puree)


First, cook your lentils. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add the lentils. Let simmer rapidly for a minute or so, then reduce to a gentle simmer and let them cook until they're soft, about 20 minutes. Mash the as much as you can by hand and set aside to let cool completely.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 18 cupcake liners.

Shred the beet and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese. (If you're using coconut oil, beat the cream cheese by itself until it's fluffy and then slowly pour in the coconut oil.) Add the lentils and beat until smooth. Add the sugar and beat once again. Reduce speed to low and add the eggs, vanilla, and beets.

Slowly spoon the dry ingredients into the batter and mix well, but do not overbeat.

Fill cupcake cups about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons maple syrup (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon beet juice (optional)
1-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder (optional)

Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream together on medium until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Drizzle in the maple syrup and mix until it's homogenous. Add beet juice to tint pink, if desired. If the frosting is a bit sticky from the maple syrup, add arrowroot powder 1 tablespoon at a time until smooth.

Spoon on top of cooled cupcakes and serve.

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  1. I have a question about the beet. I don’t have any fresh beets right now, but I do have pureed beets that I froze. Do you think that would be too watery?

    These sound great for my kids lunch boxes.

    1. Tasha,

      As long as you didn’t add lots of water while you were pureeing them, I would think that would be fine! I haven’t tried it in this recipe, but I’ve used pureed beets in other cakes without problem.

      Enjoy! 🙂

      1. Thank you for replying to quickly. My kids are having a PD day tomorrow, so maybe we will have a baking day and make cupcakes and sourdough carrot cake!

  2. Why don’t you just make red velvet how we did before food coloring? It was naturally red, without the beets…. It is a chemical reaction between the natural ingredients….

    1. Yes, but people have gotten used (and thus expect) a much deeper, brilliant red in their red velvet goodies since food coloring was introduced, so using beets allows for a balance between the two. 😉

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