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© 2013 mathewguiver

Healthy red velvet cupcakes (no dye, vegan, gluten free)

Last week was Thanksgiving, and more importantly, Black Friday. People are often surprised to find out that I’m a crazy Black Friday shopper. To be perfectly honest though, the main reason I love Black Friday is because it means spending time with my best friend Adrienne. Staying up most of the night shopping has become traditional for us, and this year we even met up for some early morning Thanksgiving shopping as well.

Here’s a few pictures of us during our pre shopping ad organization session.

I try to get most of my holiday shopping done in the days that follow Thanksgiving, and I try not to spend too much on myself. This year however, I did buy myself a new food processor (which was overn half off), and used it to create this healthy red velvet cupcake recipe.

How healthy you ask? Very healthy.

Not only are they vegan and gluten free, but they don’t use any artificial food coloring. They get their bold red color from the beets and pomegranates juice, and they stay red during the baking process because of the citrus juices and vinegar.

In the recipe I also use cashews, coconut milk, flax seeds, and dates. So basically eating one of these red velvet cupcakes is like eating a handful of fruits and nuts.

Cupcake ingredients:

1 c cooked beets
1/2 to 3/4 cup of pomegranate juice
1/4 c cashews
1/4 c coconut milk
2 Tbsp flaxseed
4 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp agave
4 Tbsp grapefruit juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp strong coffee
1/2 c rice flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1/4 c potato starch
1/8 c corn meal
1/8 c sugar
1/8 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Frosting ingredients:

3/4 c cashews
1/8 c macadamia nuts
1/8 c dates (pitted)
3/8 c coconut milk
2 Tbsp grapefruit juice
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp agave
1/2 tsp vanilla
Additional coconut milk

Optional garnishes:

Dried cranberries
Pumpkin seeds


You’ll want to start by making your faux cream cheese icing, as it requires a few hours of soaking time, then a few hours to rest in the refrigerator before piping on your cupcakes. I usually make mine the night before.

1. Do a rough chop of your cashews, macadamia nuts, and dates. Combine with coconut milk in a jar and let soak for at least 2 hours.

2. Transfer soaked nuts to a powerful blender like a Vitamix. Add grapefruit juice, melted coconut oil, agave, and vanilla. Blend until smooth, pausing frequently to scrape down the sides of the blender.

You may need to add a bit more coconut milk to get a smooth consistency, but use caution. You can always add more milk, but if your frosting becomes too thin then you’ll basically have to start over.

3. Let frosting sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before using. It needs this time to set and thicken.

4. You’ll start your cupcake batter the same way you started the icing, by soaking nuts! Combine 1/4 cups of cashews and coconut milk in another jar and let soak for at least an hour.

5. While your nuts are soaking, peel and dice a few beets into 3/4 inch cubes. Transfer to a glass bowl and microwave for 10 minutes, pausing half way to stir the beets.

6. Remove cooked beets from the microwave and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Note, they will also continue to cook during this time, so don’t worry if the beets are still a bit firm when you remove them from the microwave.

7. Grind flaxseeds into a fine meal using a bullet blender or spice grinder. Add hot water and let sit for 5 minutes to create your flax egg.

8. Combine soaked cashews and coconut milk, cooked beets, olive oil, vinegar, agave, grapefruit and lemon juices, vanilla, and coffee in a food processor. Pulse until smooth.

9. In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients (flours, potato starch, corn meal, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, and kosher salt).

10. Add flax egg, the beet mixture from your food processor, and  about 1/2 a cup of pomegranate juice. Mix well, adding more pomegranate juice as needed until your have a fluffy but dense batter.

11. Evenly distribute into 10 – 12 paper lined muffin cups. Bake at 365 degrees fahrenheit (350 convection) for 30 to 40 minutes.

12. Once baked, immediately transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and let rest for at least an hour.

13. Pipe rested icing onto cupcakes, then decorate with cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a little holiday season flare.

Since these cupcakes are all natural, with no preservatives, I recommend eating within 24 to 48 hours. Store them, covered, in the refrigerator.