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Cooking: Red Velvet Cupcakes Without the Dye

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Chef Laurel Mechor from Cafe Bernardo shows us how to create “No Dye Red Velvet Cake.” Below is the recipe.


8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup beet puree (directions below)

½ cup orange juice

3 tablespoons white vinegar

3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the milk, beet puree, orange juice and vinegar.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of the liquid ingredients, followed by half of the dry ingredients, alternating wet and dry and mixing well after each addition.

Bake at 325°F for 25-30 minutes.

Beet Puree

To make beet puree: Trim the tops and ends of 1 pound of raw red beets. Place in a large pot with sufficient water to cover beets. Bring to a boil and boil over medium heat until a knife slips easily into the thickest part of the beets. Drain and allow to cool briefly. While beets are still warm, use a soft cotton towel or paper towel to gently rub the skins off. They should easily slip off. Place peeled beets in a food processor and process until very, very smooth—5-8 minutes. Stop frequently to scrape down and be sure that all the beets are being processed. If desired, beet puree can be pressed through a fine mesh sieve to create an even smoother puree.

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