Thursday, October 3, 2013

Red devil beet cup cakes

I know that I had announced on my FB page that cabbage and peas curry would be my next post. But at the last moment I just changed my mind and decided to post the recipe for these cupcakes. 
I know Paaka Shaale has been quite since the past few days. But the past few days have been quite traumatic for all of those who are living in Kenya. If you have been following the NEWS channels then you would know I am referring to the Westgate mall tragedy. Never once did I imagine that I would come so close witnessing a terrorist attack.
The Westgate mall was one of the best places to hang out in Nairobi. Everything from something as small as the mustard seed to clothes to furniture was available there. Everyone we knew liked that place for some reason or other. It was the perfect place for shopping, movies, dining or coffee. We would often go there during weekends. It is a miracle that neither us or any of our friends were in the mall when the shoot out happened. And I can't thank God enough for that.

I was at home when I heard from S's aunt about the terrorist attack. I never realized the seriousness about the situation till I saw the local news. It was only then that the magnitude of the situation hit me. What I saw sent a shiver down my spine. There were bodies being wheeled into the ambulance and there were cops trying to get inside the mall. The westgate mall which was once a beautiful place, was now drenched in blood. Even after all these days, those scenes still give me goose bumps.

As I mentioned earlier, none of the people we knew were in the mall at that point of that time. But there was a person who had touched my life without actually being there. Her name was Ruheela Adatia and she was an RJ at east Asia FM. I used to listen to her speak when I used to go to pick up Purvi from school. She had a peppy and a happy voice that would cheer up any tired or stressed person. I always thought that, her voice had a lot of spunk. Ruhila was actually six months expectant with her first child when she was killed. She was hosting a cooking competition for kids at the mall. After her death, the radio seems a little bland. I find myself listening to east FM with a yearn for her bubbly voice.

Picture courtesy-
The attack on the Westgate mall cannot be termed as war. To me it was an act of heinous execution. The militants killed unarmed civilians: women and children indiscriminately. And this is definitely not war!!!
The westgate mall was under seige four days after that. It is said that more than seventy people were killed and many more were injured. Kenya as a nation came together like never before. I saw people of many nationalities and races come together to fight terrorism and to serve humanity. The acts of solidarity from the people of Kenya in a grim situation like this was indeed commendable.

Now coming to these cupcakes, I had baked these beauties a few days back. If the colour red signifies blood and fire, it also symbolizes, love, sacrifices, courage, vigor and strength. So I thought that these cupcakes were just perfect for all the Kenyans who came forward to extend their support during the grim times. I salute their courage and selfless acts of solidarity.
The recipe for these cupcakes was adapted from the vegetarian times magazine. This was actually a recipe for a bundt cake. Since I did not have a bundt pan, I decided bake the cake as cup cakes. This recipe uses beets to bring colour, sweetness and the moist texture to to these cup cakes. 

This was the first time I tried frosting a cake. Since I do not have any piping bag, I tried frosting it with a zip lock pouch. The result was not every good. The frosting ended up being everywhere other than the cup cake. So I just scooped a dollop of the frosting and slathered it on the cake. Apart from this tiny hitch, I must say that cake turned out pretty well.
This cake is just great on it's own. You can omit the frosting if you are not too fond of it. Or you could try decorating the cake with a simple vanilla glaze. Either ways, I assure you the cake will remain as delicious as ever.

Red devil beet cup cakes recipe:
Preparation time: 30min
Baking time- 30min
Makes- 16 muffins

Milk- 1cup+2tbsp
Beetroot- 1med, peeled and cut into 1/4" pieces
Flax seed meal- 2tbsp
Apple cider vinegar- 2tbsp
Sugar- 1-1/2 cup
Canola oil- 1/3 cup
Vanilla extract- 2tsp
Nutella- 2tsp
All purpose flour- 2-1/4 cups
Unsweetened cocoa powder- 1/2cup
Baking powder- 2-1/2tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
For the cream cheese frosting
Cream cheese- 8Oz packet, softened
Butter- 1/4 cup, at room temperature
Castor Sugar- 8tbsp
Vanilla extract- 1tsp

  • Cook the diced beetroot with a little water till completely soft. Allow the beets to cool completely and blend the cooked beets to a smooth puree.
  • Add the milk, flaxseed meal and vinegar to the pureed beets and blend till well combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the oil, vanilla extract, nutella and sugar.
  • In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the beet mixture little by little and mix till well combined.
  • Scoop the batter evenly between 16 muffin cups and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 25-30min or till the skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow the cup cakes to cool the pan for 5min before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
  • In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla and mix till well combined.
  • Frost the cooled cup cakes the cream cheese frosting and serve.
  • I sifted the flour thrice before measuring it.
  • You can replace the nutella with chocolate extract. Although nutella imparts a fudge texture and an extra chocolate intensity to the cake, omitting it will not ruin the recipe.
  • You can make this cake vegan by replaceing milk with almond milk or soy milk.
  • I frosted only ten cupcakes. Hence, I just halved the original recipe. If you want to frost all the cup cakes then just double the recipe.
These cupcakes will be a part of BBPC assignment#2 for the month of September.


  1. Thankk god u and everyone u know r ok! it was such a horriffic tragedy...... may Ruheela's soul rest in peace.
    Changing the topic...... the red beet cup cakes look yummilicous!

  2. I was following Nairobi incident to.. It is really bad! innocent people life lost.. I pray for their souls RIP. Happy to hear you and your friends are safe. Thank god for that. This velvet cake is so tempting.. very nice..

  3. It is heart breaking to read about what happened in Nairobi. It seems even more horrible when someone we know (even virtually) gets killed due to this mindless terrorism. Heartfelt condolences to everyone who lost their loved ones.
    I've been a silent follower of your blog, love your clicks a lot. Had to leave a comment after reading about the lovely RJ who lost her life :-(
    Cupcakes look and sound scrumptious.

  4. So colorful and tasty looking cake. Wonderfully prepared. Pics look so great.

  5. This looks delicious, this recipe is a great excuse. Thanks!

  6. Yes, I too watched it on the news and was quite upset.Even though I am miles away from that country, I could feel what the people were going through and my heart really goes out to those people affected by the terror attack.Thank God you and your loved ones are safe .

    And the cupcakes looks beautiful and I would love to try it out. Can you suggest an alternative for apple cider vinegar please?

  7. Seriously was a heartbreaking tragedy, Rip to those innocent peoples..

    Cupcakes looks gorgeous, elegant beauties, omg i dont have words to say how beautiful they are..

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  9. These look delicious. Love the color of it

  10. G'day and yum, true!
    Wish I could come through the screen and taste one of these right now too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of Nancy's YBR Oct Round Up

  11. Hi, I finally made it today and its on my blog now. The kids loved it and I am glad I tried this recipe..I baked it in a bundt pan and also made cupcakes... Thanks for sharing....
    Btw, I think you have missed out the measurement of salt in the ingredients....

  12. Thanks for trying out my recipe Padmajha!!! It's really flattering. And thanks for letting me know about the salt. I have updated the post :)


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