Beet powder has a distinctive, sweet and earthy flavor that can be used in baking. This versatile product has a few applications in cupcakes from dying the cupcake to the frosting. Beet powder isn’t easy to find at a regular grocery store, but you might find it at a health food or natural food store.
Beet powder is made from ripe, fresh beets. The beets are peeled, sliced and cooked until soft. Then, the beets are dried and ground into a fine powder. Beet powder can be added to a variety of recipes in powder form or reconstituted with liquid -- such as water, milk or yogurt.
Beets contain betanin, which gives them their bright magenta color. You can use beet powder to dye the color of your cupcakes and avoid the need for food coloring. While most people use beet powder to dye red velvet cupcakes, you can use it as an alternative food coloring for any type of cupcake. Mix 1 part beet powder to 4 parts water until you have a bright red liquid. Add the color slowly to your cupcake batter until you’ve reached the desired color. Use the same color to dye the frosting a light red to pastel pink.
Beet powder does have an earthy flavor that can come through in baking, especially if you’re working with a classic white cupcake recipe. Use beet powder in cupcake recipes that have chocolate or cocoa powder, because this can help mask the beet’s natural flavor.
leavening agents have a negative reaction with beet powder. Instead of having a deep, red color you get a brown, murky color. Baking soda and baking powder are often an essential part of a cupcake recipe -- they give your cupcake that light, airy texture and help it rise during the baking process. You can omit the baking soda or baking powder in the recipe, but you’ll have a denser cupcake that won’t rise or spread much in the oven. Common substitutes for baking soda and baking powder still create the same chemical reaction and turn the beet powder brown. So, if you’re using it for color, you’ll need to omit the leavening agents altogether.
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Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.