- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1 small raw beet, peeled and very finely shredded
- 1 tbsp. red food coloring
- 3 large eggs
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ounces feta cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed firmly
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Optional garnish: 24 raspberries or blueberries (or a combination of both)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 24-capacity mini-cupcake tin with liners.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, almond extract, oil, shredded beet and food coloring (if used).
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until well blended; gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating for about 5 minutes, or until thick and lemon colored.
By hand, gently fold the flour/cocoa mixture into the eggs, then gently fold in the yogurt mixture. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Invert cupcakes on a wire rack to cool completely.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and feta cheese together until well blended; add brown sugar and vanilla, blending until smooth.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with a small knife (a butter knife works well); top with a berry, if desired, and refrigerate, tightly covered.
Note the food coloring may be omitted, but the red color will be intensified if used. The shredded raw beet adds color, moisture and nutrition to these little cakes. Use a microplane fine shredder to get the beet finely grated. The feta in the frosting is amazing, and plays well against the flavor of the brown sugar, resulting in a tangy salted caramel type flavor profile but more complex and lots better.